Though Lewis Black ’70 is best known as a comedian embodying cathartic anger on stage and in popular segments on The Daily Show, he began his career as a drama major at Carolina. He wanted to be a playwright and spent the two decades after graduation pursuing that goal: buying and running a theater with friends, serving as playwright-in-residence for theater companies and festivals, and writing 40 plays.
“I wrote all this stuff, I kept it all,” Black said. “I don’t know why. I was a writer, so I kept everything, to go back to it.”
Black, who has won Grammy Awards for his comedy albums and has written three best-selling books, recently donated his plays, television pilot scripts, and materials from his comedy career to the University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. They will be part of the Southern Historical Collection at the Wilson Special Collections Library.
Winifred Fordham Metz, media librarian and head of the Media & Design Center at the R.B. House Undergraduate Library, helped connect Black with the Southern Historical Collection. She said the Lewis Black Collection will have immediate impact on teaching and research.
“The items that Lewis has shared with us run the trajectory of his creative writing, his public service, and much of his media career,” Metz said. “Students always benefit by hearing from people who are actively working in their fields of study. The fact that he began his career while he was a student at Carolina and wants to share those beginnings is especially generous. It can inspire students and give them more confidence in their own creative projects.”
Comedian Lewis Black Donates His Papers to the University Libraries at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Filed by April 7, 2022on