Lewis Black: Give My Regards To Broadway

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Please welcome back our Very Important Puzzler, Lewis Black.


EISENBERG: So when we asked you, Lewis, what kind of game you would like to play for your final round, we are actually a little surprised that you said, I want a game about American theater.

LEWIS BLACK: Well, you know, when you spend like, really what was an inordinate amount of money on an education that went nowhere, you kind of want to see if it paid off.


EISENBERG: If it could be useful.

BLACK: Yeah. What was I going to do, geography?


EISENBERG: How many - now, you were working at West Bank theater for...

BLACK: Eight years.

EISENBERG: ...Eight years. And during that time, you were - you wrote plays and staged them?

BLACK: We did honestly more new American one-act plays than any theater in the country...


BLACK: ...Nobody did more. And what we learned was, nobody cares.


BLACK: Two new one-act plays every week, for eight years. We did Aaron Sorkin's first play, we did Alan Ball's first work - James Gandolfini appeared there. We were very lucky. We were at a timeframe when there was not a lot of places in New York for young actors to work.

EISENBERG: Yeah, now there's lots of Starbucks and all kinds of places.


EISENBERG: Let's welcome your teammate for this next round. Please welcome Alan Amtzis - no. Alan, come on out here.


EISENBERG: Alan Amtzis.

ALAN AMTZIS: You got it right. And only took two tries.

EISENBERG: You just have to go for it.

AMTZIS: That's it, you can't pause in the middle, or you're done.

EISENBERG: I've heard that before.


EISENBERG: Alan, you're a professor at the College of New Jersey, teaching creative development.

AMTZIS: Teaching creative - yes, development for teachers, that's right.

EISENBERG: And how long have you been a teacher?

AMTZIS: Teaching is actually my third career, but it's the one that stuck. In my infancy I was a casting director for film and theater and commercials and music videos.

BLACK: You never cast me.


AMTZIS: My last show, the one that drove me out of the business, was a live stage show about Elvis and his influence on American music. And that sounds great, right? Until you have to spend a year auditioning Elvi (ph).


EISENBERG: OK so you're going to be playing together. What's going to happen is Lewis will be given a list of famous American plays and you have to get Alan to guess the titles based on your description. The only catch is that you cannot mention any of the obvious words in the title. So if the work is "Death Of A Salesman," you can't say death or salesman. You can say of or a. But if you say one of those words and you don't realize it, you'll hear this.


AMTZIS: I'm up for it. We got this.

EISENBERG: Let's do this. Two minutes on the clock beginning now.

BLACK: Two minutes, oh boy. New Orleans.

AMTZIS: "A Streetcar Named Desire."


BLACK: Witches. Burning witches.

AMTZIS: "Wicked?" No, oh, oh, oh.

BLACK: Bad witches.

AMTZIS: Abigail. Abigail. Proctor. Arthur Miller. "The Crucible."


BLACK: Way to go.


BLACK: First major gay play breakthrough.

AMTZIS: "Torch Song Trilogy."

BLACK: Very good. That's actually - but the next one.


AMTZIS: The one with Mark Ruffalo. Larry Kramer wrote it.

BLACK: Yeah - no, the next one.

AMTZIS: The next one? "As Is."

BLACK: The next one.


AMTZIS: "Angels In America."


BLACK: You got it.

AMTZIS: I knew we'd get there.

BLACK: No, that was good though. You're better at this than I am.


BLACK: Wow. It takes place - business office. Guys going after each other.

AMTZIS: Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah - David Mamet. Real estate. "Glengarry Glen Ross."


BLACK: Good for you.


BLACK: Major black author. Revival...

AMTZIS: Lorraine Hansberry.


AMTZIS: "A Raisin In The Sun."


BLACK: You are good.


BLACK: The most vicious couple in the history of theater.

AMTZIS: Oh, George and Martha. "Who's Afraid Of Virginia Woolf?"


BLACK: Why did you get out of theater?


BLACK: Great female Jewish writer. Her big hit.

AMTZIS: Give me a little more.


BLACK: I never saw it.


BLACK: I went to school with her. Does that help?


AMTZIS: Oh. Oh - well then.


BLACK: Let me skip it. Two guys in an apartment, they don't mix at all. Play was in like, the '60s then became a TV show.

AMTZIS: Oh - "The Odd Couple."


BLACK: Yeah.


EISENBERG: We're out of time.


EISENBERG: But clearly, you guys did amazing. That was stellar.

AMTZIS: I need to know the Jewish writer whose plays you didn't see.

BLACK: "The Heidi Chronicles."

AMTZIS: Oh, of course.

BLACK: We never would've gotten there. We would've been here a week.


AMTZIS: Swiss girl with braids.


EISENBERG: Made from some great radio because you gave a hint, and then you gave, like, seven other facts.


BLACK: Yeah. And I paid for my education. That was great.


EISENBERG: You're both going to be going home with our limited edition Ask Me Another anagram T-shirt. So congratulations.


EISENBERG: I know, I know. It's hard to believe. Thank you so much to Alan. And let's hear it for our VIP, Lewis Black.