The Other Washington

March 19-The Great Northwest

by Lenny Hughes

We're 200 miles from Spokane, sailing through snow-covered mountains and titanic pine trees.

And I have the flu.

Not to worry, though: everyone else is OK.

Seattle trees

Maybe I just reacted to the weather out here. You may have heard that Oregon gets a bit of rain now and then. That's where we started, at a theater in Salem-not the classiest city in the world, but the crowd was fantastic.

Lewis held court alone because John had to miss the first show, courtesy of the Nor'easter back home. But that didn't dim anyone's enthusiasm. They were virtually screaming with laughter.

Last week, the guys landed in the Borgata at Atlantic City. I stayed away, since the Merch Trailer had to be hauled out to the West Coast. Of course, if you're not able to join the circus, you can always watch the live "Rant Is Due" portion of the show on your computer. You don't even have to miss your regular TV shows while Lew is ranting away.

The Big Bang Theory + The Rant Is Due

After the Salem show, we headed up the Interstate 5 to Bellingham, Washington.

Rain, rain, rain. I got a shot of Seattle on the way. Wasn't it Bobby Sherman who sang, "The bluest skies you've ever seen in Seattle"?

Bellingham, which calls itself "the city of subdued excitement" was anything but that in the Mount Baker Theatre.

I caught a little of the show with the audience while Zeke tended the Merch. We have 5,000 different T-shirts, and a ton of other new items, which you can check out at, of course.

Zeke with 5,000 different T-shirts in Bellingham WA

At one point the crowd was treated to memories of Lew's frustrated attempt to make it as a playwright. He proudly announced that a number of his one-act plays have recently been published for performance, and a few were mounted at Rutgers.

He just received his first royalty check, too!

"Forty-six dollars."

The frustration

After the show, we rolled on to Tacoma. I spent the day in bed, watching reruns of "In the Heat of the Night" and "Blue Bloods."

The show last night at Tacoma's Pantages Theatre was even more raucous than the last. Some people were actually screaming like the Beatles had stepped onto the stage.

I have to admit, I laugh at John and Lewis no matter how many times I've heard the show, but it occurred to me last night that I've been listening to Lew most of my life, along with the nurturing sarcasm of his Mom. Our little clique in Springbrook High School absorbed an attitude that spread among us. So while it isn't new, it's still funny to hear.

But I can't imagine what it would be like to encounter Lewis Black for the first time: the frustration, the anger, the prophetic truth, the ironies--all aimed at targets that more than deserve it.

I figure, that's why people are screaming.

We took off this morning for Spokane, and the Washington skies cleared up, and I don't even feel that miserable.

Washington sky

Can't speak for the mother and daughter (?) in a white sedan up ahead, when their car started swerving sporadically on a perfectly straight stretch of the highway. It skidded to the center shoulder, flew into the air, flipped twice and landed upright, with a tree trunk that had jammed through the back window during the roll.

Amazingly, they both hopped out and got on their cellphones. They had to have been wearing their seat belts.

One more show outside of Spokane, then we fly home tomorrow.

Safe travels everybody,