Collection Number: 05792

Collection Title: Lewis Black Papers, 1966-2016

This collection has use restrictions. For details, please see the restrictions.

This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held in the Wilson Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in our reading room, and not digitally available through the World Wide Web. See the Duplication Policy section for more information.


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Size 11.5 feet of linear shelf space (approximately 6400 items)
Abstract Collection of Lewis Black, a white Jewish actor and author best known for his stand-up comedy on television shows such as The Daily Show and Lewis Black's Root of All Evil. This collection primarily documents Black’s work as a playwright from the 1970s through 2000s, with some earlier materials documenting Black's high school and college days, including performances in Chapel Hill, N.C. Other materials document his stand-up comedy, films, and television appearances. The collection primarily includes drafts, scripts, notes, press and publicity materials, scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials. Materials pertaining to educational projects from Baltimore Public Television and the 52nd Street Project are also included.
Creator Black, Lewis, 1948-
Curatorial Unit University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Library. Southern Historical Collection.
Language English
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Restrictions to Access
No restrictions. Open for research.
Restrictions to Use
Access to audio and moving image materials may require production of listening or viewing copies.
Copyright Notice
Copyright is retained by the authors of items in these papers, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Preferred Citation
[Identification of item], in the Lewis Black Papers #05792, Southern Historical Collection, The Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Acquisitions Information
Received from Lewis Black in April 2019 (Acc. 20211015.2).
Sensitive Materials Statement
Manuscript collections and archival records may contain materials with sensitive or confidential information that is protected under federal or state right to privacy laws and regulations, the North Carolina Public Records Act (N.C.G.S. § 132 1 et seq.), and Article 7 of the North Carolina State Personnel Act (Privacy of State Employee Personnel Records, N.C.G.S. § 126-22 et seq.). Researchers are advised that the disclosure of certain information pertaining to identifiable living individuals represented in this collection without the consent of those individuals may have legal ramifications (e.g., a cause of action under common law for invasion of privacy may arise if facts concerning an individual's private life are published that would be deemed highly offensive to a reasonable person) for which the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill assumes no responsibility.
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The following terms from Library of Congress Subject Headings suggest topics, persons, geography, etc. interspersed through the entire collection; the terms do not usually represent discrete and easily identifiable portions of the collection--such as folders or items.

Clicking on a subject heading below will take you into the University Library's online catalog.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Biographical Information

Lewis Black (b. 1948) is a white Jewish actor and author best known for his stand-up comedy on television shows such as The Daily Show and Lewis Black's Root of All Evil. Raised in Silver Spring, Md., Black graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 1970, where he majored in dramatic art. Black began his career as a playwright, overseeing the development of more than 1,000 plays.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Scope and Content

This collection primarily documents Lewis Black’s work as a playwright from the 1970s through 2000s, with some earlier materials documenting Black's high school and college days, including performances in Chapel Hill, N.C. Other materials document his stand-up comedy, films, and television appearances. The collection primarily includes drafts, scripts, notes, press and publicity materials, scrapbooks, and audiovisual materials. Materials pertaining to educational projects from Baltimore Public Television and the 52nd Street Project are also included.

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Contents list

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s

Box 1

Scripts and drafts: One-act plays, 1970s-1980s #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 1

Includes playbills and scripts for various one-act plays, including: Crossing the Crab Nebula, Dottie's Home, In Between Songs, L.A. Freewheeling, The Last Inning, On the Fritzz, A Pizza and a Beer in Search of a Saturday Night, Urban Renewal, O Dem Christians, Jack Kerouac, Hunger in Suburbia, Jessica, The Chaz and Eddie Cycle, The Outer Banks, Lost in Place.

Box 2

Scripts and drafts, 1980s-2000s #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 2

Includes drafts, scripts, and notebooks for the plays Nightfall, The Laundry Hour, Czar of Rock and Roll, Duck and Cover: The Atomic Musical, Hitchin', and One Slight Hitch.

Box 3

Scripts, drafts, and notes, 1969-2009 #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 3

Contains materials from: Childs Play, Light, Oh Hell, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?, Feast, a psychology dissertation by Shel Miller on Feast crew, Fivegether (written for Homestead Arts in Colorado Springs, Colo.), Rooftop Serenade, Street 70, Hitchin', One Slight Hitch, various radio plays, and a monologue for the Kenyan Festival Theatre.

Box 4

Rough drafts, scripts, notes, proposals, and other papers, 1970s-2017 #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 4

Contains one of Black's notebooks from the 1980s, rough drafts, scripts, and crew calls for works including: Feast, Do You Know Where Your Children Are?, Exmass, The Context Is..., The Last Inning, What I Meant to Say..., The Humiliation of Lewis Black, 4th of July Canoe Trip, and Blue in the City, The Ultimate Humiliation of Lewis Black, Nothing's Sacred, and The Last Laugh. Also contains proposals, including a handwritten proposal for monetary assistance for Homestead Arts, Inc., production notes for Inside the NFL, a copy of "Facts are Facts."

Box 5

Scripts, 1991-2005 #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 5

Contains scripts for Man of Year, Word of Mouth by John Tinker, Tom Fontana, and Bruce Patrow, Accepted by Mark Perez, Harvery Berger: Salesman, and Educating Lewis by Victor Fresco.

Box 6

Television and film roles, 1990s-2000s #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 6

Includes materials pertaining to television and film roles written for Black, including: SideSplitters: The Burt and Dick Story by Adam Dubin and Ric Menello, Willie and Lou by Richard Gurman, Harvey Berger: Salesman by Richard Dresser and Jay Tarses, The Lewis Black Show by Richard Dresser, The Big Fix by David Sacks, The War Room by John Tinker, Tom Fontana, and Bruce Patrow, and Man of the Year by Barry Levinson. Also includes Carroll Gardens by Norman Steinberg and Lewis Black.

Box 7

Educational projects: Baltimore Public Television and 52nd Street Project, 1970s-1990s #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 7

Contains materials pertaining to educational plays and projects for Baltimore Public Television and the 52nd Street Project.

Box 8

Promotional materials and scrapbooks, 1966-2016 #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 8

Contains programs, playbills, newspaper clippings, photographs, and other press and promotional materials pertaining to Black's works and performances, dating back to his high school and college years. Works and performances include: Have I Got an Act for You, Otto Baby, The Carolina Dramatic Association's 45th Annual State Drama Festival, What I Meant to Say..., Nightfall, On the Fritzz, Indians, Hamster Land, The Laundy Hour, "Black Humor," Running on Empty, and Inside Out. There are also newspaper and magazine articles, promotional materials for Comedy Central Live, Nothing's Sacred, Carolines 20th Anniversary Gala, the Smithwick's Cat Laughs Comedy Festival, and Charred Black; interviews with The New York Times and NPR's Fresh Air; Black's tour itineraries; materials from his 1999 appearance on The Oprah Winfrey Show and the 2007 Grammy Awards and Emmy Awards, and USO events events in 2007 and 2010. A copy of Black's 2008 book Me of Little Faith is also included.

Box 8

Volume V-5792/1

Scrapbook, 1970s-1980s #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 8, Volume V-5792/1

Contains newspaper clippings, promotional materials, and photographs documenting Black's early works and performances from the 1970s and 1980s, including: Feast, Rejoice: A Simple Song, The House of Blue Leaves, Jenny Goes to America. What I Meant to Say..., Dottie's Home, Manfly, On the Fritzz, Black is Beautiful, Crossing the Crab Nebula, Nightfall, and various comedy acts.

Box 8

Volume V-5792/2

Scrapbook, 1980s #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 8, Volume V-5792/2

Contains newspaper clippings, promotional materials, and photographs documenting Black's early works and performances from the 1980s, including: Crossing the Crab Nebula, On the Fritzz, Our Father, Pass with Care, The Laundry Hour, Rooftop Serenade, and Hitchin.'

Box 8

Volume V-5792/3

Scrapbook, 1998 #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" Box 8, Volume V-5792/3

Documents Black's 1998 one-man comedy show "Black Humor."

Oversize Box OB-5792/1

Oversize Materials, 1980s-2011 #05792, Series: "Lewis Black Papers, 1970s-2010s" OB-5792/1

Contains promotional illustrations, at least one of which was drawn by illustrator Mark English (1933-2019), Black's Emmy Awards certificates (2003-2007), a photobook documenting a 2010 USO Tour of Iraq and Afghanistan, and a 2011 Williamson Theatre Festival Poster advertising the play One Slight Hitch.

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expand/collapse Expand/collapse Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated.

Audiotape T-5792/1

Unidentified sound recording #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." T-5792/1

1/4" Open Reel Audio
Audiotape T-5792/2

Betty Morrow Ulysses Session #3, undated #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." T-5792/2

1/4" Open Reel Audio
Audiotape T-5792/3

Unidentified sound recording #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." T-5792/3

1/4" Open Reel Audio
Audiotape T-5792/4

Unidentified sound recording #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." T-5792/4

1/4" Open Reel Audio
Videotape VT-5792/1

Street 70 #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/1

1" Open Reel Video
Videotape VT-5792/2

Lew Black at the West Bank Cafe, undated #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/2

VHS; Two takes: side and front; approximately 58 minutes each
Videotape VT-5792/3

Lew Black: Comedy for Commies, 1 May 1987 #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/3

VHS
Videotape VT-5792/4

"West Bank," 20 February 1988 #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/4

VHS
Videotape VT-5792/5

Scene Night, 23 April 1988 #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/5

VHS
Videotape VT-5792/6

Lewis Black Workshop, Forest Inn, August 1989 #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/6

VHS
Videotape VT-5792/7

Lewis Black, Black Humor, 28 October 1998 #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/7

VHS
Videotape VT-5792/8

Lewis Black, Black Comedy, undated #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/8

VHS; Tape #2
Videotape VT-5792/9

Lewis Black, One Man Show, undated #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/9

VHS
Videotape VT-5792/10

Untitled, undated #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/10

VHS
Videotape VT-5792/11

Untitled, undated #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." VT-5792/11

VHS; No audio
Music Compact Disc CD-5792/1

Educating Lewis, 29 April 2004 #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." CD-5792/1

Music Compact Disc CD-5792/2

One Slight Hitch: North Carolina audio files (copy), circa 2008 #05792, Series: "Audiovisual materials, 1987-2008, undated." CD-5792/2

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Processing Information

Processed by: Rebecca Stubbs and Dawne Howard Lucas, November 2021

Encoded by: Dawne Howard Lucas, November 2021

Since August 2017, we have added ethnic and racial identities for individuals and families represented in collections. To determine identity, we rely on self-identification; other information supplied to the repository by collection creators or sources; public records, press accounts, and secondary sources; and contextual information in the collection materials. Omissions of ethnic and racial identities in finding aids created or updated after August 2017 are an indication of insufficient information to make an educated guess or an individual's preference for identity information to be excluded from description. When we have misidentified, please let us know at wilsonlibrary@unc.edu.

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