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“I did already rewrite a very small section of a song just to reference there was a pandemic, almost because I had to get it out of the way. It can’t be the elephant in the room. You can’t not say anything," Lynch says. "I just don’t want the whole show to revolve around it. It’s a song I open with about what if I had a time machine, what would I do with it? It occurred to me the other day, if I open with this song and mention something about going back in time to create a vaccine or warn the world or whatever it is, that will get that moment done and it won’t be something hanging over our head.” Lynch, who turned 50 last month, returns to the road following 18 months of uncertainty when the pandemic shuttered performance spaces and eliminated large gatherings. He’s seen a lot as a performer, with 25 years of working some of the biggest stages, including on Broadway and at Carnegie Hall, and with some of the most well– known comedians such as Bob Saget, Louis C.K., Mitch Hedberg, Lewis Black and more. He’s carved out a place in comedy as a talented guitarist/songwriter whose soothing voice and soft melodies run counter to his often profane lyrics about regrettable tattoos, menstruation, veganism, Satan, organ donation, sex, not having sex, the South, Jesus, the brother of Jesus, cocaine and rushing a relative to his deathbed for the sake of an inheritance, among other topics. Lynch's creative process relies on testing new songs on a live audience. He absorbs the reactions to help improve a song for its final, recorded version — or to scrap it if it doesn’t resonate. Lynch had a lot of new songs that were ready for the road at the start of 2020 and says he wasn't too concerned about the virus initially. Just before the lockdown, he was in Las Vegas performing what was to be the first leg of his tour. He sat in a casino with thousands of people from around the country and the world, and masks and hand sanitizer weren’t part of the daily routine yet. Cut to a month later, Lynch says, and he was washing his car keys and credit cards. “I thought I would be really creative in that time period," he says of the lockdown. "It turned out to be the opposite — I didn’t want to do anything creative. Nothing was funny. I didn’t want to re–tailor everything that I had written up to that point to be about this thing that was consuming all of our time and attention. "So, I just sort of didn’t. I didn’t do anything. I allowed myself to do other things. I cleaned my house. I sold my house. I bought a new house. I moved into that house. I did everything to just not think about that type of thing. I figured when the time was right, I would be reinspired and the creative juices would get flowing again. And that’s what happened, especially now that I have (performance) dates to actually look forward to.”

Back to Kalamazoo Creative juices flowed early for Lynch. Born in 1971 in Pennsylvania to a former nun and former priest, he was raised Catholic, but religion wasn’t forced on him. He playfully touched on the topic early in his

18 | ENCORE AUGUST 2021