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Lewis Black: Black on Broadway
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Lewis Black: Black on Broadway (DVD)
Lewis Black's performance in the HBO special Lewis Black: Black on Broadway is exactly like his "Back in Black" spots on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. If you love his sputtering, furious rants on the fake news, there's no reason you won't enjoy an hour's worth on DVD, during which Black spits out his grievances against typical stand-up comedy fodder--corporate scandals, air travel, etc.--in his usual, direct style. (Good line: "If you're in coach, kill yourself.") The only caveat: you'll get nothing extra here. The disc contains the show, brief shots of his entering/exiting the theater, and that's it. No interviews, no commentary track, not even a set of Spanish subtitles. But since Black's routine is stripped-down anger, perhaps it's fitting for the DVD to be stripped-down Black. --Leah Weathersby
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Black's shtick is to start most jokes in a conversational tone of voice and punctuate the punch-line by yelling it angrily. After all, he's the angry guy who's angry at the world. Think of Sam Kinison in terms of style of delivery and Bill Hicks in terms of social and political commentary. Black works the crowd with all the skill and experience of a veteran stand-up comic. He does a good job of going off on tangents and then laying on a zinger that references an earlier joke. He has a good sense of timing. He knows just the right amount of beats between the set-up and punch-line of a joke.
If you can tap into Black's misanthropy (and in this day and age who can't?) he is quite funny with some genuinely laugh-out bits. On soy milk: "They couldn't sell soy juice so they called it soy milk because any time you say soy juice you actually start to gag." It's not just his jokes that are funny but how he delivers them-in an angry, exasperated way of someone in danger of having an aneurysm. What makes Black's comedy work is that its core there is a ring of honesty that he exaggerates for comic effect. He understands and acknowledges that the world is supremely messed up and that there may be nothing we can do but at least we can have some fun complaining about it.
What exactly, you might ask, is Black angry about? For starters, how about the weather, the government, corporate greed, and the lack of clean water? Fortunately, Black is far more than just another middle-aged curmudgeon, as there's always a payoff to be found when he starts one of his diatribes. So if you're in the mood for some uproarious, laugh-inducing, bile-filled yelling, you should run, not walk, to the store and pick up a copy of last year's HBO special Black on Broadway. Right from the opening salvo fired directly at the audience, Black on Broadway is pure gold: misanthropic, brutally honest, frightfully thought-provoking comedy that effectively catalogues the staggering stupidity of human existence.
Black's signature style-profanity-laced rants punctuated by shouted punch lines that see him come one step short of becoming completely unhinged-finds plenty of fodder here, as this special shows him to be a satirist and social critic on par with such modern-day greats as Bill Hicks and Chris Rock. Early on, he gives us a pitch-perfect characterization of the two political parties ("The Democrats are the party of NO ideas, and the Republicans are the party of BAD ideas!"), coupled with a tirade on the economy ("It goes up, it goes down, it goes UP, it goes DOWN!") that's surprisingly spot-on no matter what your political leanings. Black really gets going later on with his discussion of Americans' obnoxious reflexive patriotism, the current misguided health mania, and comparisons between the current terrorism fears and the nuclear paranoia of his childhood ("That era was pretty f---ing scary!").
While I didn't really know what to expect when I got this DVD (I don't watch the Daily Show, so my exposure to Black was minimal), I really can't say enough good things about it. In a profoundly irrational world, Lewis Black provides a rare voice of reason, even if that voice is filled with rage and spite. While Black doesn't suggest much in the way of making the world better, he does at least let us have some laughs at the absurdity of our lives.
From where is Global Warming where you need it?; US Government Deficit - and no one explaining where over 5 Trillion dollars went!; Lewis chows down on Republicans and Democrats alike; Homeland security; tax-cuts; coupons; travel to New Zealand; Corporate Greed; how to stretch you money; milk that isn't milk; bottled water and it's nutritional values; where cold air comes from; why his government stopped lying to him; George Bush; diet; how to live longer; and Martha Stewart's body parts!
His razor-edge humor is dead bang on target and requires repeated viewing because you are laughing so hard at one joke, you might miss part of another!!
Hey, my cat even loves Lewis! Seriously, she watches him like he is the god of Catdom! Maybe he is because he sure is the cat's whiskers!! lol.
The material on the DVD is a cobbled together, best of much of his previous work.
What you get with the DVD is his facial expressions and the "finger." The wagging "finger!" The "finger" that gives you some idea of how pissed off he really is.
And he has a right to be pissed off - because the world has way too many idiots.
His ablility to make vessel bursting anger seem funny is comic genius.
The DVD is a must for hardcore fans and the newly initiated.