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DVD Review: Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil

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The Show

Lewis Black has always been one of my favorite comedians. His crazy rants, insane facial gestures, and incessant head-bobbing, make him hilarious. His new Comedy Central show, Root of All Evil, takes the setup from a courtroom with Black acting as the judge and two other comics acting as lawyers.

The point of Root of All Evil, is just that — to find out what is the most evil thing in the world. Each comic is assigned a topic and they must do everything in their power to win the argument. Cases like weed vs. beer, American Idol vs. high school, or Paris Hilton vs. Dick Cheney make for some hilarious debating.

At the beginning Black introduces both sides with a slide show of sorts, then each comic is allowed opening statements. Then it’s on to the Inquisition where Black throws out questions about each topic. My favorite part, however, happens after the Inquisition. It’s called The Ripple of Evil, where each comic has to explain what would happen if their evil was left unchecked.

For example, trying to convince everyone that the root of all evil is porn, comedian Greg Giraldo paints a hilarious picture of a country of men with only one gigantic right hand (think about it). This giant right hand will cause them all to swim in circles creating a giant vortex that would suck the earth to the bottom of the ocean.

This is the kind of logic you’ll be dealing with when you watch this DVD, but it works. Every one of the comedians is hilarious. Patton Oswalt is my absolute favorite though. Other comedians include: Andrew Daly, Andy Kindler, Kathleen Madigan, and Paul F. Tompkins.

The real irony about the show is that Lewis Black is hardly in it. He has his moments at the beginning and at the end, but for the good majority of the time he doesn’t say or do anything. His one-liners before and after commercials are really hit and miss. Some of them are funny, but others sound really scripted.

The DVDs

There are a hilarious eight episodes here. Just so you can get a feel of what you’re going to see, here are the episode titles:

Weed vs. Beer
YouTube vs. Porn
Oprah vs. The Catholic Church
Paris Hilton vs. Dick Cheney
Kim Jong –Il vs. Tila Tequila
Donald Trump vs. Viagra
American Idol vs. High School
Las Vegas vs. The Human Body

I think by seeing the topics you’ll know if you’ll want to buy it or not. If you don’t like jokes about gay, child-molesting priests, then you may not want to watch the Catholic Church episode. If for some terrible reason you actually think Paris Hilton is a great human being, then you may not want to watch the episode about her.

There are four episodes to each disc.

Each menu has the ability to play all of the episodes or to choose from an episode menu.

One of the things that really bothers me about the more recent Comedy Central DVDs is the crazy long preview of South Park’s eleventh season. It’s on the first disc, and takes forever to get through. You have to fast forward through it manually as it won’t let you just hit the menu button. It’s very irritating.

Remember, this DVD is uncensored, so you’ll here your share of F-words. But, I was surprised that they actually didn’t swear more. Some Comedy Central shows, like Reno 911, are full of the swears, and when you watch them on DVD it’s a very different experience.

The Quality

It’s full frame and it looks great, just like it should on DVD. Most of these types of TV shows transfer well over to DVD. Although this type of quality tends to be a real problem because you can see every detail. Comics aren’t known to be the best looking, and least sweaty people on earth.

The Packaging

Here we have a simple snap case, with two hubs inside, one on the back of the front cover and the other on the back of the back cover. I like this set up, it keeps the discs from touching each other.

The Special Features

There’s no over-the-top amazing special content here. It’s mostly stuff collected from the show’s website and stuck on the disc.

The best special feature is the post-interviews. After each episode, while the credits are rolling there are short interviews a la People’s Court. These are hilarious. Each comic pokes fun at the other. The interviews are edited, unlike the rest of the DVD.

Ending Thoughts

This is a fun show and a great DVD set. I love this new setup that Black has thought up. It hilarious watching the comedians interact with each other. I’m so used to seeing one comic at a time up on a stage doing his thing. Here we get three comics poking fun at pop-culture and each other. Bet you didn’t know Patton Oswalt has “fetus arms” did you?

This show made me laugh, which is what it’s supposed to do. Although for fans of Lewis Black the ranting comedian, I’m not so sure this is the DVD for you. Like I said before there’s not much here from him rather than the odd comment or two. It’s mostly the bickering lawyers who get most of the spotlight. But, if you’re a fan of stand up comedy in general then you’ll love this DVD.

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