Case Number 06425: Small Claims Court


HBO // 2004 // 60 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge Sandra Dozier (Retired) // March 21st, 2005

The Charge

"If the people in New Zealand want to be part of our world, I believe they should hop off their islands and push 'em closer!"
-- Lewis Black, after a 22-hour plane trip to New Zealand

The Case

Lewis Black is angry. He's outraged. He wants to tell you about it, and he will happily (or angrily) do so, on topics ranging from the coldest bleeping winter since forever, to what he would spend his cash on if he had as much money as Tyco executive Dennis Kozlowski, to the pros and cons of governmental mendacity. Here is a list of some of the topics he covers:

* No Friends Allowed
("You bring your friends...and I don't really need them.")

* Moose Weather
("It was a really special winter, wasn't it? If you're a...moose!")

* Tax Cut
("If we really went through five and a half trillion dollars, each one of us should have gotten a coupon!")

* Travel Notes
("I was shocked to discover that [George Bush] never went to Canada. How is that possible? Even drunk, on a bet, you make it to Canada!")

* Moo Cow F***-Milk
("For all we study about health, we know nothing. Is milk good or bad? I rest my case.")

* U.S. History of Water
("Aquafina? I think it means 'The end of water as we know it.'")

* General Rules of Health
("The good die young, but [expletive deleted] live forever!"

* The Greediest Group Ever
("Three people took a billion dollars...what were they going to do, start their own space program?!")

* Clean Nuts Theory
("They bought three, four, and five homes, and redecorated them, and I'd have a joke for that, but I'm not that funny!")

* Color Codes and Duct Tape = Homeland Security
("Homeland Security is a problem because it is run by Tom Ridge, and he is someone who has the leadership qualities of a gerbil.")

* Desks Will Protect You
("I am always amazed when I hear people saying, 'That George Bush -- he's a great leader' and I wonder where can one find a drug that could make one so delusional?")

* "Why Did They Stop Lying?"
("I believe that the CIA is truly filled with frustrated is there no accountability?")

Filmed at the Brooks Atkinson Theater in New York City, Black's Broadway appearance is funnier than heck, a word that will not appear at any time during the sixty minutes he appears on screen. You will, however, get to hear a lot of other colorful words, including some thrown in the middle of sentences just to give them extra punch, such as "We drank moo cow f***-milk." For anyone who loves Black's agitated commentary on Comedy Central's The Daily Show, replete with oddly twirly finger gestures when he's particularly passionate about something, his profanity-laced musings on the idiots that surround him like a choking cloud will be nothing short of gut-busting. In fact, some of Black's funniest jokes cannot be reprinted for a family audience. His comedy is at times surprisingly revealing (studies have really shown that we are drinking too much water?), thought-provoking (when talking about accountability for not finding weapons of mass destruction: "If you had someone that you worked with who [messed up] as much as these idiots did, they'd be gone"), and at times very funny because it's true ("Why did they stop lying? My government has always lied to me -- I'm comfortable with that!").

Black keeps up a good pace in this HBO special -- tight, but not frantic -- and segues from one subject to another with the smoothness of Barry White. One minute he's talking about smallpox, the next minute he's talking about corporate greed. What do these two things have to do with each other? Apparently, he missed an important class in order to receive his smallpox vaccination, one that probably would have landed him a better job than standup comedian. You know, something like being an executive for a huge company like WorldCom, Enron -- or Tyco. For all his fervor and outrage over George Bush, Black doesn't play sides. He thinks you are a lunatic if you find Bill Clinton inspiring, as well, and he manages to make even his obviously left-leaning audience laugh and cheer him for saying so.

HBO has released Lewis Black: Black on Broadway about as bare-bones as you can get. No subtitles (or alternate language tracks, which makes sense with standup comedy), no extras (not even previews), and the lone menu choice (other than "play") is a chapter selection list that takes you to roughly the beginning of each bit in his routine. Still, the box itself is attractive (deep black, with a funny picture of multiple Lewis Blacks sitting in an audience), the production values for the special and the picture and sound transfer for the DVD are very good, and the price is affordable -- under $15 US.

This is one for fans of Black to pick up if they want to see his slickly produced HBO special and get a few yucks in, and a good primer for anyone who has seen Black primarily on Comedy Central and would like a peek at his uncensored observations on life and the world we live in.

Review content copyright © 2005 Sandra Dozier; Site layout and review format copyright © 1998 - 2016 HipClick Designs LLC

Scales of Justice
Judgment: 85

Perp Profile
Studio: HBO
Video Formats:
* Full Frame

Audio Formats:
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround (English)

* None

Running Time: 60 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated

Distinguishing Marks
* None

* IMDb