Directed by Adam Dubin
Starring Lewis Black
Lewis Black takes to the stage with a new, profanity-laden rant against the craziness of today’s society.
Lewis Black opens his act by asking the audience to lower their expectations, but those fans coming in expecting Black’s trademark angry yelling and finger pointing at the insanity of the world can keep their expectations as high as usual.
Probably best known for his rants in the “Back in Black” segments on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and his role in the college adventure flick Accepted, Black hits the stage at The Fillmore Detroit in Detroit (of course) with a fresh batch of ranting and raving at the ridiculous idiocies of our society. His topics range from aging, alternate fuels, technology, parents, the two-party government and country singer Vince Gill.
Black’s wit is in sync with many of the frustrations the average person has with the world today. Most anyone can relate to issues he highlights, from the endless political cycles seemingly going nowhere to learning more about your parents as you grow up. Some of it is nostalgic, and some of it is depressing to think of, but it’s pretty funny when Black points it out.
The one small problem with the special is the same problem with any stand-up routine that deals with topical events of the day – it starts to feel dated after a while. It’s already a year old, being filmed in August 2009. One joke about Bush leaving office feels so last year. I had thankfully forgotten about Dr. Phil until Black brought him up. I’m really exaggerating these points now, but the point is that in two or three years, this special loses some rewatch value. Who’s going to care about Twitter by 2015 anyway? (I mean, other than me *cough*http://twitter.com/nikoscream*cough*)
However, that minor problem (again, one many stand up specials have) aside, the special is still funny. The basic of Black’s comedy is pent-up frustration at the world, at how common sense makes no sense, and his over-the-top reactions ring true to his audience. It still strikes the right cords and delivers the laughs.
The whole thing is 16:9 widescreen. It looks fine and clear enough. It’s a stand-up act though, so it’s not like it needs impressively-high quality video.
The DVD offers a nice selection of DTS 5.1 surround and Dolby Digital both 5.1 surround and 2.0 stereo. But ultimately, all that matters is hearing the routine, which you can just fine. Again, not impressive, but it gets the job done.
The Packaging and Bonus Features
The one-disc special comes in a regular DVD case with cardboard slip cover. Nothing too special or fancy. The insert inside does fold out into a two-sided mini-poster, and that’s a little neat.
The one bonus feature is an hour plus documentary. Titled “Basic Black,” the doc follows the life and times of Lewis Black. Friends, families, colleagues and even television’s Johnny Galecki discuss Lewis coming up into his current comic status and his life on the road touring. The early years of Black’s career are pretty interesting and informative to those like me who mostly know Black from his more recent Comedy Central work. Though I do wish the documentary covered more of his recent work though, such as getting into The Daily Show, especially since those contributions helped garner him the level of celebrity he now has.
The documentary does expend on some of the material in the featured stand-up special, such as the relationship with his parents. You don’t need to have watched the stand-up to understand these bits, but it’s better to watch the feature first to kelp the freshness. Nothing kills a joke faster than explaining it. But after the fact, it’s a great supplement to the special and probably a must watch for any Black fan.
Black is as hilarious as ever and is even cathartic through his profane tirades. Some of the references may date the performance, but those few references shouldn’t hamper it. Time will tell how well it holds up, but for now, it’s worth a rental.
Overall (Not an Average) 8.5/10
The Series 8.5/10
The Video 6/10
The Audio 7.5/10
The Packaging and Bonus Features 8.5/10
Overall (Not an Average) 8.5/10