The DVD is basically one of those HBO comedy stand-up presentations. George Carlin’s been doing them for years, but Lewis Black ain’t no George Carlin. He’s just an angry middle-aged liberal with an agenda. As Terry Bradshaw is fond of saying: “That ain’t funny.” Say it again, Terry. The crowd seems appreciative enough, so maybe there’s about 1500 DVD sales there. I had heard very little about Black before this DVD came my way, so I had really no expectations going in. Somehow I had managed to miss any of his mater…al, and now I know why. It just isn’t very good. Now, if you’re looking for some harsh potshots at Republicans and the current administration, you’ll likely eat this stuff up. You won’t really laugh, but you’ll feel warm and fuzzy inside. You could just hug a teddy bear and skip the antics. To his credit, he does take one shot at Kerry, but somehow manages to bring it around to another jab at Bush. All of the so called jokes are merely DNC speaking points, yelled at times to attempt to make them funny. Hell, maybe they should do a Howard Dean HBO comedy special. I’d pay good money for that one. But Carlin does the same thing, you might say. Sure. But Carlin’s funny as hell.
The comedy show is offered in what is likely its original full frame broadcast presentation. It’s pretty much like anything else you’ve seen from HBO specials. Colors are good and contrast is fine. Detail is sharp, so you get to see the whites of Black’s eyes on the many facial close-ups we’re given. We’re not talking a great variety of color or optical candy here, but HBO brings it home in a nice pristine package.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 track is pretty much wasted on this dialogue-only comedy concert. I guess the applause might use a tad more range in the mix, but it’s not like we’re going to be hearing any explosions here. When Black screams, you hear it. Is that what you’re looking for?
“Lewis Black: Behind The Scenes Featuring The Box Office Girl” At 4 minutes, the title seems longer than the feature. We are treated to a sound check and Black giving us a pre-show pep talk. For some unknown reason of style, a few black and white versions of Black talking are intercut. Oh yeah, and we get to watch some camcorder operative messing with the girl at the box office, who at one time appears worried she might lose her job over this mess.“Ride The Short Bus With Lewis Black” Here we get a look inside Black’s touring bus, complete with the toilet and an unnecessary explanation of its deficiencies. What they mean by Short Bus I don’t know, as this puppy’s huge. “Lewis Black Buck Naked In DC” Seems that Black is from Washington and reminisces a little about growing up there. We’re treated to some of the sightseeing hotspots and an unfortunate story about his streaking, albeit slowly, at the Jefferson Memorial.“Lewis Black Probes Uncle Sam” Now we know why Black’s not a hot commodity in Hollywood with this short vignette that has Black giving a medical exam to Uncle Sam.
“Why Lewis Black Shouldn’t Be A Doctor” This collection of outtakes from the previous feature is just as long as the original piece.
Let’s talk turkey, shall we? If you like Lewis Black, you might want to rent the thing just to get a few chuckles. If you happen to believe things other than Lewis Black, this thing will more than likely just piss you off, so avoid it. Save that stroke for something more important than an angry middle-aged man whose insights on life “are usually wrong”.
Special Features List
- Extended cut includes 15 extra minutes
- Behind the scenes, featuring the Box Office Girl
- Ride the Short Bus with Lewis Black
- Lewis Black Buck Naked in D.C.
- Lewis Black Probes Uncles Sam
- Why Lewis Black Shouldn’t Be a Doctor