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Reviews » DVD Video Reviews » Lewis Black - Black on Broadway
Lewis Black - Black on Broadway
Warner Bros. // Unrated // January 25, 2005
List Price: $19.97 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Robert Spuhler | posted February 17, 2005 | E-mail the Author
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The easy, not to mention expedient, manner in which to describe Lewis Black is that he's "angry." But to dismiss him as "angry" is a mistake, in a way; Black's yelling and ranting has little to do with pure rage and more to do with frustration.

In Black on Broadway, Lewis Black is more frustrated than ever, railing against everything from the Department of Homeland Security to the weather.

Humor is subjective, but if you find any of the following lines funny, you might enjoy Black's style of comedy:

On tax rebates: "All $400 does is remind you how [fornicated] you are. You'd have been better off if your congressman came to your door and [urinated] on your foot."

On Italy: "I didn't know this, but Jesus Christ? He's big there. Everywhere you turn, there's Jesus, there's Jesus, there's Jesus – He's like the Coca-Cola of Italy. I'm Jewish, and after three weeks I started to think he might be the real thing."

On worrying about health: "On the plane was a Time magazine and there was a 30 page article on diabetes, and I read every page. By the time that plane landed, I had diabetes."

Much like the bombs he threw at Clinton in the late 1990s, the current President does not escape Black's wrath, so those who have seemingly become adverse to anyone doing anything other than bowing before Bush 43's throne would do well to stay away from here.

But the best of Black's material here is not overtly political. Bits on soymilk, traveling and the greed of the heads of companies such as Enron are right on the mark, and the combination of clever writing and Black's aggressive delivery is the comic equivalent of assault and battery.

The lone disappointment with Black's routine is that if you are a big fan, you've heard much of this before. The HBO special is traditionally the time that a comic brings out the best of his/her material and commits it to tape. But because of Black's constant touring schedule and CD release schedule (he released two albums in 2003, has had three Comedy Central specials and has co-headlined with Dave Attell on a major tour, all in the recent past), the HBO special feels like a "best of." Fans that have followed him for years will know a lot of the material in advance.

Also, some of the humor seems too easy for someone like Black. For instance, there is a chunk of material devoted to the Department of Homeland Security's promotion of duct-tape as part of a prepared home's emergency kit. Is it funny? Sure, but with Stewart, Letterman, O'Brien and the rest of the late night crew beating him to the punch by several months, the material suffers from sounding dated.

The DVD

Video:

The HBO Video transfer is full-screen, as shown originally on the network. There's not much here to differentiate it from most other stand-up DVDs; it's clean, free of almost all digital defect and the comic never ends up green.

Audio:

The 2.0 audio track is exactly what you'd expect. Black is always clearly audible, even as he talks over the laughter and applause of the audience.

Extras:

Not a thing.

Final Thoughts:

Black's special is certainly worth a recommendation. While it may not have the value of his longer (both in feature length and time-spanning) 2003 Comedy Central release, Unleashed, Black on Broadway is filled with enough laughs to be worthy of multiple viewings.

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