Back to the usual Black
The Story So Far...
Standing before a giant red cube hovering on the stage at Minneapolis' State Theater, a set design courtesy of Black's father, the comic works his way into his traditional enraged self, starting off slow with talk of Minnesota (and the poor image provided by Michelle Bachmann) and a word of warning to those who thought they came for a fun night of laughs with a comedian. Those people got plenty of laughs though, with Black railing against holidays, especially Valentine's Day, before diving into his bread and butter, namely the stupidity of America's political leaders, including the lack of progress in gay marriage and abortion rights and the rise of a third party in the form of the Tea Party.
Tied into that stupidity is the disappointment Black has for a country that accepts this from its government, putting the blame on all the garbage that monopolizes American's minds. Whether it's his dismay at knowing all the cast members of Jersey Shore (and that fact that its at least partially from their status as published authors) or the similarities between tripping on LSD and using Apple's SIRI, Black is a master of his own unique pacing, building up momentum outlining a situation or idea until he explodes. Though some of the bits have aged a bit since this special was shot in May of 2011, and some have become overdone as jokes in the meanwhile, unfortunately, most are still directly on target.
Though he's late in the game in tackling smartphones, body scanners and Facebook, that doesn't make his points any less meaningful or less enjoyable. Ripping the iPhone for its assortment of applications and lack of phone functionality (with some bonus Genius bar jabs as well), or explaining his bad experience with the Droid is nothing new to followers of the tech scene, but it doesn't feel worn out coming from Black, probably because he's not coming at it from a tech perspective. He just simply wants his phone to work. The same goes for his disbelief of the value assigned to Facebook and the insanity of virtual farms in Farmville. Sure, many have spoken about this before, but few have made a comparison of the social network to the value of their own genitalia, and most aren't nearly as funny.
Though delivered in a 5.1 presentation, the audio wasn't a great experience, as Black shares the center channel and side speakers with the audience, while the rear channels are purely audience reaction with an echo of Black's voice. It's not that Black's voice isn't clear and separate from the audience (it is) but that keeping the two separate in the speakers replicates the theater experience more faithfully. Surprisingly, the DTS track has a bit less oomph than the Dolby track, requiring you to pump up your volume a bit. Other than that, there wasn't much of a difference.
There's more interaction with the crowd in the 6:50 "Audience Participation," which shows Black coping with audience members who can't keep their mouths shut, including one woman in the front row who can't stop reminding Black that his parents are in the building. Watching a veteran comic cope with a heckler is like looking at a work of art.
"Promo Shoot Outtakes" (4:51) is a bit of fun from the production of the commercials for Black's special, showing his process in delivering his lines, and some interaction with his dad over the set. It's an amusing featurette, showing Black in a natural light.
The final extra, "Photo Gallery," is a five-minute automatic slideshow of photos covering the prep work on the special, the performance itself and even a look at the painting that inspired the set. It's nice visual insight into the making of the special.
The Bottom Line