Lewis Black Unleashed
Lewis Black
Directed By:
Paul Miller

Lewis Black makes me laugh. Hard. He's a man on the edge of snapping and it shows in his topical and real-to-life commentary. As a regular on Comedy Central and The Daily Show with John Stewart, it was no real stretch that Comedy Central would put out a DVD of his material. For fans of his humor, though, it was about time.

The DVD features three of Lewis Black's half-hour live performances, a special he did on filing income taxes and all his commentary shorts he did during the 2000 Democratic and Republican National Conventions. There's about two hours worth of content here and all of it is both funny and well thought out. His topics range from highly political to just venting his gripes about stupid people, whether they be celebrities or common folks. For those who've seen the original shows run on Comedy Central, there's really only a minute or two here and there that was cut and has made it back for the DVD.

While Lewis is jewish, he doesn't play that card to his benefit. Instead, he rarely makes a comment about it, choosing to focus on material that just about everyone can get a laugh from. He spends a lot of time talking about politics, current events and people in general, focusing on some of the more idiotic people and events he's managed to witness. He also loves to snap out some just off-the-wall comments to get a laugh out of you, like calling people who use Robitusin "non-narcotic sissy pansies" for not talking Nyquil. Probably one of his best bits is when he refers to The International House of Pancakes as his "health club" and goes on about drinking way too much coffee and screaming to the waitress to get him pancakes to knock down the buzz.

While Lewis can shake with a crazed fervor, he doesn't spend his whole time in this state. His act is peppered with lulls and calms in between the emotional storms which aid in driving home the punchlines even further. When he gets whipped up into one of his tirades, Lewis' nervous ticks, including his shaking pointed finger accentuate his work.

When it comes to the DVD video and audio quality, you'll find it's pretty-much a straight-from-television transfer, so don't expect any high-end video and audio polish. Plus, outside of just collecting the shows and snippets he's done, there isn't much extra on here. But, the two hours you get is good on its own, especially for the lower price-point.

If there's anything to be said against this DVD is that much of the comedy is topical, so it may not hold well with people who don't know much about politics or current events and may be certain to be lost on future generations. Also, much of the content isn't new and can occasionally be seen on Comedy Central if you watch it regularly. For fans of Lewis Black, though, you'll want to pick this up so you can watch it whenever you want to. If you're big on standup comedy, you should do yourself well to catch this.

- - Vane

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