Lewis Black's Root of All EvilFor a comedian who didn’t really make a name for himself until his early 50s, Lewis Black has done his best to make his grouchy persona as ubiquitous as possible over the last few years. Boasting frequent appearnces on the revered The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, several comedy specials and several movie roles, Lewis Black has now branched out (a bit) to head his own show: Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil, a 30-minute complainathon where Black, with the help of a few guest comedians, bashes things that “make me want to strangle myself with a television cord.”

Every episode is a head-to-head competition between two lesser known – but powerfully funny - comedians (Patton Oswalt and Greg Giraldo serve as the two biggest names here) arguing to prove that their side is the “root of all evil.” With such unlikely matchups as Oprah vs. The Catholic Church and Kim Jong Il vs. Tila Tequila, most of the commentary by our lawyer comedians is well-worked stand-up material under the guise of argument. It doesn’t hurt that most of Black’s choices are painfully annoying in the first place: Paris Hilton, Donald Trump, Dick Cheney… all highly mockable public figures. Black oversees his “courtroom” with a heavy hand and an iron wit, pounding his gavel to take jabs at either lawyer, or just to jab at their subject matter.

There are several rounds involved in the show. First Black opens the show with a brief explanation of each topic. Our lawyers are then introduced and immediately launch into their opening statements, berating their subject as “the root of all evil” and lobbing burning remarks in the general direction of the defense as well. Next, Black asks each of them questions to which they respond fast enough for the audience to tell that it’s scripted, but slow enough for it to feel at least a little spontaneous. Following is the “ripple of evil” in which each side predicts what will happen in the future if Black doesn’t rule in their favor. This tends to be the weakest part of the show, as the jokes become a bit outlandish. Finally, the lawyers issue their closing remarks and Judge Lewis Black makes his ruling, typically against Greg Giraldo, to Giraldo’s continuing chagrin.

Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil isn’t remarkably new and different than anything that’s come before it, but like Black himself, the show has a bit of a gleam in its eye that makes it more enjoyable than it might at first seem. Through the cynicism and putdowns, Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil shines with a comedic flair that makes it easy to watch and easier to laugh at.

Zach’s Rating: B+
Perfect For: Anyone tired of Law & Order
Stay Away if: You actually like Law & Order

To purchase Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil, visit Amazon

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