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Lewis Black’s Root of all Evil Uncensored on DVDLewis Black’s Root of all Evil Uncensored

Today’s television schedule offers everything from small claims court programs, to LA Law, to the Court TV channel, yet America’s hunger for courtroom drama remains strangely unsatisfied. It probably all started with the O.J. Simpson murder trial some 13 years ago, and ironically enough, The Juice just had a return trip to Federal Court – he wasn’t quite so fortunate this time, however. Nevertheless, Simpson’s case captured the public’s attention and TV has continually tried to feed that need ever since. Yet if you like the whole court format, albeit without even a hint of courtroom reality, Lewis Black’s Root of all Evil Uncensored may hit the spot.

Although many famous individuals are listed in these various ‘cases,’ including Paris Hilton and Dick Cheney, it is actually American culture on trial. The premise of each case/program -- encompassing eight mock trials presented on two DVDs -- is that a pair of comedian/lawyers must prove to Judge Black which ‘client’ is the root of all evil. The assumption is made, however, that all 16 defendants are evil. Thus, the winner of each case is literally the lesser of two evils.

Many times, this show takes aim at easy targets. For instance, comedians already have a field day with the likes of Donald Trump and Paris Hilton. The media is also relentless in its attack of Kim Jong-Il and Dick Cheney. But in North Korea leader Kim Jon-Il’s case, the man is truly evil. (Depending upon who you ask, so is Cheney for that matter). When it comes to the featured celebrities and public figures, these cases are already being tried in the court of public opinion. So for show, a troupe of comedians, which includes Andrew Daly, Greg Giraldo, Andy Kindler, Kathleen Madigan (the lone female attorney), Patton Oswalt, and Paul F. Tompkins, merely highlight some of the gossipy facts most of us already know.

Much more fascinating than these overly familiar faces, however, are cases involving objects and places, rather than actual people. For example, we’re asked what is worse -- beer or weed. To the college crowd, I imagine the verdict would revolve around the opposite question -- which is better, instead. As a sort of mix and match, one program pits Oprah vs. the Catholic Church. On the surface, this may appear to be an unmatched pairing. But when you stop and think about the seemingly god-like power Oprah has over her viewers, it is not so much of a stretch comparing this media hound to an organized religion. The case of American Idol vs. High School makes obvious sense, though, in that high school is an annoying popularity contest, as is American Idol.

Out of this cast of mock attorneys, Greg Giraldo and Patton Oswalt are the best of the bunch. Giraldo always – and intentionally, it seems – gets assigned to sex-related cases. He is asked to bring out what’s evil about both porn and Viagra, for instance. There’s just something entertainingly slimy about Giraldo whenever he’s talking about bedroom subject matter. Oswalt, on the other hand, is simply the smartest man in the room. He is given both YouTube and Dick Cheney as cases, for instance. Oswalt is not smart enough, however, to hide his clear disdain for Dick Cheney. In most examples, these comics are having fun with this subject matter; but Oswalt has a political bone to pick with Cheney, which borders on being serious.

At the end of each case, Judge Black decides which defendant is more evil than the other. Sometimes this choice is quite subjective, as when Black expresses a grudge against Oprah for how she once treated him on her show. There’s always a loser, but that loser is never the audience because this program contains consistently evil fun. And fun has always been the root of all comedy.
 


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Review by Dan MacIntosh

Lewis Black’s Root of all Evil Uncensored on DVDLewis Black’s Root of all Evil Uncensored

Product Description:
Las Vegas. YouTube. Paris Hilton. What do they have in common? They all make Lewis Black want to strangle himself with a television cord. Join the abrasive comedian as he and his brethren take on pop culture, politics and all the things that most stupefy and pervert our society. With the help of comics like Patton Oswalt, Greg Giraldo and Andrew Daly, Lewis Black will help you find the Root of All Evil.

Directors: Keith Truesdell
Format: Color, DVD-Video, Full Screen, NTSC
Language: English
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
Number of discs: 2
Studio: Comedy Central
DVD Release Date: September 30, 2008
Run Time: 176 minutes

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