Lewis Black The Carnegie Hall Performances
2 stand-up comedy CDs
Comedy Central Records 2006

Lewis Black The Carnegie Hall Performance is an almost excellent 2 stand-up comedy CD set of the performance Black gave at Carnegie Hall on September 24, 2005.

If judged by any other standard than what Black has made this listener used to with past releases, this set would be excellent but unfortunately a couple of the routines here have a bit of a shaggy dog tale feel to them that are below par for Lewis Black and make this only a very good release

The Lewis Black CD Carnegie Hall Performance opens with a routine about the honor of playing Carnegie Hall and how although this might finally have impressed Black’s mother, it didn’t quite make it.

Black also asks the question what’s next. His answer is an interesting take on the rise to the top, downfall, rise to the top again arc one often sees in those biographies on A&E.

Getting Old is a bit on how time and the seasons fly. Yom Kippur is another black take on the Jewish holiday and how Jews perceive the world. Some of the material here and especially on Candy Corn echoes some stuff Black has done in the past but most of it is new and fresh.

We Don’t Know What We Are Doing Anymore and Air Traffic Control are a couple of angry (well, no shit) observational comedy on how the security bug is up everybody’s ass and the FAA is definitely run by a bunch of idiots. New Orleans is, of course, about the disaster after the disaster.

Black’s take, associating this with the use so-called bad language and Barbara Bush as well as the usual gang of idiots (to quote MAD magazine) shows how original a stand-up comic Lewis Black is. This is sharp dead-on political humor.

Information is another biting piece of stand-up comedy on how the information age we all supposedly live in is in fact nothing of the kind. Lewis Black also tells an interesting story of his appearance on CNN and how he got them to turn off the scroll news at the bottom.

The second comedy CD in Lewis Black The Carnegie Hall Performance opens with an echo of Michael Jackson is a punchline in himself but quickly moves on to the stupid names some people have given their kids. This is more Lewis Black poking his sharp stick in modern society’s eye and twisting it around for good effect. That’s F***ed Up is on how Bush cannot even put on the right face for what his handlers tell him to say.

This is the kind of dead on, caustic humor that is a Black trademark and makes him such a great stand-up comedian. He carries this on with The Problem Is Gay Marriage and a very nasty attack on Rick Santorum, the Republican Senator from Pennsylvania, while doing a bit of comedy of the absurd on the gay conspiracy to take over and convert the world.

The shaggy dog bit on Lewis Black The Carnegie Hall Performance is the Congressional Correspondents Dinner. Although this is, again, quite dark and funny stuff, there is something unfinished about this routine that makes it sound more like a story told by Lewis Black than a full-fledged, polished stand-up comedy bit.

Then again, there are a couple of moments on this two CD set where Black flubs a line so perhaps the comic made the decision of letting his fans hear the performance as is, warts and all.

Terry Schiavo, about the kerfuffle or kafuffle about the whole case and how doctors were able to diagnose a patient through the magic of television, very smoothly segues into frozen embryos and mini pizzas as Lewis Black makes his point. The comic almost actually pops a vein at the end of this routine.

Dead Presidents is a take on how there are no good candidates coming down the pipe or beltway and the war in Iraq. Black’s solution to winning the war against muslim radicals is definitely surreal and funny as hell.

Lewis Black The Carnegie Hall Performance is a solid 2 CD stand-up comedy set. The packaging is ugly as hell.

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