Lewis Black
Stand-up Comedy DVD
Comedy Central 2003
116 minutes

Unleashed is a brilliant stand-up comedy DVD if you own a time machine and can warp back to the 2000 election. If you do not own a time machine, it is just very good. What works are the half-hour (well, twenty-one minutes because they did include the commercials) stand-up comedy shows Lewis Black did on Comedy Central in 1998, 2000, and 2002.

What kind of works is the bonus material about income tax. What you need to time warp to enjoy is the Decision 2000 bits at the Republican and National party conventions.

The 1998 show Lewis Black did for Comedy Central features a set that looks like a living room. This is probably, and here we are comparing three very good Black shows, the best of the three.

There is not much directly political material here so the social commentary and observations this great stand-up comic makes are still fresh, interesting, and, of course, angry.

In 2000, the set was dressed up with TV sets with the American Flag on them. Because of the Bush / Gore, Ross Perot, and Clinton material, this is, by now a bit dated.

Still, you get his take on the new millennium and the New Year’s Eve Y2K scare and some solid comedic bits about education in Arkansas, a very funny story he reads from a newspaper article published in Arkansas, and his theory on the theory of evolution as it applies to American presidents.

The End serves as background for the 2002 show. There is material about the Superbowl and its halftime MTV produced show, the very funny comedy routine on candy corn, stuff about the holidays like Hanukah, Christmas, Thanksgiving, and so on, and the classic Starbucks routine. I found it annoying that the producers of this segment felt they had to sweeten this performance with added applause. T

he great stand-up comedian most certainly did not need that and they did it during a shot of the audience so you know the noise was added it. He also rips a new one for Jerry Falwell and his 9/11 comments and discusses the need for a sense of humor when it comes to politics and religion, his theory being that it is because Muslim radicals have no sense of humor that they are fanatics.

Bonus materials include Taxed Beyond Belief, a college course given by Professor Black on the 1040 form and the American tax code with a few man on the street bits and so on. It almost lives up to Black’s reputation but not quite. The Decision 2000 material is dated and somewhat banal.

Still, this Lewis Black DVD is not about the bonus material but about the three excellent performances aired on Comedy Central.


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