Friday, August 8, 2008

Lewis Black's Root of All Evil

Lewis Black's Root Of All Evil
Available on Comedy Central and Lewis Black's Root of All Evil

Take Lewis Black. Make him a judge. Then take two comedians and make them lawyers. Have the two of them argue over which is more evil in something that isn't really a trial. Sounds like a hilarious show, right? RIGHT??

The format is thus: Lewis Black is the judge. One comic makes an argument for one thing being the Root of All Evil, and another comic makes an argument for another thing. Say like, Patton Oswalt argues that bloggers are the Root of All Evil, and Andy Daly makes an argument that Ultimate Fighting is the Root of All Evil. This goes on for a while, to where the comics put forth a hypothetical monologue as to what will happen if their evil thing is allowed to continue. Then they give their closing arguments and Lewis Black decides which is more evil.

Essentially, it's a bunch of different ideas shoved together in a formula, which makes it broken.

So you have stand-ups doing material on a set subject. Okay, they've got some talented comics so that should be fine, but then you have them present the material as lawyers. This is kind of like going up to a gourmet chef and saying "hey, I know you are a gourmet chef, but could you do your cooking as if you were a gay pirate?" In essence, it takes people who are good at something and has them try to force it into a bad idea.

Then there is the concept of comparing two things and deciding which is the more evil. This is interesting, but it's done in a way that isn't interesting. It would be interesting if this was an actual jury of ordinary people giving their actual opinions as to what is more evil. That would be full of suprise and insight. This is just again, comics doing stand-up material on a set subject crammed up the ass of a bad idea.

I kinda wish that this has been more of a "This Week" format. You know, where comics sat around and had a round table discussion about what subjects considered evil. That would have provided a more open format for comedy and not seemed so forced. Also, it would have made a trifecta of news show satire. You would have the Daily Show for fake news, the Colbert Report for fake Fox news, and Root of All Evil for fake NPR-like discussion.

Ah well, I'm not the programming director of Comedy Central. If I was, then Mind of Mencia would be about cutting open Carlos Mencia's skull to see what brain processes make him suck so bad and develop gene therapies to prevent that in future comedians.

I want to like this show as it is. I really do, because I like the people in it. I like Lewis Black, and I like Andy Daly, Patton Oswalt, Paul F. Tompkins....and the others, but this format really doesn't work at all. It's kind of sad, like watching Eddie Murphy's career since 1991, except so much more so.

Expect Root of All Evil to run for five more seasons on Comedy Central.

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