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Comedy Central Home Video presents
Lewis Black Unleashed (2003)

"I watched the Super Bowl again this year... because I am an idiot."
- Lewis Black

Review By: Jesse Shanks   
Published: November 19, 2003

Stars: Lewis Black
Director: various

MPAA Rating: Not Rated for (adult language)
Run Time: 01h:37m:51s
Release Date: September 23, 2003
UPC: 824363001999
Genre: comedy

Image Transfer
Audio Transfer
B+ B+C+B B+

DVD Review

Lewis Black is a funny dude. Anyone who has caught his act on Comedy Central, either as a standup or a commentator on The Daily Show with John Stewart, knows that he is the type of comedian who makes it impossible to anticipate what might come out of his mouth next. This disc collects three of his Comedy Central standup performances, from 1998, 2000, 2002; his Comedy Central special Taxed Beyond Belief; and many snippets of his appearances for The Daily Show in which he covers the national political conventions of 2000.

"I've seen the end of the universe. It happens to be in the United States. And oddly enough, it's in Houston, Texas. I know, I was shocked too."

Not as "dirty" as some comics, Black is an intellectual comic who tries to make you laugh while you're thinking about what he is saying. He uses a rant style on occasion and sometimes, when he is off on one of his tangents, one can find oneself literally rolling with laughter. Although Black's comedy is observational, he avoids the typical "what's up with Ovaltine" type of humor.

"MTV is to music as KFC is to chicken."

Fans of Lewis Black will find this an essential disc and fans of standup comedy will find Black a refreshing alternative from the typical popular comedian. You have to like a guy who will slay every sacred cow without having to resort to a litany of F-words and scatalogical references to gain laughs when the comedy content lags. Plus, Black is a relief from typical relationship or self-reflective comedians who only have themselves and their sigificant other from which to abstract humorous content.

"In Christmas, you Christians have created a beast that cannot be fed."

Poltical comedians have a tough row to hoe in an entertainment culture that emphasizes the safe and conventional over the raw and risky. Perhaps this is why Black is somewhat more marginalized than his contemporaries. He has no TV series deal in the offering, no concert film being edited, and certainly no prime time network appearances lined up. Yet, each week you can see him on one of the best political comedy shows ever created, the Emmy-winning Daily Show.

"It's like a Mobius strip in your head... it just goes over and over."

The non-standup piece included, Taxed Beyond Belief, is an interesting bit of comedy. Black portrays an instructor in a class on taxation and his rant style translates very nicely into a lecture from a slightly deranged professor, belittling the laws, philosophies, and concepts of taxation. Done in the style of the faux news coverage on The Daily Show, the bits in this entry are hilarious in their "it's so true" head-slapping reality.

All in all, a very funny collection.

"Not only do I not have all the answers, but I found out I have none of them."

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+


Image Transfer

Aspect Ratio1.33:1 - Full Frame
Original Aspect Rationo

Image Transfer Review: Very typical television transfer that probably didn't look that good on the cable channel to begin with. Blooming, graininess, and blur are all present as the video tape probably wasn't treated with the respect it deserved. But this is all pretty much beside the point. Close your eyes if you have to, it's Lewis Black.

Image Transfer Grade: C+


Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0Englishyes

Audio Transfer Review: Sufficient quality on the audio transfer allows you to hear everything pretty well without much distortion. Sometimes on Comedy Central, poor mixes can make it difficult to hear the comedian over the audience. Nice expansion of the sound for the home theater makes for a decent listening experience.

Audio Transfer Grade: B


Disc Extras

Static menu with music
Packaging: Amaray
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extra Extras:
  1. Comedy Central Quickies
Extras Review: Included on this disc as a Lewis Black extra is Lewis Black's World of Politics, which features a compilaton of his appearances during the national conventions of the two major political parties. Also included are Comedy Central extras consisting of two short clips from other material on the cable channel.

Indecision 2000: Republican National Convention

"We know that George W. Bush is the nominee. We know who he has picked as the vice president, Dick Cheney. And let me tell you, there's a reason some people are named 'Dick.' Now he's a compassionate conservative, George Bush. Which means what? He's going to screw people a little less?"

Very funny bits about the "Republican Woodstock" as Black skewers the hypocrisy that unfolded in 2000 under the guise of a national political convention by the Republican Party. From the candidates to the staged events to the policies of the "conservatives"—all are targeted by Black with equal venom.

Indecision 2000: Democratic National Convention

"Sure, I should be thrilled being Jewish that they have nominated a Jewish man to be vice president of the United States. But for me it's more work. Now I have to dredge up my old Jewish material."

The Democrats get their comeuppance from Black as he covers festivities that make his brain hurt. Barbara Streisand, Bill and Hilary and, of course, candidate Al Gore all come under his scutiny. Both these collections are nice mementos of the details of that election.

Comedy Central Quickies

Stephen Lynch: The Divorce Song: An amusing little song.

Tough Crowd: The Ugly Truth: A snippet of conversation from this show hosted by Colin Quinn, which is definitely not for every taste.

Extras Grade: B+


Final Comments

A nice dose of good humor from ranter Lewis Black. This is a good choice for comedy fans looking for something a little different.


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