Review: Lewis Black - The Carnegie Hall Performance

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I got a copy of the new Lewis Black album for review. So let's review it, shall we...

Lewis Black - The Carnegie Hall Performance

If you're familiar with Lewis Black, it's likely from his weekly appearance on the Daily Show. A clip of AC/DC and then it begins -- Black begins to seethe, until he can't take it any longer and he crescendos into a bark, a growl. He snaps. (Though I was a little disappointed to learn that he's just performing those those words, that anger. Why I, a performer, am constantly surprised to learn that performances are just that, is beyond me.)

This new double CD is that same energy, on the big stage at Carnegie Hall. A few jokes about getting old, the oddness of candy corn, and then a lot of politics. New Orleans, Gay Marriage, Terry Schiavo, and a long story about his performing at the Congressional Correspondents Dinner. Black is so mad about so much of it, that he doesn't even make jokes out of some of it:

How come when Christians interpret the Bible and shit like [Katrina] happens, it is not seen as some sort of retribution? That's what God did in the Old Testament. You fucked up, he kicked your ass. But they never see it as that, it's always huh, oh. There's a joke there, but I don't know what it is.

Though I was relived the second time he said there was no joke and he then proceeded to make one.

And then he said the President's handlers wanted to know what I was going to say in order to be sure that the President could handle it. [long pause] That's the joke. It's the punchline, really, but I've not been able to think of a set up. It's one of the greatest punchlines I've ever said and nobody ever laughs, they just stare, into space. That is the joke. I'd like to come up with a context for that joke to make sense, be a joke, and a ha-ha-ha joke. Because I know it's a joke, and I can't. Because everytime I say the sentence it's like when you have ice cream in the summer and you take a big bite and your head freezes. And a tear comes out of your eye. And there are no thoughts inside it. The President has handlers. The President of the greatest country on earth has handlers. The man who said to the terrorists, "Bring it the fuck on," needs handlers. Is there something I don't know? Is he like a bear? Bears need handlers. Maybe that's it. He's like a big bear and they need a chunk of meat and they take it, "C'mon, follow us, got a meeting." And then two guys with prods go, "No, over there, there's the door. There's the door big fella."

Sometimes he's so flabbergasted that he can only repeat himself, trying to drive his point home in our brain.

Whether you agree with Fox or not, it's like all the other channels. They're meaningless. Why? 'Cause there's that thing. They have writing on the bottom. They have writing on the bottom. They have writing on the bottom of the screen. They have writing on the bottom of the screen.

Shaun really likes Lewis Black and I asked him why. "Because he's so angry." Then you'll like this album, Shaun.

P.S. About the Double CDness of the album-- it's a total of 86 minutes spread over those two CDs. Couldn't a bit have been trimmed here and there and then an uncut DVD included? Because the DVD would have... the hands. Lewis Black's hands nearly have a life of their own, with the pointing and the jabbing. A few times during the album I felt like there was a laugh out of nowhere, and then I'd think, "I bet his hands just did something really funny."

Lewis Black
The Carnegie Hall Performance
Comedy Central Records