Lewis Black: Stark Raving Black Adam Dubin

Lewis Black: Stark Raving Black Adam Dubin
I nearly groaned during Lewis Black: Stark Raving Black when the comedian invoked the name of a certain TV psychologist. Oh no, please not another takedown of Dr. Phil. Surely the world's legion of bad open mic comics have said everything there is to say about this easy, easy target. Against all odds, Lewis Black's joke made me laugh: "I say to you, if you... at any time... find yourselves watching Dr. Phil... I want you to get up... off the chair or the couch... put your head down... and run at the TV as hard as you can." If only the written word could convey the many nuances of Black's delivery: the voice, facial expressions and hand gestures that suggest a man fighting a desperate losing battle to remain calm and reasonable in the face of an overwhelmingly irrational world. The tightly wound, slow-burn rage is surely part of a carefully constructed persona, but Black is so committed and consistent, breaking out into sharp rage only briefly and at appropriate moments, that he's completely convincing. Black's first post-Bush special, recorded live in Detroit ("If anybody is as angry as I am, it's the good people of Detroit!"), has plenty of material that's familiar ("If you find yourself in a voting booth, and you're looking at two names, and you're thinking to yourself, 'Boy, would he be fun to drink with...,' you vote for the other person"), but the intensity of Black's delivery gives it a new sense of urgency. His stand-up makes a convincing case that the storyteller is infinitely more important than the story. The DVD includes a worthwhile feature-length documentary about Black's life and career, including clips of his early stand-up, interviews with Black's parents and colleagues, and extensive input from Black himself, who comes across as almost as disgruntled, high-strung and foulmouthed as his stage persona. (Paramount)