Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stop Laughing, Laff-Bot!

Okay, Lewis Black's "Root of All Evil" has been on enough weeks for me to make an absolute judgement.

This show kinda sucks. But not for the reasons I expected.

The first problem is that Lewis Black is very funny when his stand-up routines are filmed. There is no doubt. I have seen him taped, I've seen him live, and he's a funny guy. But the minute the scent of a script whiffs off him, all humor evaporates.

(For instance: the funniest parts of "Accepted," a generally enjoyable film in which Black plays the counterfeit dean of a fake college, actually occurs during the bloopers, where Black tries like hell to get through a scene without cursing - which was apparently quite difficult.)

But that's actually okay, when you compare it to the worst part: the LaffTrack2000.

It's depressing. Because these are professional comedians, and they know their business quite well. We're talking about Greg Giraldo, Andy Kindler, and Patton Oswalt (who fares the best, but I am biased because he's my favorite comedian). They know how to get laughs out of people. But at some point during the filming of this show, the producers apparently decided the audience laughs needed "punching up."
Except they didn't seem to have much money, because it seems like it's the same guy laughing raucously at any joke Oswalt delivers.

I love Patton Oswalt. And that's why it really pisses me off to hear a robot laughing randomly at his jokes.

So...go watch one of Patton Oswalt's comedy specials, available on Netflix. Otherwise, simply avoid watching robo-laff-bot-2000 patronize the comedians on "Lewis Black's 'Root of All Evil'."

Meanwhile, I'm not exactly one to talk shit on "The Daily Show." Love it. Get most of my daily news from there. I won't lie. The writer's strike hurt a lot of us, in a lot of different ways.

But does it seem like lately, the show is at its least effective when they do their little pre-taped skits (which always feels like a "Here's why we employ writers!" kind of forced bit)?

But they're at their best when don't do anything more ambitious than compiling a montage of horrendous CNN footage that shows cable news networks to be, at best, retarded and irresponsible, and at worst, the real Root of All Evil that Lewis Black can't even get to because he's too busy trying Paris Hilton against Dick Cheney?


Jaime Anderson said...

I saw Paris Hilton vs Dick Cheney last night. Paris should have won, hands down, the guys argument was better. And funnier. And more truthful.
And that scared me a little.

Anney E. J. Ryan said...

I've never liked Lewis Black. He's an angry old man who screams a lot. Where's the joke? I keep waiting for the Daily Show to suck, and it never does... how do they do it? Amazing. In one of my classes, we discussed fact vs. opinion in the news. The Daily Show is really a phenomenon, because even though it's all opinion on facts, we still can get honest news from it. It brings a brand new kind of perspective on what's factual and what's not.

Becky said...

I <3 the Daily Show forever and ever. Seriously, every night it is funny, and every night it reminds me that I'm not the only one who is angry at the state of affairs in Washington DC. I take comfort in that, I really do.