“Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil” is a satirical trial of two pop-culture icons, moderated by the cynical comedian Lewis Black.
Comedy Central’s new series “Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil” combines court TV with pop-culture-critique. The titular Lewis Black presides as judge, while two comedians argue such cases as “Oprah vs. The Catholic Church” and “Donald Trump vs. Viagra.”
But does the courtroom setting properly facilitate all the “funny” the viewing audience is looking for? Sort of. Is the show entertaining in the least? Yeah, kinda.
The problem with “Root of All Evil” is a critical one. No matter how creatively you package it, another show taking stabs at pop culture icons is still something that has been done a hundred times over-or at least that’s what it is starting to feel like.
The show’s format doesn’t do much to help fend off the sense of repetition. Like what you’d expect in normal court proceedings, “Root” has a formula that it follows with its episodes.
A varied duo of comedians (the only real variety the show offers) give their opening statement on why a given pop culture icon is the root of all evil, there is a cut to some kind of video package, Lewis Black cross examines, and then we’re pretty much done.
When you combine this sort of format, with the over saturation of the subject material that is pop culture-you find something that you might get tired of watching after just an episode or two. Who hasn’t made a joke at Donald Trump and Oprah’s expense? How much longer can we continue to make fun of these people? Sure, they deserve it-but that doesn’t make it any less predictable or boring.
If the inevitable contest of Britney Spears vs. Paris Hilton comes up, you can pretty much count on the show’s predictability to continue until its likely cancellation. What would really be interesting is if “Root” had the guts to put Comedy Central on the chopping block as an “evil” pop culture icon.
But let’s also give credit where credit is due. Lewis Black does a lot to carry the show. Most people know him as “that angry comic” who uses an aura of pissed-off optimism to make light of everything that’s messed-up in the world. And when it comes to pop culture, there is plenty for Black to yell and rant about.
Black is often funny, but basically handicapped in his role as “judge.” His time in the spotlight is limited by the musings of his comedian guests. And as far as his guests are concerned, you are dealing with a hit-or-miss scenario. Sometimes they are genuinely funny or clever-but a lot of their jokes are simply things you have heard before.
Yes, Trump is an arrogant conman of a businessman with bad hair-we know, we know. And yeah, The Catholic Church and boys under the age of eleven don’t mix-but can we do something, anything, to keep these jokes fresh?
There is one more thing that would help “Root” considerably. Nearly all the discourse that happens on the show, between the guest-comedians and Black, appears to be terribly scripted. It takes away from the argument of which pop culture icon is more evil than the other-what’s the point of a trial when the script already holds the final verdict? Some kind of spontaneous debate, or another touch of on-the-spot ingenuity, would give more edge to the show’s dull blade.
“Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil” may be worth checking out at best. Whether or not you’ll want to continue watching is directly proportionate with how sick you are of hearing about the pop culture icons that already swim through the media with sickening frequency.