It goes without saying that Lewis Black is one of the most iconic figures in the history of stand-up comedy. Black’s sharp wit and delivery have made him stand out starkly from his counterpart and in turn made him a favorite among audiences the world over. This has led to a hugely successful career that continues to this day that has taken him all around the world. This past October, that was proven yet again when Comedy Central partnered with MVD Visual, the video branch of MVD Entertainment Group, for a new live recording from the veteran comedian in the form of Black To The Future. This single disc presentation is one that will appeal to Black’s most seasoned fans just as much as it will those who are less familiar with him and his body of work. That is proven in part through the recording’s main feature. It will be discussed shortly. The bonus set included with the recording strengthens the recording’s presentation even more and will be discussed later. Black’s delivery and overall stage presence rounds out the most important of the recording’s elements. Each element is important in its own way to the whole of Black to the Future. All things considered, the noted elements make Black to the Future a recording that proves the future is bright for Black regardless of how when he retires.
Lewis Black’s latest live recording Black to the Future is a work that the veteran comedian’s fans old and new alike will enjoy and appreciate. That is proven in part through the recording’s main set. While not an overly long set — it runs 50 minutes — it still leaves audiences feeling fulfilled at its end. That is due in part to the topics that Black covers in his set and also to the set’s pacing. It should be noted that this set was originally recorded ahead of the 2016 election first and foremost. He takes on both the Democrats and Republicans, skewering Ted Cruz, Hillary Clinton AND Donald Trump, so no one can accuse him of being biased. He also presents a scathing indictment of America’s mental health care system, coming right out and saying that the system has failed — and had failed — because of so many administrations going all the way back to the Kennedy administration. There is also a wonderfully hilarious commentary about pet owners who go too far with their pets including a story about a man who held a celebration for his dog called a “bark mitzvah.” As if all of that is not enough, he even goes on a scathing commentary about how the media covers politics and other matters.
From one topic to the next, Black’s transitions are smooth and seamless, ensuring even more audiences’ maintained engagement and entertainment. That is the sign of a seasoned veteran. That is evident as he transitions from the hot button issue of gun control to the topic of mental health. Even as he ties mental health lightly to people who are too dedicated to their pets, his transitions are solid. The same can be said of all of the set’s other transitions. From start to end, Black never leaves any dead air, but also never moves too fast from one topic to the next, keeping everyone fully engaged. That engagement through transitions and relatable topics forms a solid foundation for this recording. They are, collectively, only part of what makes this recording so enjoyable. The recording’s bonus set is just as important to its whole as its main feature.
The bonus set included in Black to the Future strengthens its presentation even more because it is presented in a fashion unlike the program’s main set. Instead of Lewis presenting the topics, audience members generate the set list. The questions that they raise run the gamut from the impact and reach of social media to the current state of the country’s public school system, to legalization of marijuana and well beyond. Black’s reaction to the audience members’ questions in themselves give plenty for people to enjoy. His commentary on the topics in questions presents just as much entertainment. Audiences will laugh uproariously as Black discusses why he has not and would not run for office, saying his policy simply wouldn’t work. He also addresses plays that he has crafted throughout his career, a point about which many fans might not have known. The punchline, which involves a corked bottle (it won’t be given away here) makes the whole thing complete. Between these topics and so many others, engagement and entertainment is just as ensured here as in the program’s main set. The pacing is just as solid even as audiences wait for each person to come up to the mic. That could be due in part to Black’s interaction with co-host and fellow comedian Kathleen Madigan, who has made quite a name for herself throughout her career. Considering the once again solid transitions and the equally entertaining discussions on the presented topics, Black to the Future’s bonus set does just as much to solidify the program’s presentation as its main feature. Both sets together show thoroughly why this program is in fact so entertaining for any of Black’s audiences. Even with this in mind, there is still some left to discuss about the set’s presentation — Black’s stage presence.
Lewis Black’s reputation of screaming and ranting on stage is a big part of what has made him such a popular figure among his audiences and counterparts. The topics that he tackles of course are hot button, but the way in which he tackles them is what for so many years has drawn so many to him. For others though, that Sam Kinison-esque persona has driven people away from him. What’s interesting to note in these sets is that while he does do some ranting, it is not the full-on blast that he has done in years past. By and large, his stage presence in both of these sets is one of controlled chaos. His commentaries are as acerbic as ever, but the relatively controlled nature of his delivery makes the commentary all the harder-hitting. That is a big part of what makes watching these sets so enjoyable. It shows that he can be as impacting in a calm persona as in his more biting moments. Keeping that in mind, it becomes clear why Black’s stage presence is just as important in both of these sets as the sets themselves. When all these elements are set alongside each other, they show in full why this recording is a surprisingly enjoyable experience even watching it on DVD. Keeping that in mind, the recording in whole proves, again, to be one that fans new and old alone will appreciate and enjoy.
Lewis Black’s latest live recording Black to the Future, presented by Comedy Central and MVD Visual, is a presentation that Black’s more seasoned fans will appreciate and enjoy just as much as those who are less familiar with him and his body of work. As has been noted above, that is proven in part through each of the program’s sets — its main feature and bonus set. The topics and transitions presented in each make them engaging and entertaining from start to finish. Black’s stage presence — at times ranting and at times more reserved — ensures audiences’ engagement and entertainment just as much as the sets. Each element proves in its own right why this program is so surprisingly enjoyable. All things considered, they make the program in whole one that will appeal to Black’s more seasoned fans and his newer audiences alike. It is available now in stores and online. More information on Black to the Future is available online now along with all of Lewis Black’s latest news and more at:
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