Starring Lewis Black. Directed by Justin Kreutzman. (2017, 100 min).
I need to start by stating I've been a huge Lewis Black fan ever since I first saw him on The Daily Show years ago. He's also the only comedian I have ever felt compelled to pay good money to see live, a show which may have been funniest hour I ever endured. And if you still haven't seen his 2004 HBO special, Black on Broadway, drop everything and go get the DVD right now. Like all the great comedians, what made him funny wasn't necessarily his words, but his expressions and delivery...expletive-filled tirades that pointed out the utter stupidity of the world around us. He was always especially funny - and timely - when ranting about the current state of the country.
So it saddens me to say that a few of Black's recent specials have paled in comparison. Oh, the rage is still there in abundance, but he's often more angry than funny. His latest, Black to the Future, is another unfortunate let-down, full of bits that seem to go on forever and payoffs that don't seem worth his capillary-bursting efforts. Even topics where he normally excels - skewering politicians - feel more forced than they used to be, and can't always be saved by incredulous tirades or a Ben Carson impersonation. And one excruciating, laugh-free segment about the glories of breasts is downright embarrassing. C'mon, Lewis, save that stuff for the Bob Sagets of the world.
|Lewis Black moonlights as a mime.|
While there are still some laughs to be had, they're sparser than they generally are when Black is at the top of his game. It's especially disappointing when you consider this was filmed during the 2016 election year, but relatively little of his act is dedicated to the presidential race. Too bad, because verbally destroying every candidate should have been like shooting fish in a barrel, providing enough prime material for two or three shows for a man like Lewis Black.
Other fans may disagree, but I personally found Black to the Future a crushing disappointment, as was the additional program, The Rant is Due: Live from Napa, provided as a bonus feature. This one features Black taking audience questions to use as a springboard for more trademark rants. But improvisation doesn't appear to be one of Black's strengths.
BONUS PROGRAM: THE RANT IS DUE: LIVE FROM NAPA