In Black We Trust
Lewis Black returns with more comedy mastery in new special, "In God We Rust."
By Michael Shashoua / Jester Editor-In-Chief
As effective as his angry outburst delivery of climaxes and punchlines is, it’s Lewis Black’s exaggerated “fireside chat” tone leading up to those that always has set the stage in his performances. On his latest special, “In God We Rust,” released by Comedy Central on CD, MP3 and DVD on September 11, Black often speaks in that sing-songy incredulous way, on pieces like “Wendover” and “iPhone.”
Black’s performance on “In God We Rust” is like a master class on controlling that back and forth, soft-to-loud dynamic in delivering comedic monologues. And the pieces here are a lot more like little monologues than most other stand-up comedy, befitting Black’s past as a playwright. As Black himself says in the beginning of the set, for those who are coming to see just any kind of comic, he is a “different kind of comic – in that a lot of what comes out of my mouth isn’t funny – and yet people laugh their dicks off at it!”
Beyond that, Black keeps throwing vivid images out there in these pieces, many of which at least touch on politics, if only to slam both U.S. political parties. Neither one is effective at stopping terrorism, Black says on “Same Arguments,” painting the picture of putting a terrorist watchlist out for distribution by strapping it to the backs of a barge full of donkeys, and that would be more effective at getting it to the airports than the government has been.
A good portion of “In God We Rust” is devoted to the follies of technology – namely smartphones and social networks. Being able to ask your phone for sushi restaurant recommendations is crazier behavior than people do when on acid, Black says, because LSD users never would go asking that question to rotary phones back in the ’60s.
This all culminates over the course of the 75-minute album in the last piece “Third Party,” that ties together Black’s vision of society’s devolution in multiple fields. Summing up, Black says, “Sarah Palin can run for President, but only if it’s from Farmville.” By this last piece, Black need not even burst out screaming or angry that often for this material to work and get big reactions from the live audience.
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© 2005-2017 Michael Shashoua