You all know Lewis Black. His endlessly malevolent tirades from his work as a Daily Show correspondent are iconoclastic. His disdain for Twitter and obnoxious social media geeks is perhaps the only thing he hates more than two Starbucks coffee shops on the same corner. His bulging forehead veins and his scowl have made him an unforgettable face, and his fiery choked yelling has made him an unforgettable voice within the comedy scene. But what about twenty years ago? If anything you could say that his age is appropriate for his persona today but what about a middle aged Lewis Black? Without social media and a second President Bush what would Black stick his venom into? Well Comedy Central has answered that by releasing a 1990 recording of the comedian called Lewis Black: The Prophet.
A great deal of your enjoyment will be dependent on your value of somewhat dated material. Some of it is still very contemporary. Black talks about his love of the cold medicine Nyquil, global warming/ozone problems and the length of the Christmas holidays.
On Nyquil he says, “It comes in two colors: red and green. It’s the only thing in this country that tastes like red and green…I knocked the whole thing back. I woke up three days later in Rockville, Maryland.” Jokes like this translate well. His joke on Christmas could be told just as easily today. “It starts on Labor Day now. Thanksgiving is a comma.”
The problem starts when you get to the material that includes President Reagan, Gorbachev, Bush Sr. and the Exxon Valdez environmental disaster. I’m guessing that most people roughly my age will likely tune out. It’s probably fair to say that although Black greatly ridicules the younger generation he has a loyal following from it due in good part to the popularity of his work as a Daily Show correspondent.
But hey, people like my father love Black and will probably enjoy a number of jokes from this era that went unheard. When talking about the expensively priced, brand new stealth bomber he asks, “You know why we’re building it? Because it doesn’t show up on the radar screen. If that’s the case why build it at all? Why not just tell the Russians it’s there?”
Black successfully roasts the poor pool of 1988 Democratic Presidential candidates. “Dukakis makes President Carter look like a speed freak,” and “As long as I live and breathe the first lady will never be named Tipper.” Oh how right the Prophet turned out to be.
Black’s trademark style of brash comedy and angry ranting is still present even in his forty-year-old self. He was just as livid then as he is now and that is something that any Lewis Black fan can appreciate. So if you have an affinity for the man and a relatively good understanding of the late ‘80s, then you should enjoy this album available in stores and online retailers everywhere.
About the Author: Nate Rankin writes Comedy Reviews and Fiction because no one taught him any better. His fiction has been featured by Workers Writes, theNewerYork! and Used Gravitrons and is forthcoming in The Green Blotter. His work can be seen here: http://iamseamus.tumblr.com/writing You can find him on the Tweety Box @CommanderSeamus If you'd like to submit a review inquiry please send to nrankin22[at]gmail[dot]com