Sort of like a lost "Whose Line is It Anyway?" sketch (and Lewis Black could be Drew Carey's angry brother), "Root of All Evil" sees Black standing as judge, looking over two comics discussing two different topics that irritate Black. The end result is a judgement over which of the two subjects is more evil. The series brings different comedians on each week, which isn't a bad thing, as the show really requires the guest comedians to have about 10-12 minutes each of material on their subject, and while some clearly have that and more, a few seem to strain to come up with enough to fill the running time.
The format also doesn't really add a great deal to the proceedings (and, despite Black's name featured prominently, the guest comics get the focus for much of the running time), and I have to wonder if a better idea would have been to give Black his own "McLaughlin Group"-style series to talk about current events. Oh, and please get rid of what clearly appears to be a laugh track.
Still, despite those faults, there are things to like about the series, including Paul F. Tompkins, whose rants against Weed (such as a funny interview with singer Aimee Mann) and Oprah ("You know who's on the cover of Oprah's magazine every month? Oprah.") are some of the funnier moments of the series. Tompkins also takes on the "lawyer" persona that the show apparently requires better than the other comedians, who simply look ridiculous and not funny ridiculous. Greg Giraldo looks as if he's picking up a paycheck, but the comedian still offers some funny bits, and manages to roast Patton Oswalt (who also gets a few chuckles) while discussing the evils of Paris Hilton.
"Root of All Evil" manages to get some funny one-liners from Black and some guest comedians that are funnier than others, but the series is often inconsistent in the first season, with some episodes ("You Tube Vs. Porn") that seem noticeably light on the laughs. Overall, the series gets let go with a warning: think about tweaking some elements of the show's format (more than one topic, surprise topics to force the guests to improv?), because the results here are just too inconsistent.
This DVD edition is uncensored, so all the naughty words aren't bleeped.
1. 1- 1 12 Mar 08 Catholic Church vs. Oprah
2. 1- 2 19 Mar 08 Donald Trump vs. Viagra
3. 1- 3 26 Mar 08 Beer vs. Weed
4. 1- 4 2 Apr 08 YouTube vs. Porn
5. 1- 5 9 Apr 08 Paris Hilton vs. Dick Cheney
6. 1- 6 16 Apr 08 High School vs. American Idol
7. 1- 7 23 Apr 08 Kim Jong-Il vs. Tila Tequila
8. 1- 8 30 Apr 08 Las Vegas vs. The Human Body
VIDEO: "Root of All Evil" is presented by Paramount in 1.33:1 full-frame. Image quality is just fine, looking similar to digital cable quality. Sharpness and detail were above average throughout most of the proceedings, with only a few scattered moments looking mildly softer. Although a few slight touches of artifacting were spotted, the picture otherwise seemed clean and clear, with bright, well-saturated colors.
SOUND: A crisp, clear stereo soundtrack.
EXTRAS: Post-ruling interviews with Lewis Black and the "lawyers" (guest comics), "Your Day in Court" (tips from Lewis Black) and "Meet the Lawyers" (behind-the-scenes).
Final Thoughts: Overall, "Root of All Evil" gets let go with a warning: think about tweaking some elements of the show's format (more than one topic, surprise topics to force the guests to improv?), because the results here are just too inconsistent. The DVD set offers very good video quality, fine audio and a few minor extras. Rent it.