It's all about bouncing back

Friday, August 8, 2008

Lewis Black -- "Anticipation" -- Review

This may be my favorite Lewis Black CD yet.

I've always admired Black's energetic and angry style. He molds and directs his frustration with daily life in a direct and precise manner that stays well away from personal bitterness and focuses instead on classic "why does the world have to be this way?" bafflement. This isn't Bill Hicks anger -- it's the simple rage of the every man -- but packaged with clear writing and strong timing.

But I will admit that, much as I love his style, I was hoping that he was going to try some variations this time around. (Hey -- I love the finger pointing thing as much as anyone -- I lost my head laughing at it live -- but I always suspected he could do more). And I was not disappointed. "Anticipation" definitely allows Black to recognize that life isn't all frustration and disappointment. There are some really great moments. Unfortunately, most of those flashes of joy and hope occur just before the big events in our life -- not during. (Hence the title).

Black explores how exciting life can feel when you are looking forward to the possibility of happiness -- without dwelling too much on the disappointment that all too frequently ensues. And that leads to some very funny material (which I won't ruin for you by quoting it here. Go buy the thing -- I'm sure Black would like to retire someday).

Above all, I really enjoyed "Anticipation" because it shows Black trying to reach out beyond just seeking laughs from his projected anger. He even ends the show by explicitly saying that he wants his audience to leave laughing and happy -- not laughing but sad about the state of our world. And to facilitate that he ends the show with sincere silliness -- which suits him surprisingly well. Who knew that there was a happy, goofy Lewis Black? It's truly wonderful to see.

No comments: