Lewis Black’s Root of All Evil

Lewis Black is a very funny guy, Patton Oswalt has been known to elicit a chortle or two, and Greg Giraldo…well, it really depends on who’s being roasted. Why then is “Root of All Evil” such an embarrassingly unfunny program? The concept of the series revolves around taking two subjects that may be considered social cancers and pitting them against one another in a mock courtroom setting. Black is judge, jury and prosecutor, while a revolving guest cast of two comedians per episode mount the cases for defense. (It goes without saying that anything even remotely resembling a legal reality is left at the door.) Of the eight episodes showcased here, titles include such mind-numbingly stupid topics as “Weed vs. Beer,” “Oprah vs. Catholic Church” and “Paris Hilton vs. Dick Cheney.” The half hour episodes are sleep-inducing affairs and you’ll be doing well if you mildly chuckle even once an installment. The defense attorneys occasionally present material from outside of the courtroom – these pre-taped bits that appear to at least have had some thought put into them are episode highlights (if one was searching for such bright spots), but the painful courtroom antics that dominate the screen amount to little more than bad improvisation. If this series were to return for a second season, it either needs to seriously rethink its game, or put the show itself on trial in an episode titled “Root of All Evil vs. The Moment of Truth.” Now that might be funny.

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