Lewis Black hates himself. He also doesn’t think what he says is very funny. Black starts off his show letting everyone know that if they have the sudden urge to leave because the show isn’t funny enough, they better stay in their seats. Not because he’s funnier than they think, but rather because he opened his set by essentially explaining to those who don’t think he’s funny, “I agree.” If he has to live with misery, so does everyone else.
In God We Rust is a dark album. Like most of Black’s material, it’s mostly him spiraling into depression/confusion-charged rants about everything in the world that bewilders his sensibilities. Long, rather quiet setups explaining the reality of each bit lead to a barrage of sudden and explosive lines that illustrate Black’s hatred for the world or himself or phones. Remember when your dad used to yell at you? If you don’t have a dad, just skip this part. But if you do have a dad, remember how he would be really quiet and stoic at the beginning of a lecture? Then, right as he’s explaining why you shouldn’t set the lawnmower on fire to impress the neighbor girl, he would start to scream at the top of his lungs, letting you become very aware of the level of insanity your behavior was driving him toward? That’s kind of what it’s like listening to In God We Rust.
Black has an atypical approach to the issue of technology. He prefaces jokes about iPhone apps and Farmville-Facebook nonsense with a content warning to the audience members who are either too old or too lucky to know what those things are. Black is envious of people who get away from the digital scourge of the 21st century, but he relies on it and utilizes it. His rage boils over when every phone he gets seems to have the ability to do everything except make a phone call. Black’s funniest bit about the subject comes from people asking their inanimate objects things like “Where’s the best sushi place around here?” He goes into a story about losing part of his sanity — and his name — to an experience with LSD, saying even when he was that far out of his mind he never would have turned to the rotary phone next to him and asked it for directions. This bit begs the question: Why are there no Siri commercials featuring Lewis Black shouting at an iPhone? Get on this, television/marketing/computer people.
If an old Jewish guy screaming about technology and politics sounds like something you would turn away from, In God We Rust isn’t exactly the best album for you. The structure is very similar to what you would expect from Black: A self-and-society-loathing, tired sounding man bursting into explosive rants about everything he hates. It’s interesting to consider that the exact same behavior outside of a theatre or comedy club would be more associated with an insane homeless person. However, Black’s diatribes are as thoughtful and bold as ever, thus confirming what I have always suspected: The only two types of people who truly understand the world are comedians and the homeless.
Final Rating: 8.5 dick-bombs out of the concept of a Groin-Phone. Actually, let’s make it however much a Groin-Phone would cost ($400?).
Buy Lewis Black’s “In God We Rust” via iTunes: