If you're not a fan of self-deprecation or an old guy yelling obscenities on stage, then maybe you should steer clear of Lewis Black. However, if you enjoy stand-up comedy which skewers current events with as many obscenities as possible, then Black is the comedian for you.
Personally I find Lewis Black hilarious. His acutely directed rage, which he focuses on a myriad of subjects, makes for some of the greatest rants I've ever heard. I will admit, after seeing this stand-up special, that Black's talents are better suited for his three to four minute stints on 'The Daily Show' where he gets to read a tightly scripted lambasting of whatever he's decided to lambast. 'In God We Rust,' Black's recently filmed, Comedy Central produced, stand-up special features the well-known comic regaling an audience in Minneapolis with tales about everything he hates. Sometimes he rambles and wanes, other times he hits the proverbial nail on the head.
Black takes on everything from 9/11 to Valentine's Day in this special. He makes sure to include as many current events as he possibly can. He rips apart Democrats and Republicans in the same breath. He shouts about how Farmville and Facebook are two things that drive him up the wall. He complains about Apple and Android phones in the same bit. Some of it works better than others. When Black isn't reading straight from a script, like on 'The Daily Show' he's prone to rambling which lessens the impact of his punch line. Also, his trademark grumbling and yelling is few and far between here. I love seeing Black get himself worked up, becoming beet-red while he discusses how much he hates the 'Jersey Shore,' but this special doesn't feature nearly as much of that as I'd like.
At the beginning he does provide a warning to all those who think that they're just going to see another comedian. His comedy is a lot different from your average comedian. Black doesn't chop up his act into tiny bite-sized morsels. He's more like Colin Quinn where he rants and raves, often telling stories rather than delivering as many punch lines as possible. If you don't like that kind of comedy then chances are you'll hate Lewis Black.
'In God We Rust' is a decent enough stand-up special. There isn't much more to say. I laughed often and found myself wishing I could see Black live sometime. I do think his talents are better suited for the 'Daily Show' environment though.
The Blu-ray: Vital Disc Stats
This is a Paramount/Comedy Central release. The 25GB Blu-ray Disc comes in a standard eco-friendly Blu-ray keepcase. The back of the case has the chapter list citing the topics that Black yells about during his routine. The release also comes with a slipcover that has the same artwork as the case.
The topics included in this special are:
3. Valentine's Day
4. War on Terror
5. Jersey Shore
9. Body Scanner
13. Same Arguments
16. Third Party (Tea Party)
Stand-up specials, like concert footage, are inherently limited. Many times these types of Blu-ray exhibit blocking, aliasing, and other distracting artifacts just because filming something on-stage at a live event is much different from filming on a movie set. The 1080p presentation here is one of the nicer on-stage Blu-rays I've watched, but it does have its problems.
Close-ups feature the most detail. Black stands on stage in front of a giant red cube. His outline is nicely defined against the crimson backdrop. The wide-shots of the audience, however, don't feature a lot of detail. Much of this is due to the filming equipment plus the low-light situation in the theater. Even so people in the audience appear softer and don't have the definition or detail that Black has. Noise is minimal though. The only real artifact I saw, which is visible throughout the special, was light banding on the red cube. The close-ups didn't feature any banding, it was the mid-range shots where the banding was noticeable. You can see it throughout the performance, every time the mid-range camera is used to take in the whole stage.
The audio is fairly standard here. A lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track is provided but it's hardly needed. Black delivers his lines front and center. The rear speakers are lightly crowded with audience applause and a few hoots and hollers at the beginning. There is an echoing effect of Black's voice which does make you feel like you're in a real theater. Black's voice seems natural throughout. It isn't all that engrossing of a sound mix simply because of its source. It gets the job done, but nothing more.
You really need to be a fan of Lewis Black to even think of purchasing this special. If you're a fan, then this will be a laugh-riot, however Black's comedy isn't for everyone. Black is funny here though and the special breezes by rather quickly. The video is nice barring the obvious banding in some scenes. The special features offer some enlightening deleted material, like hecklers. Overall, this is for fans of Black's comedy. They'll find a whole lot of enjoyment out of it.