Lewis Black's Root of All Evil

Funny, but verges on meanness; for mature viewers.

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The show follows a courtroom format, so the participants are in an adversarial setting as they try to make the case that a certain person, group, or concept has a negative effect on society. The present the subjects in the most unflattering way possible and at times skirt the line between funny and mean-spirited.


Some references to fights.


No sex or nudity, but plenty of references to sex. In an episode in which the Catholic church was one of the "defendants," for example, many references were made to sex with young boys (the phrase "boy f--king" is used several times), as well as oral sex. An historic image of a torture device also depicted a bound, naked figure.


The participants are trying to paint people, organizations, or pop culture topics in the worst light possible and often swear, using words like "ass," "whore," "bitch," "f--k," "d--k" and other colorful phrases (the strongest terms are bleeped).


Many organizations, companies, people, and products are referred to by name, ranging from Oprah Winfrey and Donald Trump to the Catholic church, Viagra, and YouTube.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

No drugs or drinking shown, but there are frequent references to being drunk or high.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this show is all about mockery, casting famous people, organizations, or other well-known topics in the worst possible light and then deciding which is the "worst" offender against common decency. It's funny, but it sometimes seems mean-spirited. And while some of the subjects aren't too surprising (Donald Trump, Paris Hilton), it's hard to see why others (Oprah?!) have been deemed worthy of this treatment. Plus, the content is definitely on the mature side, with frequent references to sex, drinking, and drug use, as well as strong language (only the strongest words are bleeped).

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What's the story?

Lewis Black has to make some very difficult choices on his new show, LEWIS BLACK'S ROOT OF ALL EVIL. In each episode, he must determine which of two ostensibly highly offensive people, organizations, or topics is truly the worst. Is Dick Cheney more unpleasant than Paris Hilton? Is beer a greater menace than marijuana? To help, Black (best known for his rants on The Daily Show) has assembled a roster of comedians to serve as advocates. After each presents their case for why their subject is truly awful in a series of scathing -- but very funny -- takedowns, Black renders his verdict on which presents the greater danger to civilization.

Is it any good?


Though funny, Root of All Evil skates on a thin line between humor and attack. Spending an entire episode describing all of a certain celebrity's flaws and problems or detailing all of a certain group's woes can seem like overkill -- and in the Lewis Black court, nobody ever steps forward to defend the accused.

Instead, Black and his advocates simply pull out one mean-spirited joke after another. Though many of the subjects seem to invite derision, the show sometimes reaches a point where viewers may actually start to sympathize with them, which most certainly is not Black's goal.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about fame and popularity. Why do so many celebrities evoke such a strong -- and often hostile -- response from the public? Lewis Black plays to that sentiment, defining the show's subjects o as evil, selfish, vain, stupid, or worse. Do you think anyone deserves this kind of ridicule? Do you agree with Black's assessments? There's an entire industry devoted to unearthing and selling gossip about stars. Do you think that the wealthy, famous, and powerful give up their right to privacy? Is it acceptable to mock them?

TV details

Cast:Greg Giraldo, Patton Oswalt, Lewis Black
Network:Comedy Central
TV rating:TV-14

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  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written byPlague October 20, 2010
age 13+
Hilarious, polotical, and angry as hell. Lewis Black is awesome.
Adult Written byjoshrob1995 April 9, 2008


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