Lewis Black is my favorite comedian these days, and as such, he has drawn me into the accretion disk of his latest offering on the Comedy Channel: Root of All Evil. My response to its premier was tepid, but as I have kept watching it, the show has grown on me. The format has Black as hilariously dyspeptic judge presiding over a faux trial in which a pair of comedians from Comedy Central’s stable argue for the inherent evil of a pair of the unholy. For example, who is more evil: Paris Hilton or Dick Cheney?
Last night’s episode asked which is more evil: High School or “American Idol?” Comedian Andy Kindler argued that “American Idol” is far more insidious than high school. Kindler demonstrated the absurdity of reality TV by his proposition that professions might be evaluated by stupid reality TV shows. For example, he said, instead of letting scientists test their theories, why not subject their research and hypotheses to a show called “Last Scientist Standing?” A clip of this fine new reality TV show can be viewed by clicking on the Root of All Evil link and then scrolling under the main video window for the show to American Idol vs. High School – Kindler. You’ll be subjected to a commercial (this is running dog capitalist Amerika so we must live with these advert-viruses) but about half-way through Kindler’s shtick, “Last Scientist Standing” appears. Among the contestants are Sean Carroll of Cosmic Variance and Science Blogs’ very own Chris Mooney — dressed like a stand-up comic from the 80’s according to Kindler.
My sixteen year old daughter watched the show with me and was amused by my excitement when Carroll and Mooney appeared as contestants. To put my hoots in context, I explained to her that Chris is “the guy who wrote The Republican War on Science and Storm World!” (she’s read the RWonS) and that Carroll — a popular physicist — is married to one of Mom’s very favorite bloggers: Jennifer Ouellette.
Props to Chris and Sean for their appearances in the show! As for “Last Scientist Standing,” hey, I’d watch it!