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Lewis Black's Root of All Evil

Lewis Black's Root of All Evil is an American television series that premiered on Comedy Central on March 12, 2008, starring comedian Lewis Black. The show is produced by Real Time With Bill Maher producer Scott Carter and The Simpsons writer David Sacks.

The show is in mock trial format, featuring Black presiding over two people or issues going against each other like defendants and plaintiffs in a trial, with a series of comedians and guests, such as Kathleen Madigan, Greg Giraldo, Andy Daly, Paul F. Tompkins, and Patton Oswalt, playing lawyers making their case why something (e.g. YouTube, beer, Oprah, PETA etc.) is the "root of all evil."

Field pieces are all directed by Supervising Producer, Michael Addis.


Each show begins with Lewis Black welcoming the viewer to his courtroom and declares who the two candidates for 'root of all evil' will be with a trademark "Which is the root of all evillllllllllll?" After the introduction finishes Black gives a brief history of each of the candidates and introduces the two advocates. He then chooses one of them to start his/her opening statement which is then followed by the other advocate's opening statement. After this Black asks the advocates to present their case for their respective evil. Like the opening statements these mostly consist of oral arguments occasionally featuring previously filmed video 'evidence'. After both advocates finish Black begins his inquisition where he takes turns asking the advocates questions regarding their evil. Most of the time these questions relate to the good or usefulness of the 'evil' or questions that attempt to point out that the other candidate is more evil. After this Black asks the advocates to predict what would happen if their evil continued to grow and be successful in their "Ripple of Evil". The Ripple of Evils usually use absurd and comedic logic and are generally very silly, although they are spoken in a serious tone. After this Black asks the advocates for closing arguments, then asks for the audience's opinion (which he almost never agrees with) and then ends the show with his final verdict along with the loser's sentence.


The advocates are the people who put forward their cases regarding whether or not a certain person, location, or thing is the "root of all evil." The advocates and their win-loss records are:
Advocate Wins Losses Poll Wins Poll Losses
Andrew Daly 4 2 2 4
Andy Kindler 3 1 1 3
Patton Oswalt* 3 2 3 3
Kathleen Madigan 2 1 1 2
Greg Giraldo 2 7 6 3
Paul F. Tompkins* 1 4 3 3
Jerry Minor 1 0 1 0
Andrea Savage 1 0 1 0
Neither Oswalt or Tompkins were declared winners in the case of Red States v. Blue States-instead, Black declared that the root of all evil was Puerto Rico.  Therefore, the results were not counted in the official win column.  However, the audience poll result declared Red States the root of all evil, and results were counted in the audience poll columns.


Season 1

Episode Advocate 1 Advocate 2 Root of All Evil Viewer Poll Winner Air Date
1 Paul F. Tompkins - Oprah Greg Giraldo - Catholic Church Oprah Catholic Church March 122008
2 Andy Kindler - Donald Trump Greg Giraldo - Viagra Donald Trump Viagra March 192008
3 Paul F. Tompkins - Weed Andrew Daly - Beer Beer Weed March 262008
4 Patton Oswalt - YouTube Greg Giraldo - Porn YouTube YouTube April 22008
5 Greg Giraldo - Paris Hilton Patton Oswalt - Dick Cheney Dick Cheney Paris Hilton April 92008
6 Patton Oswalt - High School Andy Kindler - American Idol American Idol High School April 162008
7 Kathleen Madigan - Kim Jong-il Greg Giraldo - Tila Tequila Kim Jong-il Tila Tequila April 232008
8 Andrew Daly - Las Vegas Patton Oswalt - The Human Body Las Vegas Las Vegas April 302008

Season 2

Episode Advocate 1 Advocate 2 Root of All Evil Viewer Poll Winner Air Date
9 Andrew Daly - Ultimate Fighting Patton Oswalt - Bloggers Bloggers Bloggers July 302008
10 Greg Giraldo - Steroids Andrew Daly - Boob Jobs Boob Jobs Steroids August 62008
11 Andrew Daly - Olympic Games Greg Giraldo - Drinking Games Drinking Games Drinking Games August 13 2008
12 Andy Kindler - NRA Paul F. Tompkins - PETA NRA PETA August 20 2008
13 Paul F. Tompkins - Red States Patton Oswalt - Blue States Puerto Rico Red States August 27 2008
14 Kathleen Madigan - Disney Andy Kindler - Scientology Disney Scientology September 3 2008
15 Greg Giraldo - Going Green Andrea Savage - Spring Break Spring Break Spring Break September 10 2008
16 Paul F. Tompkins - Gen X Andrew Daly - Boomers Boomers Boomers September 17 2008
17 Greg Giraldo - Strip Clubs Kathleen Madigan - Sororities Strip Clubs Sororities September 24 2008
18 Jerry Minor - The Hills Paul F. Tompkins - Rocket Scientists The Hills The Hills October 1 2008

According to an interview with Lewis Black on The Opie & Anthony Show on 06/03/2008, the legal department of Comedy Central rejected an episode that would have put Scientology against Disney, however, it is clear that that decision was changed. Scientology is notorious for litigation against any form of media criticism. An episode on Marriage vs. Death was also rejected.


Before the first episode was broadcast, Brian Lowry in Variety attacked the show, saying that the comedians on it were "Second-tier", the set "resembles a cut-rate version of The Weakest Link set," and that "Comedy Central's programming usually falls squarely into the sublime or the ridiculous, so consider Root of All Evil a rare tweener in terms of quality -- one that proves a whole lot of Black is preferable, albeit marginally, to a black hole. Attracting about 2.3 million viewers, the debut episode of the show was the most-watched premiere episode of a Comedy Central series since the premiere episode of Chappelle's Show in 2003 and topped the demographics for male audiences aged 18 to 34.

Mark Dawidziak of The Plain Dealer wrote in his review of the show that, "I'm a sucker for a good Lewis rant, and sometimes Root of All Evil would benefit from more Lewis fomenting and less formula. For as long as it's around, though, it does make a good fit with a Comedy Central lineup that includes Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, Sarah Silverman and, of course, South Park.


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