Comedy Central is showing a reality series, recycled from NBC, called Last Comic Standing. The premise is that the producers dug up a group of standup comics, tossed them into a house somewhere in the LA area, and then each week one gets eliminated. Where, oh where, do they come up with such unique ideas?

The tag line for the show claims that the winner will be the "funniest person in America". Sorry. It doesn’t matter who wins this mess, they won’t be the funniest person in America (probably not even in the top 100). Right now that person is Lewis Black. Black is an angry critic of all things absurd in the same way that Dennis Miller used to be before he became far too self aware. And in the same way that George Carlin can be when he doesn’t go off and get too angry. But Lewis’ observations are far sharper and intellegent than either of them, not to mention very funny.

If you’ve never seen Lewis, check out his weekly piece Wednesdays on The Daily Show. It’s not the best setting for his style – too short, no room to wander – but it’s a start. If you like that, get his CD "The End of the Universe" or see him at a comedy club. Be warned, however, that he makes liberal use of several of Carlin’s seven deadly words, although always to great effect.