Audio Mixer: Greg Calbi.
Photographer: Dana Nordlund.
A highly desirable gift for fans of Lewis Black, The Prophet features an archival 1990 recording of the well-known, fiery comedian back when he was just as fiery but not as well-known. His disgust with hypocrisy and stupidity is obvious from the start, and the political landscape is already a favorite topic, with plenty of George H.W. Bush and Michael Dukakis jokes to be had. Still, dated jokes take up a surprisingly small -- especially for the future Daily Show regular Black -- bit of the set with standard standup topics like illness, the stop-smoking mania, and drugs filling the rest. It's all very funny and wicked, but the real attraction is hearing Black being masterful on his way up, commanding an audience that isn't quite converted yet and easing them into his unique style with a pace and flow that's as familiar as that brick wall behind him. Check the way he handles the hecklers in the audience for a great example of Black fighting in the trenches, and enjoy the cassette-like sound quality, which brings a bootleg thrill to the package. ~ David Jeffries