Every so often, an entertainment gem comes along that makes us truly glad we have TiVo. Last night, the Comedy Central network aired a new episode of comedian Lewis Black’s hit show “Root of All Evil.” Take it from us: This was simultaneously the most thoughtful and hilarious social commentary about People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) since Penn & Teller tackled the group six years ago.
The show’s format is simple: Two hilarious comedians each argue that their “client” (in this case, PETA or the National Rifle Association) is more evil than the opposing party’s. The judge, jury, and executioner is Lewis Black, who observed early on: “PETA wants me to spend my days sucking on celery stalks. The only time I want celery is when it’s in a Bloody Mary. And the only time I want a Bloody Mary is when I’ve already ordered a bacon and cheese omelet. I want meat! I’m not a fruit bat!”
We even saw a cameo from Triumph, the insult comic dog. He was not amused:

Vegetarianism? Are you crazy? I’m not going to give up cow, or turkey giblets, so why the hell should you? Look: Animals suck. We’d eat you if someone dropped a slice on the floor!

Sad to say, Judge Black decided at the end that the NRA was even more objectionable, but his studio audience clearly disagreed. (Score one for the common man.) Comedy Central has put a few video clips online (here and here), but we’ve transcribed the best parts for you.
Here’s Paul F. Tompkins, arguing that PETA is indeed the root of all evil:

People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. Well, that certainly sounds like a good idea. We could sure use a “society for the prevention of cruelty for animals.” An SPCA if you will. Oh, wait! There is one, and it’s called that. Was the SPCA not “ethical” enough? Were they taking bribes from firemen to put cats in trees? …

The founder of PETA, Ingrid Newkirk, has stated: “There is no rational basis for saying a human has special rights.” Yes there is, Ingrid. Because humans are rational. I think you’d have more of an argument if that quote came from, say, a pigmy hippopotamus. What’s that? Nothing, you say, Mr. Pigmy Hippopotamus?

Okay—Ingrid Newkirk doesn’t want Man’s Best Friend to be exploited for our entertainment, or our science, or our loneliness even. But here’s what else she doesn’t want dogs to do: guide blind people. She’s against seeing-eye dogs!

Well, I hope Ingrid Newkirk goes blind. I hope she has to make her way around all by herself. And I hope someone dresses her up in Eddie Murphy’s suit from Delirious. And I hope they tell her that it’s made from human skin.
 
PETA cares much more about “P” than “ETA.” And that P stands for “publicity.” Because every point they try to make involves shocking people. Putting pictures of slaughtered animals on billboards. Throwing paint on fur coat-wearers. And every time they do, their message about animals gets lost.

Here’s something that’s never happened: “Hey, you threw paint on my fur coat! Point taken.”

Ingrid Newkirk and PETA say that since we’re all animals, we need to respect other animals. But if we are “all animals,” can’t we say, “Them’s the breaks, other animals.”

PETA wants you to believe that all mankind and animals are completely equal. Okay. Beavers build dams; have you ever seen Hoover Dam? Yeah, it’s slightly more impressive than a pile of mud and sticks. In your face, beavers! 

And here, finally, is Tompkins’ “ripple of evil,” his dystopian vision of a future in which PETA gets everything it wants. Don’t say we didn’t warn you:

PETA has their way, and all the zoos are closed down. Gorillas, orangutans and chimpanzees freely roam the cities of the world. Supermarkets cannot keep bananas in stock, as monkeys carry them out by the hand, foot, and tail-full.
Human beings, deprived of potassium, become weaker and weaker, unable to lock doors to keep monkeys from places they shouldn’t go. Former lab chimps wreak havoc in nuclear facilities, pushing button after button in hopes of producing more bananas.
A nuclear holocaust ensues, leaving apes at the top of the food chain. The apes enslave humans, whom they believe to be primitive creatures.
Wait! What’s that on the beach? The Statue of Liberty, buried up to its neck in sand! That’s right, PETA: You finally really did it! You maniacs! You blew it up! Damn you! Damn you all to hell!

“Root of All Evil” airs Wednesday nights on Comedy Central at 10:30pm (9:30pm Central).