David Cross
Bigger and Blackerer
Sub Pop

Yeah, I know, I know. We’re a music zine, and this DVD of David Cross doing stand-up obviously isn’t a music release. Hell, aside from one impromptu comment about the Flaming Lips, Cross doesn’t even make mention of music on this one. But it was released by Sub Pop and... well, the shit’s funny. I could stop this review right there, because really, what else is there to say? I’m probably not even equipped to provide some kind of lucid critique, but indulge me for a minute, I guess.

What I’ve often enjoyed most about Cross is his willingness to push the envelope of taste. Listen to his bit about the sexual perversions of Catholic priests on “My Daughter’s First Date” (from Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!), and you’ll be cringing as you laugh helplessly. There’s few moments like that here. Even some racial commentary is never so wince-inducing. But that’s of little consequence. Cross’ comical crossfire is dead on, regardless of whether he’s assessing the situation with universal healthcare or simply relating some of the shenanigans he’s been up to in his spare time (like wearing an S&M mask on an airplane flight, for example).

One of my favorite bits, though, is his take on trying to deal with having to get batteries while on LSD. It mirrors an experience of my own trying to get something to eat in a similar condition, but Cross’ recreation of the inability to simply communicate is hilarious in its accuracy. His take on how long it’s been since there’s been smoking on airplanes is a little less accurate (I remember smoking on planes), but no less funny for it. Other cracks on Jesus, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and SkyMall are more adept.

Bigger and Blackerer was culled from two performances taped in Boston last year for a TV special on Epix, whatever the hell that is, and is also being released in a slightly different version on CD, whatever the hell that is. Cross no longer has such targets as Bush and Ashcroft for his wily remarks, but he’s suffered little for it. He’s just as funny, if slightly less potent, but then the need to laugh was probably greater in those dark times. He remains willing to vocalize the humor in life that’s deemed too impolite for polite company. But these aren’t polite times, and Cross is perhaps best suited to crack wise for the rest of us.
Stephen Slaybaugh

MP3: “I Can’t Get Beer in Me”