Dear Reader, allow me to be open with you. I wouldn’t normally be so frank, but the gravity of the past week in my life is too much to ignore. Soon after choosing Bigger and Blackerer as my next album review, I found out that my 85-year-old grandmother had recently had a heart attack and was diagnosed with leukemia. Doctors have given her months to live. I drove up to Kentucky to visit her in the hospital as soon as I could and spent the weekend with my family. It was difficult to see her in a hospital bed, as she’s always been the strongest person I know and until recently she was one of the most active senior citizens I knew. She baffled doctors by how well she was doing after they told her she was near death, so she was released after a few days and finally got to go home. She remains in good condition for now, but the weekend still drained a lot out of me. I say this not to draw sympathy, but to set the scene. Needless to say, when I eventually left Kentucky, the last thing I wanted to do on my way home was listen to a comedy album.
Now, I love me some David Cross. Mr. Show was brilliant, and Tobias FÃ¼nke is one of my all-time favorite television characters. But his stand-up has been hit or miss for me. Bits and pieces of his previous efforts Shut Up You Fucking Baby and It’s Not Funny didn’t hit the spot with me, but they also contain some of the most ridiculous, biting social commentary out there. As I said before, I was not in the mood for comedy when I finally had a chance to listen to his new album. This, coupled with my mixed feelings about his previous albums, sent my expectations down the drain. But all that changed once I popped the CD in.
The album opens true to the title – it starts off with a bang in the form of a big sweeping song. “The Sultan’s Revenge” starts off with Cross exclaiming, “The time has come to tear this place a new asshole/but then we’ll stitch that new asshole up with jokes,” perfectly setting up the rest of the effort, which he further does throughout the rest of the song, proclaiming “It might get nasty, it might get a little mean/and I might just make some enemies” and “We’ll share a laugh about rape.” He sets the bar high for his profane act, which is to be expected; it is David Cross after all. And when he tells us we’re gonna smile and giggle until we stop, he’s not lying. I was already smiling. Then, after getting caught up on Cosmonauts for a while, he finally tells a joke about them and then transitions into the normal stand up routine.
Like all David Cross albums, he finds the worst in people and exploits it. He is completely comfortable in the controversial — his views on religion are priceless no matter how offensive they may be. He also forays into the touchy world of race with ease – he basically had to after naming his album Bigger and Blackerer. Politics, heroin junkies, pants-shitting, Intervention, Jewish saran wrap, date rape, tea-partiers, satan, prostitutes, Obama’s secret fetish… nothing is off limits when David Cross is on the mic. And he approaches each and every one as irreverently as possible. Without giving any jokes away, at some point there is talk of digging up the corpse of and subsequently violating a certain girl famous for her diary. Some of the material is a bit dated — there’s a bit about the presidential debates — but hearing his personal spin on everything still makes it worth it.
The ride from my grandmother’s house to my own is just over an hour – and Bigger and Blackerer filled every minute of it. Somehow, after the hell I’d been through the whole weekend, I rarely stopped laughing. Isn’t that what we need comedy for? When I got in the car, I was about as down as I could be. When I got out, I was smiling and still giggling long after the CD was over. David Cross managed to accomplish in an hour what I thought would take days. He cheered me up when I needed it most. David, if you’re out there, thanks. Keep doing your thing. Even if you don’t realize it, your brilliantly twisted humor is helping in more ways than you think.