Bigger and Blackerer
David Cross used to be genuinely funny in an almost positive way. He’s loved by kids and hipsters alike, pretty leftist, made some good stand up, been in a few decent to good movies and was on a great TV show. But dude has seriously just gotten angry. It’s not that I don’t like Bigger and Blackerer but, it’s not really funny. It’s snarky and snide, but it lacks the wit and grace of previous albums and that’s a bit of a problem.
Cross has always been a quasi observational comedian, akin almost to Jerry Seinfeld, but with a bit of Kinison and Hicks in him. He’s by no means afraid to touch tow the line and even take a shit on the line and smear the feces with his shoe. His observations have never been mundane. But the album opens with some pretty fucking mundane observations. He opens the album with a bit about “If You Care” brand saran wrap and the joke seems to just hang out there. Environmentalists are not good marketeers and anyone who has spent five minutes inside a Whole Foods could tell you that. That’s partially why the general public has a bit of a problem “going green”. And he take his observation know where other than saying “If You Care” are a bunch of condescending picks by being…A CONDESCENDING PRICK.
He follows this up with a “I was a mid 20’s to late 30’s druggy” routine that just sort of falls flat. He does a whole line about cough medicine that just dies for me. No, don’t get it at all. He gives us nothing new here. His attempt at self-deprecation just doesn’t really make me feel the empathy I know I am supposed to. And also, there really is no context here. Something about drug jokes require context. It’s unfair to compare Cross to Hicks, but I am an asshole and I am gonna do it anyway. What? I am sitting alone in my room, on Tuesday night trashing a comedian I actually like. Fuck this guy writing this. But anyway, Hicks, even when he went clean, the drug context made sense. He had past material on it. Cross never struck me as the “any thing goes” drug user. His insight here lacks a feeling of intimacy with the subject. It’s not even that the delivery is poorly executed or that the jokes are poorly written, but the lack of subtext leaves a hole.
Crosses first two stand up albums got a lot of long-term, repeated play. They were some of the first stand up albums I heard that held up to Kinison or Hicks. If pressed I could recite whole bits and I guarantee I have added lines of his into conversation and vernacular to seem more witty than I actually am. They were memorable experiences. Bigger and Blackerer comes six years after these experiences and I have been hoping Cross would get back to stand up. However, I feel like this might be a stop-gap between shitty voice over work for crappy Hollywood block busters for kids and child molesters. That all seems a bit unfair, and I sound more let down then I actually am. But what the fuck, am I supposed to steal jokes from Vince Vaughan’s Wild West Comedy Show? Fuck that shit.
Fart and Wiener Jokes
I have a friend who legitimately believes that Kenny Rodgers is the Devil. It’s a strongly held if not curious belief. When we talked about this years ago, he was definitely uncomfortable about the whole subject and after a bit of moderate teasing I dropped the subject because I could tell he was serious about this belief. I can’t articulate why he believes this, but he does. I mention this because Brian Posehn ends his most recent offering, Fart and Wiener Jokes with a metalized cover version of Rodgers famous tune “The Gambler” which isn’t really that good but it makes me laugh due to this knowledge.
None of this has anything to do with anything, but Posehn offers up another strong stand up record. As the title suggests it is chock full of juvenile, grade school style funnies found amongst the 13-year-old set. At one point Posehn even refers to himself as looking like a guy “made up of farts”. And that shouldn’t be funny to me (my development was arrested at 15 so I should be past this) but it makes laugh like a fucking idiot to myself.
The thing is, Posehn seems almost timid at times. He certainly goes into his self-esteem issues, even if this time only a bit more peripherally now, and frankly it’s hard to argue against him. He’s into metal. Still. At age 42. If you listen to metal with any seriousness after age 16 you got one strike against you (if you ever listened to metal ironically you are an asshole and you should shit in your own mouth before you hang yourself prick). Being fat, paranoid, a pot smoker, geek, well, Brian is like most of my friends in one way or another and he’s like me in that regard too. But I really want him to go just a bit further. He doesn’t lack the wit in this regards, but the dude uses the word wiener a lot. And dong. Still. At age 42.
Look, I am not recommending this album for anyone. It’s not that I am embarrassed to own it. It’s not that I don’t think it’s really good. It’s just that you probably think you have a refined, sophisticated sense of humor where only well written, linguistically interesting and topical jokes are funny. And it’s because of that I know you have no real sense of humor and won’t find Posehn funny, but juvenile and mundane. And that’s fine, but it means you’re an asshole too. It’s the difference between thinking ONLY David Cross is funny and not Posehn. Idiot.