Comedian David Cross — who has been seen everywhere from Arrested Development to I’m Not There over the past few years — just released his first stand-up album since 2004. It’s good, with one caveat. Unlike It’s Not Funny (2004) and the sprawling classic Shut Up, You Fucking Baby! (2002), which were so brilliant they suddenly put him next in the line of great American comedians dating from Lenny Bruce to Bill Hicks, Cross’ recorded work on Bigger and Blackerer isn’t golden from start to finish.
What Bruce and Hicks usually accomplished — and Cross did this consistently on his previous albums — was the mighty duo of making listeners laugh hard and think harder. On Bigger and Blackerer, Cross repeatedly begs us to hit the “snooze” button with poop jokes and tales of drug abuse. He doesn’t get to what he’s great at — making fun of politics and religion — until halfway through the album. And even then, after a killer routine about President Obama hanging out in his basement as a kid with William Ayers, the Reverend Wright, and Kim Jong-il, planning a way to kill grandparents when he grows up, Cross takes his audience’s cue and returns to the truly low-brow stuff. And this after Cross’ feud with Larry the Cable Guy. (Sub Pop)