Oh, Come On
Comedy Dynamics, A Nacelle Company
I’ve been listening to David Cross stand-up CDs since I was first sent a review-sample back in the early 00s. That was on Sub Pop and was fascinating to me for some reason – also I recognised Cross’ face and voice from his various cameos at that point and what I knew of Mr. Show. It was a penny-drop moment – and though stand-up comedy CDs (or LPs) are a tough ask these days I’ve always felt that Cross was best-served by the medium. Sure, he has Netflix (and other network) specials and before that DVDs…
But his commitment to the live album based around a stand-up show is impressive. And though I’ve not heard every single Cross live record I’ve heard plenty of them – and they’s usually good.
His latest is taken from his 2018 tour, and there is a version available as a filmed document. (Though I understand the film and the album are taken from different shows, covering the same material).
So here in Birmingham Cross enjoys going at Trump fans. He shows his great skill combining wit and absurdity with a “Too Soon?” joke that imagines something that hasn’t happened yet, following it up with a “Too Late?” joke – and I think it’s okay to spoil this one – it’s a reference to The Monkees – suggesting that when he heard that AIDS was handed down via the monkeys he hopes that it wasn’t Mike Nesmith; his favourite. It’s a daft joke on its own but as a follow-up from his Toon Soon bit and as a leap-off into the absurdism that Cross enjoys, in and around devestating political takedowns and savage observations of privilege (his own, amongst it) and hypocrisies in modern living, it’s a winner. One of many.
This show sizzles early on, as Cross delights in talking about his new baby and how as someone who comes later to fatherhood he doesn’t intend to bang on with a bunch of dad jokes…and then he does. But these are dad jokes you will not hear anywhere else: he calls his own daughter a cunt, he references the holocaust. It’s Cross as you’ve perhaps always known him – the surprise being that he is able to adapt his new life to his old comedic ways.
There’s a long bit in the middle about a couples colonic retreat. It’s mostly very good also – but maybe, just maybe, this is where the quality dips.
It’s a slight dip only. Cross is on fire here, as he has been across most of the last two decades. For every nauseating Alvin and the Chipmunks-styled pay-check he’s taken it hasn’t dimmed his on-stage rage as one of the finest stand-ups of recent years. (Technically it’s enabled it, and maybe not just fiscally). And this latest tour had sublime moments, from the scatalogical, juvenile and absurd through to profound, brutal and magical.