If It’s Not Funny
suffered the perennial sophomore problem of following its successor just a little bit too closely, the same certainly can not be said of Bigger and Blackerer
, David Cross’
third album. Delivered six years after It’s Not Funny
-- for a quick comparison, Mr. Show’s four seasons aired over the course of three years on HBO -- Bigger and Blackerer
is certainly filled with new material that touches upon many favorite Cross
topics, lingering for a particularly long time on drugs and religion, two subjects that prove enduringly fertile for the comedian. He finds new wrinkles in each -- dealing with the fall-out of middle-age narcotic experimentation, delivering a sharp bit on Mormons and California’s Proposition 8 -- as he winds his way between longer set pieces and one-off jokes, tossing them off to see if the audience runs with them and deciding to switch subjects when they don’t. There’s an ease to his delivery that belies the album’s overblown title, but Bigger and Blackerer
is indeed a bigger to-do than any of Cross’
previous projects, and not just because it was recorded at two consecutive shows at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre, a venue considerably larger than those that provided the staging grounds for Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!
and It’s Not Funny
. The two shows aren’t cut together into a seamless string of highlights, but rather presented as one CD and one DVD containing the two different performances, which turns out to be a bit of a godsend for comedy nerds who can now linger in the minute differences between the two performances, hearing how Cross
twists the same material just a few hours later, following the different detours in each performance. No other comedy album or video has been presented like this, and it helps make Bigger and Blackerer
something a little bit more than a very good comedy album.