David Cross is one stand up comic who wrings humor out of the most taboo topics, such as child endangerment, terrorist attacks, the Paralympics, and Nazis — you’ll either cringe or laugh or maybe cringe, then laugh. Possibly you’ll do neither — if so, have your pulse checked.
His jaundiced eye is not that of a keen observer of the minute details of human interaction. Rather, his strength is in his ability to twist almost any situation to its most irrationally extreme conclusion while playing the role of the slightly deranged narcissist who’s unaware of how offensive he is to others.
Like many others, I first saw him on Arrested Development, a show that for a while was one of the brightest lights in the TV sitcom universe. He played the highly neurotic, never-nude psychiatrist turned failing actor Tobias Fünke — everyone’s favorite “analrapist.” As anyone who’s seen his numerous comedy specials knows, his standup stays fairly close to the frenetic, oblique comedy that he played so well on the sitcom.
“He takes aim at feminism, his upbringing, Santa Monica — why he hates it, diversity and anti-semitism.“
In David Cross: Oh, Come On, his latest standup special, he muses about a fairly lengthy list of subjects, often bumping up against the boundaries of good taste. He takes aim at feminism, his upbringing, Santa Monica — why he hates it, diversity and anti-semitism. He’s probably far from the edgiest comic doing stand up these days, but he does manage to hurl a goodly number of poisonous barbs.
The hour-plus set, recorded at the Orange Peel in Asheville, N.C., is divided into roughly three parts. The first is a grab bag of setups and punchlines, often followed by highly twisted comments that take the original thought down a strange dark alley.
Having become a father recently, he spends a fair amount of time riffing on parenting and speculating about his daughter’s future. That comes after reassuring the audience that he won’t be dwelling on that topic for the entire set, and he more or less keeps his promise.
“ … his strength is in his ability to twist almost any situation to its most irrationally extreme conclusion … ”
A couple of longer monologues follow, one describing his experience having a his-and-her colonic cleanse with his wife — yes, it’s even worse than it sounds.
Finally, he takes on Trump and speculates about what the 2020 presidential debates might be like if the Democrats pursue an outlandish strategy — it was the most enjoyable part of the set, and oddly enough, it’s a demented plan that I think I could support.
Clearly, we live in odd and slightly terrifying times, and perhaps David Cross is just odd enough to help us make sense of it all. If not, at least we’ll share some sardonic laughs as anarchy and chaos envelop the planet — which would be some great fodder for comedy.
David Cross: Oh, Come On (2019) Directed by Lance Bangs. Written by David Cross. Starring David Cross.
9 out of 10 Whoopee Cushions