Shut Up You Fucking Baby
Pros: Easily the best comedy album of the last decade.
Cons: Heavy on the swearing for those easily offended.
“Ahh David Cross. I like him”
Those were the words of the (female) clerk at Best Buy when I bought this two-CD behemoth in July of 2005. I’d seen Cross on Mr. Show and heard some snippets of his comedy and had become intrigued. So I plunked down the cash for this, not anticipating the funniest, edgiest, most daring and best comedy album I’d heard since Chris Rock’s Roll With The New.
A double non-compilation stand-up comedy album might seem like a hard task to pull off. But Cross does. Released on Seattle based indie label Sub Pop (the one Nirvana was signed to before its breakthrough for those not in the know), Shut Up You Fucking Baby is comprised of bits Cross recorded at rock clubs in 2002.
Picking up where the late great Bill Hicks let off, Cross combines storytelling, philosophizing, ranting and just generally riffing to offer up an on-going commentary on a society that seems determined to devolve into a pile of BS. Like George Carlin, Cross is a wordsmith in love with language. But whereas Carlin always carefully constructed his bits, Cross’s have more of a loose, improvisatory feel.
This becomes apparent over the course of this album as Cross effortlessly flows from one subject to the next. He tells a hilarious story of getting drunk with the band Harlow, recites a part from The Promise Keepers Handbook and gets off on a rant about the deli Cosi’s marketing plan to offer square bagels called “Squagels”.
There’s also a large amount of political ranting here as well as Cross takes aim at George W Bush, the Catholic Church, John Ashcroft and numerous other things of that type circa 2002. What’s great about this is that this humor isn’t chock full of cheap shots, it’s well-thought out and bitingly on-target. Not enough to convert supporters no. But well-done enough that it comes off as well-reasoned. It’s also a tribute to Cross’s talent that this material still sounds fresh today, not dated as much topical comedy becomes after a period.
Here are some samples:
So the material on these discs alone makes this worth getting. But the packaging is a nice bonus. Cross doesn’t give the pieces the generic names most comedians would. He chooses hilarious names like “Monica Lewinsky and the three bears” and “Spider man vs Batman vs Wonder Woman On The Rug”.The titles themselves are funny enough to offer laughs even before you put the CD in the stereo.
The only real drawback I can think of is that this is definitely not for the easily offended (as if the title didn’t give that away). If your idea of hilarious is Dane Cook or the Blue Collar Comedy guys, this might not be for you. But if you like edgy comedy of the Hicks/Carlin variety, I strongly suspect you will agree with me that this is the best comedy album of the last couple decades.