David Cross named his most recent standup tour after Donald Trump's presidential election campaign slogan way back when no one took the ugly orange jackass and his run to be leader of the free world seriously. Of course, even a guy who's normally totally dialed in with how sad and dark and dumb America really is, couldn't have predicted just how bleak things might get. Cross underestimated how low it would all go.
As such, Cross's latest special, though often funny and biting, is likely his weakest and most depressing. This has a lot to do with the fact that his strengths, as a wise know-it-all and sharp truth-teller, have been drowned out in the intense spotlight the world has shone upon the intellectual acumen of the United States of America in the past year-and-a-half. Cross could once shock us by how stupid people and companies and organizations in his country are every day. At this point, when a contest for president between a highly prepared politician and a mouth-breathing, sub-human huckster is even remotely close, nothing's shocking.
His set here features amusing observational bits about cognitive dissonance (a luggage store in an airport? A California tattoo parlour promoting a 'get what you get' slogan?), and Cross often draws certain ideas out longer than others. He even goes in on Trump and the Republican Party a bit, but it's already dated (remember when Ted Cruz was a viable candidate?), which is a fate that Cross's material fresh after 9/11 somehow still hasn't suffered. We're just too close to a still unresolved, rapidly changing premise to forgive one of yesterday's punch lines.
Cross's talent as a performer and actor shine in various bits but none are as shocking as his depiction of a hypocritical Republican senator losing his daughter to gun violence. It's a vintage Cross sequence — harsh as hell, but rooted in a certain undeniable logic that his targets don't seem to employ.
Cross garners huge laughs at various points here but there's also enough tedium in play to make this whole experience less than great.
Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.