Bigger & Blacker

Chris Rock

DreamWorks Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/08/1999

Adam Sandler is to blame for my latest purchase. Had he not been hosting a special featuring certain comedy music videos, I never would have been exposed to Chris Rock and his parody of "Everybody's Free (To Wear Sunscreen),""No Sex." After seeing that video just one time, I felt I had to go out and buy Rock's latest album, Bigger & Blacker.

While this is definitely an album that has to grow on you, Rock does prove himself to be a clever comedian with a sharp sense of humor about both the black and the white community. Even the sketches, for the most part, are sharp enough to keep my interest throughout.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

First, though, the criticisms. The three brief interludes featuring "words of wisdom" from rapper Ol' Dirty Bastard seem incredibly out of place, and I question why they're even included on this. And one routine, "Table Dance," seems like it never finds its rhythm. Making matters worse is tacking on the similarly themed "Snow Flake" (a parody of The Rolling Stones's "Brown Sugar"), which beats what's left of the joke to death.

Staying on the subject of sketch comedy, Rock's "interview" with Monica Lewinsky (featuring snippets from rapper Lil' Kim) is funny, though when my kid is in her twenties, she's going to probably wonder who Lewinsky was. "Nerd & Fly Girl" is pretty funny, though it sometimes sounds like Rock got his idea for the nerd from Digital Underground's Humpty Hump; I kept expecting him to break out in rhyme. "Porno PSA" is absolutely hilarious, especially when you listen to Rock's asides during the sketch. And, of course, there's "No Sex" -- which, I'll admit, loses a little bit without the visual translations. (If the video for this song exists on any of Rock's home videos, chances are I'll be running out to buy it.)

As for the live performances of Rock, at first I was a bit put off at the lower-quality recording of the sets. However, things seem to even themselves out quickly, and Rock proves he is one of the best comedians out there today. Sounding like a cross between Mr. Paul Mooney and the late Sam Kinison, Rock goes off on insurance companies, women, taxes and the White House sex scandal, handling all with amazing agility. Rock might have been one of the more underappreciated members of Saturday Night Live, but he's definitely making a solid name for himself -- and rightfully so.

Bigger & Blacker is a disc that will have you laughing your head off, no matter what the color of your skin is. Rock is able to take situations facing everyone and turn them into events that will have you laughing -- and thinking about what he's said.

Rating: B+

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© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of DreamWorks Records, and is used for informational purposes only.