There’s a subtle streak of vulnerability running through Greg Giraldo’s quick-fire succession of tirades on Good Day to Cross a River. It’s not that he isn’t sincerely angry or frustrated; he’s both. It comes from someplace entirely human, a place that most “angry” comics don’t dare stray.
While he’s clearly racked by the poor judgment of this country’s more colorful characters — a mother who throws her baby in a river, a guy who burns his genitals in the shower and then sues his landlord, penguins — the veteran comic is not afraid to expose himself as a barely middle-aged dude who’s obsessed with aging and is still not able to always make the right choices.
Turning the What-Would-Jesus-Do-solution-to-moral-conundrums approach on its ear, in his trademark spouty style, Giraldo argues that at this point in his life, it’s not that easy: “If Jesus had just turned 40 and he felt fat and old and he was on the road and he was lonely and miserable and his wife was being a total bitch at home and he felt old and unattractive — because his balls had started dipping in the [toilet] water — would he make out with that stripper in Vegas just to make himself feel better? I don’t know.”
Like a good punk or metal song, many of Giraldo’s bits (no doubt the one above) are forceful, powerful and often times run the listener through myriad emotions. They’re the type of bits that stay with you for a long time — not only because of the jokes’ obvious depth but because Giraldo is consistently bust-a-gut funny.
The Queens, N.Y., native also does an excellent job culling his best older bits (“Civil War Letters,” “Illegal Aliens,”) and rolling them in with slightly newer material like “Death by Chocolate” and “Wal-Mart” and surprising even his most die-hard fans with brand-new, gasp-inducing bits like “The Floater,” where he rails against reality television: “I’m half waiting for a show where they just toss a bunch of paraplegics in a lake just to see what’ll happen.”
Giraldo’s proven himself on Dave Attell’s Insomniac Tour, Comedy Central roasts, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn and Stand-up Nation With Greg Giraldo. And on Good Day, he once again proves himself as one of this generation’s funniest stand-up comedians.