I’m not sure if any official declaration has been made, but I am pretty sure that there is a war being waged among our nation’s comedians. Since Dubya’s inauguration in 2001, it seems that comics have felt a sense of duty to take political sides and duke it out. Leading the charge on the right is Dennis Miller, while David Cross, who has just released a new comedy album titled It’s Not Funny, is rallying the leftists.
It’s Not Funny is Cross’ follow-up to his acclaimed 2002 Sub Pop release Shut Up, You Fucking Baby! This time around, Cross has almost entirely abandoned the envelope-pushing societal humor that he perfected on “Mr. Show with Bob and David” and in his stand-up routines; his performance on It’s Not Funny is dominated by line-crossing, anti-Bush political humor. Just how far left is Cross’ new material? Simply imagine what Noam Chomsky would be like if he were really, really funny.
Cross’ new politically charged act landed him in hot water earlier this year when he performed a bit that appears on It’s Not Funny at a Howard Dean fundraiser. In the bit, Cross frequently uses the N-word while mocking Strom Thurmond and Trent Lott. The bit incensed Dean, but Cross – who is clearly not a racist – was simply using the word to make a point about the racist Southern senators. Whether his use of the N-word to mock racists crosses the line is a question open to listeners, but Cross doesn’t seem to be too concerned that he might offend his audience.
In fact, offending his audience is what Cross does best. While his political material on It’s Not Funny is hit-or-miss, Cross is the master of being shockingly inappropriate. He opens the CD by complaining about his friends telling him how hard it is to have kids. “C’mon man, that’s not hard,” Cross says. “Try talking your girlfriend into her third consecutive abortion. That’s hard. That takes finesse.”
In an interview with Artsweek, Cross claimed that it is never his purpose to be overtly political in his comedy, and that he just says things that he thinks are funny. It is my wish that all comedians would abandon their clich