According to the liner notes of his latest release, David Cross originally intended to title the album The Latest Fiona Apple CD. Due to some legal issue, Cross must’ve flipped through a thesaurus and settled on the synonym It’s Not Funny. The album, oh irony, is actually funny. Get it? Hell, the back cover features a grinning ten year-old Cross, four-eyed and mop-topped, proudly holding a small fish. That’s comedy.
Compiled from Washington, D.C. performances in January of this year, It’s Not Funny takes smarmy jabs at pop-culture and politics in the same vein of Cross’ two-disc Shut Up You Fucking Baby. The new album even boasts non-sequitur track titles like its predecessor, the best arguably “Although Indigent, Rural Families Have Little to Say in the Matter, Their Meager, Third Rate Public Education Has Kept Them Ignorant and Thus, Great Sources of Ridicule!”
Channeling the inspired cynicism and filthy revelations of Bill Hicks’ Rant in E-Minor, Cross tears into the Bush administration and the right for a majority of the album. The observation “If the terrorists hated freedom, then the Netherlands would be fucking dust,” seems like something that Hicks would’ve said if he were alive today. Indeed, Cross continues his rail against the right-wing with eye-gouges against Dennis Miller, The New York Post, Fox News and Dubya himself. While this will likely alienate listeners of the conservative persuasion, Cross is quick to note, “I’m not saying that all Republicans are racist, sexist, homophobes; just the people they to choose to elect into office to represent them are.”
Post-9/11 policies and reactions also come under Cross’ scrutiny as he shakes his head at patriotic country songs and deluxe nuclear safety kits. Among the funnier moments of these 9/11 rants involves the color-coded terror-alert system that he characterizes as “fucking meaningless.” He illustrates this asertion with the following excahnge.
MAN: Honey, the terrorist alert has been lifted to orange.
WOMAN: Oh, what should I do?
MAN: (nonchalantly) Well, get the bread out of the oven and let’s eat dinner.
Along with the targets on the right, Cross shows no mercy to the Creeds and Stainds of the world, characterizing their songs as “tenth grade suburban white girl lyrics that shouldn’t be coming out of thirty year-old men.” His mention of electric scissors recalls a restrained version of his past “Squaggles” gag. But like any comic channeling Hicks, the work wouldn’t be complete without a reminder of how banal people’s children really are. Mission accomplished, David; Bill would’ve been proud.
Bill Hicks – Rant in E Minor
Lewis Black – The White Album
Bruce McCulloch – Shame-Based Man