Wednesday, February 23, 2005

C, X

David Cross- Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!
David Cross- It’s Not Funny

It didn’t take long for David Cross to be added to the canon around here, the litany of nigh-inpenetrable lore and injokes that swirl around the clan like a fog.

Comedy records, obviously, take a little bit more concentration than albums full of music- you can listen to music on the radio or CD passively, while you clean the kitchen or send email to people. Comedy records, though- to get the jokes, you’ve got to have at least half an ear tuned in the entire time.

So there was this one weekend a few years back where, like most weekends back then, Damian came by to hang out. Then a huge blizzard hit and we were snowed in. A few days spent stripping this god-awful wallpaper and putting up a neutral tone of paint in the middle of two feet of snow engulfing the city. ‘Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!’ played again and again, both discs, as the four of us did our thing. The jokes entered our heads and stuck and got repeated and repeated and played every Monday for friends, entering the short list with the Rush live DVD and the 1975 World Series and the collected videos of Pavement. Not a day goes by where someone in this house says “We will deal with this in the A.M., my man.”

‘It’s Not Funny’ is very good, but very different. A lot of the stuff on ‘Baby!’ feels really loose, like Cross is drunk and talking a bunch of shit (which, based on some of the bits, seems more than possible.) ‘Funny’ is much shorter, less rambling, and has more elements of traditional stand-up than ‘Baby!’ did- it’s a matter of listening to a spoken word album vs. listening to a comedy album, I think. There’s a lot of that uncomfortable humor that you get in like ‘The Office’ or ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ (or, to cross mediums, from an Ivan Brunetti cartoon.) but some of the stuff just kills- political stuff that is so absurd that it’s a joke in and of itself. The hints of anger on ‘Baby’ get expanded on in a way that reminds me, in a positive sense, of Bill Hicks.


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