10 - The Michigan Daily - Monday, May10, 2004
Cross frustrates on new rele:
Daily Arts Writer
Few comedians these days aspire to
the pointed, acerbic style of those who
aimed to change the
world with their
comedy: Lenny David Cross
Bruce, Mort Sahl, It's Not Funny
Richard Pryor and Sub Pop
most recently, Bill
Hicks. In a social climate in which it's
commonplace to question everything,
most comedians today choose to shrink
away from controversial topics like poli-
tics or religion. No one seems to be
doing the kind of comedy that makes
their audience squirm, or at the very
least, think. That's why comedian David
Cross is absolutely necessary.
Recorded in January 2004 during a
four-night stand in Washington, D.C.,
It's Not Funny is the official follow-up
to Cross's debut, Shut Up, You Fucking
Baby! This time around, the comedian
has almost entirely abandoned the socie-
tal observations he perfected on the
HBO sketch comedy "Mr. Show" for
purely political tactics.
Cross begins by examining the trans-
formation people undergo when they
have children ("It's like they have amne-
sia," he notes) and an impromptu bit
about goth-metal band Evanescence
before jumping into the politics. He
attacks President Bush's character and
It's just so funny! He never hits back!
his foreign policies and domestic poli-
cies. In the end, however, Cross's come-
dy elicits laughter, but fails to connect:
His impulse to humor and educate
through his anger alienates listeners.
It's Not Funny demonstrates that
Cross is. an engaging, intelligent
comedic force that goes for the jugular
-at a time when other performers don't.
But by the second half of the album,
Cross's vitriolic banter hits the point of
no return. While his rambling is often
offensive, he is brave to tip-toe near the
boundaries of comedy - an absurd
notion in a country that freely circulates
jokes about Helen Keller and dead
babies. The mixture of social criticism
and political commentary, however, is
severely lacking on It's Not Funny, and
the overall performance suffers. He's a
political force - in doses. By the end of
the album, Cross's whining and over-use
of references overshadow the humor.
Die-hard fans - those who are
already memorizing punch-lines from
It's Not Funny to go along with their
favorite "Mr. Show" moments -imme-
diately position Cross next to Bruce or
Hicks. Cross's rambling, while potent,
don't evolve as other classic comedians'
work did; as a result, his offerings look
shabby. He uses his tried-and-true rou-
tines as a crutch and, unfortunately on
It's Not Funny, it shows.
THE UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN
MULTI-ETHNIC STUDENT AFFAIRS
2202 Michigan Union
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48109-1349
734-763-9044 FAX 734-615-6842
Division of Student Affairs
Are you interested in being involved in developing a
multicultural center that reflects and serves student needs?
If so, we invite you to nominate yourself or other students
to serve on the Trotter Multicultural Center Facility and
Program Vision Committee. This university committee
will include a team of student representatives, facilities
experts and staff to recommend possible options for Trotter
House. We are seeking a wide range of students across
campus who express an interest in the future of Trotter.
Seven students will have a unique opportunity to learn about
Trotter's history and work with others to develop a vision
for Trotter. This team will work together over the summer
months and into the fall. Your input and contributions to this
process are central to the development of Trotter's future.
If you would like to serve on this team, please send the following
information to Patricia Aqui Pacania (email@example.com) who will
select the members.
What is your interest in serving on this committee?
If you would like to nominate someone to be on the committee,
please send the following information to Pratricia Aqui Pacania
(firstname.lastname@example.org) who will select the members.
Nominee's Name: Nominee's Year:
Nominee's Major: Nominee's Email:
Why should the person you are nominating serve on this
Thank you in advance for your assistance and I will keep you
updated about further developments in this process.
Sincerely, Patricia Aqui Pacania
Director, Office of Multi-Ethnic Student Affairs