Shut Up You Fucking Baby!
2002 has seen an embarrassment of riches for fans of comedian David Cross. A stand-up tour, DVDs of his much missed HBO sketch comedy series, Mr. Show, a live Mr. Show tour of theatres, and now this two-CD set of stand-up recorded in the spring in Portland, Oregon and Atlanta, Georgia. And yeah, I know, when was the last time you bought a comedy album? For me I think it was a Sam Kinison record back in the ’80s. This one however is worth both the price of admission and the investment of time.
The comedy begins with a glance at the CD’s track listing, which with titles like “Welfare Dentist on a Bender,” does nothing to belie the contents.
Cross talks about being raised Jewish and becoming an atheist in Atlanta, the land of Southern Baptists. Indeed he saves his sharpest words for organized religion. “Tribal, superstitious nonsense,” he calls the Bible. “Where are the unicorns?” he asks. The Catholic Church also gets skewered. “I don’t know if you guys have noticed lately but seriously in the last couple months, the Catholic Church has gotten a whole lot sexier,” he says.
He talks about life in his new home of New York as being constantly faced with an urgent, quick decision: “Oh my God, do I look at the most beautiful woman in the world or the craziest guy in the world?” He describes his experiences in the apocalyptic landscape of post-9/11 Manhattan and the strange sight of a guy roller-blading down the street wearing a gas mask. He also has choice words for Los Angeles and its “non-stop parade of delusion.”
On disc two, Cross turns his focus to George W. Bush and the war on terrorism. “He’s the same fucking moron he was on the 10th,” he says of the 43rd President. “George W. Bush may go down in history as the worst president we’ve ever had. I don’t mean in a Millard Fillmore, James Polk kind of way.” Of the war on terrorism, he says it’s “like having a war on jealousy… At no point in time ever are we gonna go: ‘whew, got ’em all. Everybody loves us again’.” He also has funny things to say about the missile defense shield (“A net made of magic, held in place by pixies”) and Attorney General John Ashcroft (“[As a Senator] he lost the election to a dead man.”)
Along the way, Cross also digresses at length about playing a club in Kansas City, getting drunk with the band Harlow (of VH-1’s Bands on the Run non-fame) and having to appear on one of those morning zoo crew radio shows. And sure, Cross could have cut out some of this stuff and put together a sharper, one-disc compilation of these two performances. But then you wouldn’t get to experience the full breadth of Cross’ obsessions. Two hours is a lot to ask of a listener, but when you’re laughing this hard you won’t mind.