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"Fasting! Holy living fuck that's funny!"

No cow is sacred with comedian David Cross. "Kids are growing up so fast these days… and that's why the legal age of consent should be lowered to fifteen," he jokes on his latest album, It 's Not Funny. "Some sixteen year-old kid with zits all over his face who pops after twenty seconds gets to fuck them, but I 'm a grown man with skills. That 's selfish!"

In addition to the shocking, over-the-top material, his commentary on the racist South ( "My dead, lifeless, rotting, maggot-infested corpse, next to some black man's? That 's gross!"), George W. Bush, September 11, religion and society is dead on and sharp on both his latest and his debut, "Shut Up You Fucking Baby" (which lost a Grammy to Weird Al), an album that was considered an instant classic.

"Let 's do this! "

HACKNEY: I 'd like to start with your new album, It 's Not Funny. Do you like it? Are you pleased with the results?

CROSS: You know, it depends. I can look at some of the jokes and say, ‘Oh, that 's a funny joke,' and some of it is just boring and makes me cringe listening to it for the thousandth time. Not that I 'm embarrassed or ashamed to listen to any of it. I just can't, you know? I'm glad it 's out there and I'm glad I did it. It's a record of what I was doing at that time. I'm glad it 's there for posterity.

HACKNEY: How would you describe your comedy, or I'll say your comedic style?

CROSS: Oh, you know… like, a room full of pixies… a roomful of veritable pixies.

HACKNEY: Well, you've been compared to Richard Pryor, Bill Hicks, and Lenny Bruce. Would you agree with any of that?

CROSS: I wouldn't say Lenny Bruce. Certainly close to Bill Hicks, but I don't pretend to be as good as he was. He had a very natural gift. And Pryor was probably the best stand-up ever, and I don't have any illusions that I am as good as he was. I suppose I am more like them, say then, Larry the Cable Guy.

HACKNEY: Yes, well, reading a few of your track titles ( "My Immigrant Mom Talks Funny!," "Certain Leaders in Government Look or Act Like Certain Pop Culture References!"), it seems like you don't like most stand-up comedians. Would you agree with that?

CROSS: Yeah, at least the standard issue, unoriginal, unimpassioned, guys trying to get laid or a sitcom. I've never had respect for those guys.

"I'm not saying all Republicans are racist, sexist homophobes, just the people they elect into office to represent them."

HACKNEY: There seems to be some reoccurring themes between the albums, particularly with your hatred towards Republicans, George W. Bush, and 9/11. Do you feel these are still relevant topics?

CROSS: Much less now than when I was doing it. With George Bush, that will remain relevant until he's out of office, or we stop talking about him. It 's relevant to me, because that makes up about 20 percent of my day, reading about Bush and the administration. I know it might not be relevant to people who don't care or don't get the information. I think it engenders the eye rolling ‘yeah, yeah, I get it response,' but I don't care about that.

HACKNEY: Well, when you do material like that, are you attempting to change things politically?

CROSS: No, I'm really not. They're just jokes based on what's important to me. And, that stuff is extremely important to me, and has been since 2000. I've always been a bit of a news junkie, but not as much as I am now. Hopefully that will change in a matter of months and I can go back to making more abortion jokes.

"I don't like any of that fucking P.O.D., Staind, bullshit… Creed nonsense… Seriously, it's just that fraudulent shit you know, that's all this simplistic kinda, you know, 10th grade suburban white girl lyrics… that shouldn't be coming out of, ya know, 30-year-old men. I'd rather hear the death rattle of my only child than have to listen to that fucking shit."

HACKNEY: I imagine you 're a bit distraught about the news that Creed broke up.

CROSS: Yeah, it was a bit of a disappointment until I found out that the rest of the band, and if you go to the Web site you can read over their three paragraph overview on the situation, apparently the rest of the band is going to continue with a different name, which basically is a nice way of saying they kicked the singer out.

HACKNEY: He's going solo.

CROSS: Yeah, my feeling is that they probably got as annoyed with his antics as I.

HACKNEY: Right. Well, you said on It s Not Funny that you don't listen to shitty music. Who else do you consider shitty?

CROSS: Oh c'mon man, a lot of stuff is shitty. Any of that nü metal crap, Nickelback.

HACKNEY: Well, what do you listen to?

CROSS: Well, let 's look at what I bought yesterday. The new Beastie Boys, Broken Social Scene, the new DJ Shadow, Deerhoof.

HACKNEY: Well, one last question. Any plans for the immediate future?

CROSS: No, I'm actually kind of taking the summer off. With the exception of a few benefits, I'm not really working again until August. Then I'll be going to London, doing a few shows out there. And then I don 't know.


Luke Hackney
July 2004
Photo by Ali Smith