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David Cross 

That's Not Funny (Sub Pop)

With the title of his new album, stand-up performer David Cross has a point. Abortion, Gulf War II, and Family Circus aren't inherently funny, but he successfully mines them for big laughs.

The balding, bespectacled Cross has been in the spotlight recently as the neurotic psychologist-cum-actor Tobias Funke on Fox's brilliant sitcom Arrested Development. He made a name for himself with the critically lauded HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show. One sketch from that show saw Cross fitted with an electric collar, controlled by a senator who was responsible for making sure that the subversive smartass didn't set foot on a stage. During the feel-good '90s, the piece seemed closer to shtick than satire; by 2004, it might have been ripped from the headlines, as most of this album is.

Recorded in January, the disc features more commentary than jokes, revealing that Cross's sets are edging toward uncut political invective. Mortified that proposed legislation sought to ban sodomy while leaving bestiality legal, he adopts a bellowing drawl, loudly raving about the pleasures of "legal Texas dog fucking" -- a bit worthy of George Carlin. And though Cross isn't quite in Carlin's league yet, he's getting there.

More by D.X. Ferris

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