Therapy in Hardcover


David Cross likes the word “poo.” David Cross does not like Fox News. David Cross loves to hate reality TV.

Take those three premises, try to make them funny and you've basically got I Drink For A Reason, a collection of comical essays by the dude best known for playing Tobias F?nke on “Arrested Development.”

I Drink for A Reason is, at its best moments, funny in a mild, easy-target sort of way. But it also seems to be an outlet for a very bitter person to skewer his weird little pet peeves, and the essays with that quality pollute the rest of the book.

For example, Cross is at his funniest when he's not really trying to prove a point. The gem here is “Minutes of the Development and Programming Meeting for FOX Television's New Season,” in which Cross imagines network executives brainstorming ideas for a show like America's Nudest Teens! and America's Least Favorite Horse.

“Ideas for T-Shirts To Be Sold At Urban Outfitters,” basically a list of slogans for clothes to be worn by wannabe hipsters, is so dead-on it almost can't be called satire (I don't think it's a coincidence, by the way, that the only topics Cross succeeds in making truly humorous are the “gimme” topics many other comedians also lampoon).

But Cross has way too many essays in which he makes fun of organized religion, the “stupidity” of middle class America, and a handful of pet targets, like Bill O'Reilly, Mormons, and (for whatever reason) Whoopi Goldberg. Cross comes back to these topics over and over again and delights in pointing out why he thinks they are ridiculous. It got to the point where I thought “Okay, David Cross. I get it. You're so enlightened that you don't need religion. You're so above celebrity culture you've never glanced at Us Weekly in the supermarket checkout aisle. You're just on such a higher plane from everyone else, aren't you? Get over it already.” I got so tired of Cross' vitriol I skipped over “Bill O'Reilly Fantasy” and only skimmed “Beef With Jim Belushi,” just because the thought of hearing Cross pick on another marginal celebrity made my face kind of hurt.

Don't get me wrong ? humor can be edgy, it can be dark, it can even be offensive (to a point). It just seems that in “I Drink For A Reason” Cross is using humor as a means to expose an audience to these weird, very personal little vendettas he's been silently nurturing, away in some darkened room of his subconscious, for way too long. I don't think it means I have no sense of humor if I don't want to read that.

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