Since Trump starting running for office, and especially since he was elected, there has been an ongoing conversation about the nature of comedy in these times: what comedians discuss, and how they discuss it. The debate got me thinking about comedy during the last Republican presidency, under George W. Bush. Even though it’s not one-to-one, there’s something to be learned from the comedy that was produced while Dubya was in office, right after 9/11, when tensions, like today, were extremely high.
David Cross, along with his Alternative Comedy cohorts like Janeane Garofolo, is largely associated with that period. And “Squagels,” his very, very silly joke about Cosi’s attempt to sell square bagels, was maybe his most famous bit of the period, one that would result in his album Shut Up, You Fucking Baby.
It’s not a joke about Bush or terrorism or anything explicitly political. But what makes it interesting is that Cross was doing the bit before 9/11 — including the night of 9/10, when he was hosting a show.
Read Jesse David Fox's interview on Vulture.com or listen to the Good One Podcast here: