Editorials, Print June 26, 2023

Why David Cross Will Never Quit Stand-Up

by Gabe Allen

The Comedian, Writer & Actor Talks Parenting & Life On The Road

David Cross is perhaps best known from his role as the naive and tumultuous psychiatrist Tobias Futge on FOX’s Arrested Development. His voice is also recognizable from the 2007 film reboot of Alvin and the Chipmunks. And comedy nerds have probably seen Cross and Bob Odenkirk’s groundbreaking late ‘90s alt-comedy sketch show, Mr. Show.

Over the past three decades, Cross has made a name for himself as an actor, writer and showrunner for film and television. But if he had to choose one lane for the rest of his career, he’d leave it all behind. His first and only true love is stand-up comedy.

“If I could never do stand-up again, I’d probably go insane,” he tells BandWagon. “It’s complete autonomy. I’m not getting notes from anyone else.”

A Second Scoop of Ice Cream

On June 3, Cross will bring his latest special, Worst Daddy in the World, to the Aggie Theater in Fort Collins. Cross doesn’t actually consider himself the “worst daddy in the world,” but some people do. Namely, according to Cross, evangelical christians and his daughter “if I won’t give her a second ice cream.” 

The show, like much of Cross’ standup, is polemical and sardonic while drawing from enough truth to be both unsettling and hilarious. In a clip released last year, he talks about trying to impart anti-capitalist values on his now kindergarten-aged daughter by whispering to her as she falls asleep.

Cross says his actual parenting efforts aren’t overtly ideological. Instead, he tries to explain the world as he sees it without talking down to her. Even here, he can’t resist cracking a joke.“When she asks me a question about, you know, ‘why is that guy sleeping on the street and why is he asking for money,’ I tell her,” Cross said. “Yeah, I say, ‘it’s because of Jesus.’”

Superfans and Casuals Alike

In actuality, the show covers much more than parenting. As usual, Cross dives into politics with a mix of dry wit and black humor. It’s a comedic disposition that has earned him a culty core of die-hard fans in addition to the many more casual fans that know him through his roles in film and television. 

According to Cross, these super fans are not too hard to spot. Just look for “a little bit of Asperger’s and a profound specific knowledge of me that’s a little disturbing,” he said. “They’re great.”

All joking aside, connecting with new people is one of Cross’ favorite parts of being on tour—casual attendees and superfans alike.

“The best thing is just getting out there and getting away from the bubble that I live in in New York,” he said. “I love getting to travel and go into all of these different places and meeting all of these new people. I’ve been doing it for decades.”

In Case of a Delayed Flight…

After years of airport days, hotel beds and backstage green rooms, Cross has his travel routine dialed in. He’s seen it all, and he’s prepared for the worst. In the event of a long flight delay, he offers this advice: “If a flight is delayed by more than an hour, then add it up and it’s probably worth it to pay for the one-day admission to an airport lounge and drinking for free rather than killing two hours drinking at an airport bar.” 

Cross’s wisdom doesn’t end with urban travel, either. In 2020, he portrayed real-life American outdoorsman, biologist and nature writer Robert Michael Pyle in the biopic The Dark Divide

“It’s good and it’s also fucking beautiful, so don’t watch it on a laptop,” Cross said of the film. The production, directed by documentarian Tom Putnam, was staunchly authentic. Cross weathered thunderstorms, scorching desert heat and perilous stream crossings on camera. Along the way, he learned a thing or two about wilderness survival. 

Unfortunately, he refused to share any tips with Bandwagon and, instead, offered another joke: “Have an assault rifle, a full mag, tactical gear, maybe a kitted out SWAT tank and just lay on top of a million dollars.”