David Cross Takes it Back to the Stage

David Cross

Photo by Daniel Bergeron

David Cross has multiple ways of making you laugh. The comedian has dabbled in virtually every form of popular entertainment, from sketch comedy (Mr. Show, with Bob Odenkirk) to books (I Drink for a Reason, Hollywood Said No!) to sitcoms (Arrested Development, The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret) and feature films (Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, Alvin and the Chipmunks). Now Cross has returned to standup comedy with his Making America Great Again!! Tour. His last performance in Las Vegas was 14 years ago, but Cross is eager to return to the Vegas stage—and the sports books.

This is the first standup tour you’ve done in six years. It’s also the largest—over 50 dates. Why the long haul?

Partly because I have the ability to, you know, because I’m just so busy. And there’s that feeling of, “I’m going out on the road, so fuck it! I’m going to do 30 dates, why not do 60 dates? Why not do 90 dates?” You know, if you’re out there, you’re out there. It’s exhausting, psychologically it’s pretty grueling, but it’s been fun and interesting. Educational, too. I’m happy to do it.

I remember very vividly saying to my last audience at the end of the last tour, “This is so much fun. I love you guys. I promise I won’t wait five years for another tour.” And then…

You planned this tour while you were recovering from shoulder surgery …

The surgeries kind of necessitated that I would have to be in the same place for a period of time, and I couldn’t travel. I couldn’t do anything in front of a camera because my arm was useless, and then wrapped up in a thing. So, I thought with all that free time—well, free time being relative—I’d take all the material that I collected over the last five years and put together a tour.

The tour is called Making America Great Again!! Will there be political humor?

I am doing some political stuff. I am balancing it out. That’s part of my life, and I certainly haven’t brought up specific things or not brought up specific things based on an audience. So, there’s definitely some political stuff, but not really that much. The things that are apparent I address, and then there are some continuous things that are linked to the social climate that I talk about. But it’s a mix of jokes and anecdotal shit—it has nothing to do with politics or religion—and then there’s political/religious stuff.

You did a Mr. Show follow-up with Bob Odenkirk for Netflix, W/ Bob & David. What was it like, coming back to that universe after 16 years? Was it strange?

It was immediate. It was effortless. It was so joyful, and fun. There was a lot of laughter in those four months, or whatever it was we were together. We definitely want to do it again. But it’s all about scheduling.

You’ve worked on Arrested Development in the United States and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret in Britain. What’s the difference between making sitcoms in the two countries? Which working style do you prefer?

I am way more into the British model. You’re not doing it for a network that cares so much about ratings—networks here are selling cars and pants and soda and macaroni and cheese. You don’t have to worry about that so much in the British model, or at all really. You’re not in a focus group, they’re not testing it and they let you do what they hired you to do. There’s no looking at syndication, or anything like that. Then because it’s successive shows, you write [all] the shows before you shoot them. And then, you shoot all the shows before you post them. That makes a huge difference—it’s just a better way to tell a story.

Anything you like to do when you visit Vegas?

I’m looking forward to the show and looking forward to losing money almost immediately when I get there. I’ll play craps, maybe blackjack, but mostly I like sports futures. About two years ago, I was about 90 feet away from potentially making 4,400 bucks on a very small bet when I picked Kansas City to win the World Series. I went to the final, the very end of Game 7—it was close.

You’ve done standup, albums, movies—is there anything you absolutely wouldn’t do? Musicals, porn, cooking shows…?

That’s a good question. I wouldn’t do The Apprentice. I would never, ever perform on a cruise. There’s nothing, really … I’d do a musical. Fuck it! Yeah!

David Cross

May 7, 7 p.m. at The Joint, $29.95-$125, 702-693-5222, HardRockHotel.com/Las-Vegas-Concerts/The-Joint.