Last night at the 92nd Street Y, subway-reader Michael Cera interviewed David Cross about his long career, his pioneering style of comedy, and how the producer of Alvin and The Chipmunks truly fucked Cross over. Cera—who Cross admitted was his third choice behind David Brooks and (the very dead) Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn—played the odd role of both interviewer and coworker, but became more comfortable as the evening wore on (and the bottle of wine they shared on stage emptied).
- To sate the diehard Arrested Development fans in attendance, Cera immediately asked Cross about the release of the next season on Netflix and a possible film version: “I don’t know if there’s going to be a movie. The next season of the show will air, sorry, will stream in May. They were shooting for earlier but that got extended because of editing. So let’s just say early to middle of May. There will be 14-15 episodes. There was going to be 10, but then everything got stretched out for your enjoyment. Because why not? At least this time we don’t have to worry about selling jeans on Fox TV."
- Cera asked Cross about his childhood, which was spent habitually moving around the country before settling as an outsider in Atlanta at the age of 10. “I was always different... I was brought up in a hippie-ish household. I remember there was a double-album in my home, some peace concert with Joan Baez and it’s where I learned to loathe that music. To hate anything kind of earnest, soulful, or simplistic that just said 'let’s not be mean.'” Cross followed his passion for complicated humor and critique to Boston, where he recounted for the audience some of the absurdist comedy he performed with other now- famous up-and-comers like Louis C.K., Jon Benjamin, and Marc Maron. “We were doing it just to make each other laugh.”
- When Cross, who now lives in DUMBO, was asked by an audience member about an ideal date, he reflected on Seamless.com’s recent, mystifying subway advertising campaign: “I would take you on the F train, because on it there is a wraparound big ad for Seamless.com. Seamless.com advertises an App that you can text for delivery food. You no longer have to talk to a person anymore. One of their slogans is, and I’m paraphrasing here, ‘Seamless.com—Getting to third base just got a lot faster.’ And we all know what third base is. We all know that third base is finger- fucking. So their advertisement to you is: ‘Use our App, and you will finger-fuck your date quicker than you would if you didn’t use Seamless.’ I hope that answers your question about a perfect date.”
- Cross also rehashed some of his early stand-up characters, including an impressionist with a tracheotomy and a mentally handicapped comedian (both of which drew some uncomfortable groans from the audience). He then discussed his breakout 2002 comedy album, Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!, which dealt with American hypocrisy in the aftermath of 9/11: “Where my comedy really solidified was when Bush was elected. I couldn’t understand how craven and crass he was, and how dumb other people were for electing him. I come from a blue city in a red region, and I think the sense of ‘how can you not see what’s happening’ really drove me... and that was when I was becoming more of a responsible guy as well. But my comedy took a turn when Bush was elected... so many people went to the Right during that time. Dennis Miller said he woke up on 9/11 and said, well, ‘enough’s enough’. I woke up on 9/11 and I was scared... and I was way more to the Left. I was like, ‘This is crazy—I know why this happened, I’m not condoning it, but I know why this happened.' And it turned out saying that then was not so popular.”
- And finally, Cross once again lashed out at his Alvin and The Chipmunks producer, Karen Rosenthal, who he blamed for making filming of the BBC’s The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (which Cross starred in) virtually impossible: “She didn’t just inconvenience me—she fucked me. It was all unnecessary. You know that there are people in life who have this notion, this way of living, of having to win. Of winning... Of making money. That’s not why I got into this business. These people think in the mindset of that shitty show Entourage that’s not how I think, or act. I think that’s reprehensible, useless, and a gross way to live and think and those people are bad for the planet and humanity.”
Max Rivlin-Nadler, who wrote this piece, is a freelance writer in New York City.