Interview: David Cross at The Pageant in St. Louis Tonight For “Oh Come On” World Tour
The last time David Cross set foot on a stage in St. Louis was in 2001 when he performed during Welcome Week at Saint Louis University, a Jesuit institution.
Now, anyone who is familiar with him and what he has consistently brought to the stage for nearly 30 years, knows that it’s probably not the best idea to have him kick off another round of Academia de Jesus. Perhaps the party planning committee should stick to more traditional team building exercises and chummy fellowship pot lucks.
I had a chance to catch up with Cross before he kicks off the last leg of the tour tonight in Birmingham, Alabama. After a bit of small talk, it was time to catch up.
Danya Artimisi: Mr. Cross! Thanks for doing this on such short notice!
David Cross: Sure!
DA: So, what would you like our Jesuit readers to know about the show?
DC: Yeah! They should come on down. Sit towards the back though. That’d be better, but definitely come down and hear some alternative viewpoints.
DA: Do you think they’ll bring with them their open minds?
DC: The last time I was there at the university, a couple hundred people stayed and loved it. There were, like, 900 to begin with and maybe 200 stayed, so there were definitely 200 who had open minds.
DA: So, I’m super excited about your show. We’re sitting second row. What do your fans have to look forward to on Sunday night at the Pageant?
DC: Ummm, you know, it’s pretty much an hour of me telling stories about trout fishing and that’s pretty much what it is. It’s really changed over the years. It’s softened. It’s become more accessible.
DA: Would you say that it’s softened due to your parenthood?
DC: Ummm….no….I’ve just been on Lithium and Thorazine. You know, it takes the edge off.
DA: (Laughs) Awesome.
DC: No, it’s a new set and it kind of follows the same sort of composition in a sense that my other sets do which is, you know, roughly a third are jokes, and roughly a third is anecdotal / story stuff, and roughly a third is current events / topical / religious / whatever. There’s definitely a feeling of a thread to the set that never existed before. It’s not really overt. It’s not like it’s expertly crafted, but it does feel like there is a bit more of a thread to this set in it’s entirety as a whole. Part of that is ‘cause I have a kid.
DA: So fatherhood does kind of inspire you in a way?
DC: It’s a lot of things. It informs. There’s nothing like, “I’m not talking about this anymore because I have a kid.” And I talk about it during the set and everybody should know that it’s not an hour of dad jokes. If you are familiar with my past stand up, it’s got all of those elements. It’s still there, always will be. There’s just now an additional thing to talk about.
DA: So, you’re on the last leg of your tour now?
DC: I was in Europe about 3 weeks ago, then took 2 and a half weeks off, then had 4 dates in Texas and New Orleans but those got cancelled. So, there was a chunk of time off. Three weeks, I suppose. So, I was in Knoxville last night, Birmingham tonight, Chattanooga tomorrow, St. Louis, then I go home for 2 days, then I go to Buffalo. Then the tour ends officially in Brooklyn at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
DA: The tour started in June, so you’ve been gone a while. Do you ever get to see the fam? Do they ever go out on the road with you?
DC: Oh, I would never do this or spend that amount of time away from my family. No, they were on the bus; we had a bus. This is the second time in a row that this happened completely by coincidence, but the last two times, she had a book come out right when my tour was happening. So, she would be at a bookstore, we would roll into town on the bus and we had a crib installed in the back of the bus and we had our nanny with us. She would roll in and do a bookstore reading and signing and I would do a show later that night, then we would move to the next thing.
DA: A little travelin’ fam!
DC: Oh, yeah. It was great. There’s no way I would do it without them. The European leg was really truncated from what it originally was on the last tour and I only did 7 dates over 12 days. Before that, the most time I had been away from my daughter was 3 days. So, that was 12 days and that was miserable.
DA: A couple of different questions. Who would you say made you laugh when you were 15 years old?
DC: My friends. My good friends. You know, we would get in trouble. You know, we were all mildly anti-authority, and we were all into Python and shit like that. So, yeah, water seeks it’s own level.
DA: Absolutely. What about when you were 25?
DC: You know, the answer’s going to be same! It’s my friends. I have a lot of funny friends. I’ve been very lucky to know and get to hang out with lots of funny friends. At 25, it was comedy! I was in Boston, doing that stuff. A lot of people that are famous now, you know, we weren’t famous then. You know, just havin’ a good time.
DA: And what a time to do it…..when you’re 25.
DC: Yeah, I was a complete fuck up.
DA: So, who would you say makes you laugh now?
DC: You know, my wife, very few people know or realize how funny she is. She’s really, really funny, ballsy. You know, most people are very familiar with the very serious side of her. But she’s really funny. She’s one of the funniest people I’ve ever met. So, it’s mostly her and again, my friends!
DA: These friends!…. So, what are some roles that you’ve auditioned for that you’re glad you didn’t get?
DC: Oh?! (looooooong pause) I’m trying to think. I don’t think there’s anything I auditioned for that I’m glad I didn’t get. Nothing I can think of off hand. I think of a lot of things that I got fairly close to or really, really close to that I didn’t get that I always think, “That would’ve been great to do.” But, I can’t think of…. there probably is some correct answer to this. But I can’t think of anything off hand where I auditioned and didn’t get something and am glad that I didn’t.
DA: Do you foresee anything beyond the upcoming release of the last eight episodes of Arrested Development or is that just done?
DC: I just don’t see it happening. That isn’t to say it won’t, but there are a number of issues. It’s not simply one or two things. There are a great number of them that did not exist five years ago, or when we were getting this together.
DA: I can imagine. It was a pretty dramatic change going from a network television show to a Netflix series. But I can see the drastic difference and what changes could come about that are largely beyond anyone’s control at this point.
DC: Yeah, and I would say, just speaking for myself, there are a number of things that would have to change for me to go back and do it. Especially as I get older. You know what? Life’s too short. I’ve got a kid now. I’m not gonna go and work like that again. I’m just not. I’m not going to uproot my family and move them to L.A. for – you don’t even know how long it’s going to be. I just wouldn’t do that to them. I wouldn’t do it to myself. And I say this with understanding that it can be an amazing thing to work on and I would love it to fall together the way it could and to work on it again. It would be great. It’s a fun character. It’s an amazing cast to get to work with – and crew. I just don’t know that it’s going to get to that.
DA: And sometimes it’s just okay to leave it alone. It’s magnificent. It was great. And we’ll just leave it at that. But most importantly – what is paramount – is that you’re in the right headspace to make these decisions that are best for you and your family. That’s great and I really admire that. But, I’m getting close on time and I want to ask you about one of your recent tweets. You said, “Now through election day I’m donating $5 from every ticket sold for the rest of the Oh Come On dates to @letamericavote”. It’s an organization that fights against voter suppression. Could you tell me a little bit more about that?
DC: Well, they target specific states where there is a particularly egregious amount of suppression going on. One of them is Georgia, which is my home state, who has a wonderful, wonderful candidate running for governor who is Stacey Abrams and just an awful piece of shit, underhanded, duplicitous, lying cheat Kemp who is running as a Republican. That is important to me. Also, I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Jason Kander who started it in Kansas City where he was running for Mayor there. He’s such a cool, decent guy – he and his wife – I really liked talking with them. It’s a very worthwhile cause and it’s a shame that it’s necessary for that to exist. I would much prefer I make contributions and donate money, enough for it to go to helping sick people, or helping people achieve some sort of justice. But it’s really a shame that money has to be diverted to a thing that should just be a no-brainer.
DA: It should already exist.
DC: Yes, it should already exist. And in a way, it’s taking money directly out of the mouths of hungry people or taking medicine away from sick people because that’s where my money would be going.
DA: Or resources. It’s taking resources away from needy people, whether it be healthcare or food, or clothing, shelter, whatever. You’re right. It is depleting those resources.
DC: Yes. It is a very much worthwhile cause and Jason is a real stand-up guy. Hopefully it makes a difference.
DA: Great. You are a wonderful human being and I thank you so much for taking time to do this with me. We’ll see you on Sunday night.
DC: Awesome! Looking forward to it.
For tickets and more info, visit thepageant.com.