David Cross Still Loves Stand-Up, Hates LA Weather, And Learned A Lot From #TimesUp

David Cross on his "Oh Come On" tour, 2018. (Photo courtesy Just For Laughs)

David Cross's stand-up tour comes to L.A. this weekend. We talked to him about Los Angeles, how he puts a comedy show together, and more — including that infamous New York Times interview.

His stop in L.A. is a bit of a homecoming — though he's currently based in New York, he lived here from the early '90s until 2001. At the time, he was in the Los Feliz and Silver Lake areas.

WHY HE LEFT LA

Cross said he was drawn to the Eastside by the local vibe, often frequenting Mondo Video, the Rustic Inn, the Drawing Room, and other businesses both still-existing and long-gone.

"It was kind of an up-and-coming cool place, and I could ride my bike to Spaceland. I liked it," Cross told us.

But he also had his complaints: "I hate the weather in L.A. — that bums me out. And it was very disconcerting to all of the sudden not have four seasons, but just have slight variations on one season for... ever."

Cross sympathizes with people who live in one part of town and don't see anyone on the other side for a while.

"More than any other city in America, you're kind of — I don't want to say 'stuck' in an area, but there's a tendency to remain in that area," Cross said. "You have to plan out two weeks — like, 'Oh, we're having people over on the 16th.'"

As he started dating his now-wife Amber Tamblyn, he spent his time near her apartment on the Westside. He tries to stay in different parts of town whenever he visits, but his wife still has an apartment there, and her family's in the area.

"So we usually end up on the Westside, which I don't particularly care for," Cross said. "I like the weather when it's 97 degrees in East L.A., then it's a nice 79 degrees on the beach, which I really like. But outside of that, there's nothing I like about it over there."

Cross takes credit for helping the Dodgers beat the Cubs in the playoffs the last time he was staying in L.A., working on Arrested Development. Castmate Jason Bateman is a huge Dodgers fan and takes Cross to a handful of games each year.

"He's got amazing seats, and they're right at the dugout. Whichever Cub would come up to stretch out on the on-deck circle, I would just repeat their names over and over again until they looked at me," Cross told us. "So it was like — 'Anthony Rizzo! Anthony Rizzo! Anthony Rizzo!' And I would just repeat it until he looked over, kind of smiling, and then I'd say, 'Will you follow me on Twitter?'"

We asked him for more of his favorite L.A. stories, but...

"They're all fairly debauched," Cross said, "and I'm trying to be more consciously not putting that stuff out there, just out of consideration to my wife and daughter. And maybe they'll all come out. But yeah, I certainly was living a much different lifestyle back then."

HOW CROSS MAKES COMEDY

Cross still loves doing stand-up more than anything.

"I do stand-up when I get a chance to, and it's still the most exciting thing," Cross said. "There's nothing I enjoy more than getting up on stage."

He said he has no desire for acting to replace doing stand-up.

"If I don't do a tour for five years, it's because I've been so busy," Cross said. "But as opposed to just sitting around going, 'Huh, where's my next project going to come from,' I just put the set together."

He's so busy because he's been higher profile than ever, making a big impact in major films lately (The Post and playing the white voice in Sorry To Bother You, for starters), creating a TV show for the U.K.'s Sky TV, and more.

Cross wasn't sure if he was going to do this tour — but as soon as he found out he had a window between acting projects, he booked it. When asked to explain what people can expect, Cross was plain: "Well, it's stand-up comedy. And it's anywhere from an hour and 15 minutes to an hour and a half."

Cross went on to say his set follows the same formula he uses in all his tours:

  • A third is "just jokes, dumb jokes that have no political ideology behind them — they're just jokes. Anybody can like them"
  • A third is anecdotal, drawn from Cross's own experiences
  • And a third covers current events

His last tour may have been called the Making America Great Again tour, but just like this one, politics isn't what either is all about.

"Of course, some of that is political of course — Trump and his fans and whatever. But I am not a political comic," Cross said.

While there's an overall formula, Cross said he doesn't really sit down and write jokes — it's not in his skill set.

"Something will occur to me," Cross said. "Usually I've got to work it out on stage. ... And there are things that sometimes I think are really funny — the idea's there, and I'll work on it three, four, or five times, and it just isn't working. And then I, you know, go, 'All right, f—- it,' and I abandon that joke or premise."

He just taped a stand-up special as part of the tour, but the release date is TBD.

#TIMESUP AND THAT NEW YORK TIMES INTERVIEW

We caught Cross during a brief break from the tour as he was in the Atlanta area visiting family, caring for his daughter and getting ready to hit the aquarium.

File: Amber Tamblyn and David Cross attend the "Hits" official after-party at Rock & Reilly's on Jan. 21, 2014 in Park City, Utah. (Photo by Andrew H. Walker/Getty Images for Rock and Reilly's)

Cross's wife, Tamblyn, co-founded the Time's Up organization, fighting back against sexual harassment — and Cross has sometimes been part of those conversations.

"Obviously, I've had to cut my sexual harassment way, way down," Cross joked, before adding that he's developed a deeper respect for his wife as she works in a managerial capacity with Time's Up outside anything she's done before.

"And she has to deal with a husband who has his own baggage, who is an outspoken provocateur sometimes," Cross said, "and she has to deal with a lot of people going, 'How can you be married to that awful piece of s—-' because of some joke I said 15 years ago."

Cross also faced criticism this year for a roundtable the Arrested Development cast did with the New York Times, where the show's male actors were seen as exhibiting sexist behavior against their fellow cast member Jessica Walter.

"I think a lot of [the criticism was deserved]," Cross said, adding that the criticism was helpful and helped him to change. "I can tell you what I thought in the moment, and how it felt to me. And if there was no recording or transcript of it, I think I would have remained — I would have had that mindset still. But when you hear it, when you see it, it becomes much clearer."

He added that he thinks the context of the moment was important, but that what he did was wrong regardless of the context.

"The issue became, 'You sat there while a woman you respect, and like, and have worked with and known for 15 years was crying, and you just talked right over her and didn't acknowledge it,' and that is absolutely true, and not right," Cross said.

Cross says he's been changing, and that's seen in his stand-up.

"It's got a flow to it that other shows didn't quite have. And I think part of that is because I have a daughter now — a little girl," Cross said. He said the theme of his daughter weaves its way throughout his all-new material.

You can see the evolving David Cross at the Orpheum this Saturday night, Aug. 18.


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