David Cross

By: Mike Fleisch
April 4, 2013


You can’t bullshit a bullshitter, and DAVID CROSS (born 1964) won’t stand for it. He’s justly proud of his smarts, openly critical of anti-intellectual audiences and comedians, repeatedly picking fights over celebrity pretense and the performance of blue-collar bravado. Jim Belushi, James Lipton, and Larry the Cable Guy have all been stung by the business ends of his attacks, and felt the need to respond; usually, Cross is happy to simply observe something awful and re-present. His stand-up smacks you from the horrible places you don’t let your head go, and punctuates it with a command to laugh. Not the PC liberal he’s made out to be, onstage impressions have included crack babies and an ecstatic Stephen Hawking. From 1995–98, Cross and Bob Odenkirk’s Mr. Show let us feel what it would be like to surf the web, bouncing Flying Circus-style from sketch to sketch, links throughout. Cross’s voice starts with evil nerd and ranges to warm stoner, but it’s his stunned smartass glare that wins you over, and pride that keeps you.


HUMORISTS at HILOBROW: Michael O’Donoghue | Jemaine Clement | Andy Kaufman | Danny Kaye | George Ade | Jimmy Durante | Jack Benny | Aziz Ansari | Don Rickles | Godfrey Cambridge | Eric Idle | David Cross | Stewart Lee | Samuel Beckett | Jerry Lewis | Joanna Lumley | Jerome K. Jerome | Phil Silvers | Edward Lear | Tony Hancock | George Carlin | Stephen Colbert | Tina Fey | Keith Allen | Russell Brand | Michael Cera | Stan Laurel | Ricky Gervais | Gilda Radner | Larry David | Chris Pontius | Dave Chappelle | Jimmy Finlayson | Paul Reubens | Peter Sellers | Buster Keaton | Flann O’Brien | Lenny Bruce | Sacha Baron Cohen | Steve Coogan | PG Wodehouse | A.J. Liebling | Curly Howard | Fran Lebowitz | Charlie Kaufman | Stephen Merchant | Richard Pryor | James Thurber | Bill Hicks | ALSO: Comedy and the Death of God

On his or her birthday, HiLobrow irregularly pays tribute to one of our high-, low-, no-, or hilobrow heroes. Also born this date: Comte de Lautremont, Elmer Bernstein.

READ MORE about men and women born on the cusp between the Original Generation X (1954–1963) and Reconstructionist (1964–1973) Generation.


Cuspers, Haw-Haw, HiLo Heroes

What do you think?

  1. Twelve years ago, I was “Production Coordinator” on a little indie film called “A Bad Situationist,” by Sam Seder (my responsibilities included getting the restaurants of NYC to donate food). The narrative unfortunately revolved around a fictional son of Joe Lieberman who destroyed a downtown skyscraper to win the affections of a French architect, a hard sell in the fall of 2001.

    Now primarily a progressive talk show host, Seder ran in comedy circles and asked his friends to act in the movie: David Cross, Sarah Silverman, Janeane Garofalo, H. Jon Benjamin, Ross Brockley, Marc Maron, Robert Schimmel, Stephen Colbert, Todd Barry, Jon Glaser… occupying various points in the spectrum as they transitioned from kind of recognizable to pretty famous. Cross mentioned that he was considering a plasma TV set, and someone else asked him if he knew that they cost several thousand dollars, which he did.

    At the time, Cross’ widest mainstream exposure had been as the deceptive Donnie on Just Shoot Me, with the catchphrase, “Chicken pot, chicken pot, chicken pot pie,” achieving front-and-center placement in the network ads. Sam shared that David really preferred to talk about “his” work (stand-up, Mr. Show), and though Cross’ own sensibility is closer to Arrested Development’s than that of Just Shoot Me, I stand by my decision to leave out Dr. Tobias Fünke; for all his genius, he already receives enough attention.

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