David Cross’ endless stream of comedic and tragicomic TV characters frequently endure beyond his expectations, and that’s a reflection on his career as a whole. From revived turns on Arrested Development and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret to recent stints on Goliath and Archer, the comedian rarely takes a break. He’s now capping off his latest stand-up tour with a special, Oh, Come On, that he filmed during stops in Asheville, North Carolina and Birmingham, Alabama. Comedy Dynamics Network will launch the special on May 10 across the iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Xbox platforms and through cable providers.
As always, the acerbic, opinionated comedian views our crazy world though an unfiltered lens and lends insight to moments to which many would prefer to cast a blind eye. From frank discussions on couples colonics to political correctness to twists on humor and tragedy and everything in between, his new special shines light on why his sharp brand of wit remains superior. Cross was gracious enough to sit down with Uproxx to discuss this special, along with a certain Arrested Development cast dust-up and so much more.
We find out at the end of this special why it earned the “Oh, Come On” title. Is there any spoiler-free clue you can offer to our readers?
Well, not spoiler free, that would give it away. I just thought I like that virtually everybody assumes it means, “Oh, Come On!” with this ridiculous thing called life, you know the times we live in. But it actually has a specific reason to be the title that has nothing to do with that, although I do like the sentiment. As you said, you find out at the end.
Even though you cover a wide range of material here, what sticks out the most is describing your couples colonic. You go into sweaty, graphic detail. Did you expect that to be material while you were enduring the experience?
Oooh, that’s a good question. It happened a while ago, so actually the couples colonic story and the encore bit (which gives the show its title) were things that I only did during part of my last tour, and it was nice to have. It didn’t fit in with the flow of everything, so I kept it in the encore, and I’d do one of those at the end. Obviously, the colonics story, I fleshed out, and it grew as I started doing it specifically for the set. Well, I don’t know if I [realized it was material]. I’m sure I did. That’s just sort of one of the unfortunate byproducts of being a standup is, you know, even if you’re experiencing tremendous physical or emotional pain, there’s this little, nagging voice like, “Oh, how can I turn this into a bit?”
Speaking of potentially freaking out people, Chris Rock recently argued (in the context of Kevin Hart stepping down from the Oscars) that no one can tell “offensive and funny” jokes anymore. Is that true?
Well, that has everything to do with what the offensive remark is. I think something that is kind of homophobic and hurtful and the kind of generalization that some people consider offensive and others don’t, well, I just wouldn’t do that because it’s not my personal taste. I’ve got plenty of jokes that require the understanding that there are gay people around to get the punchline, and it’s about your intent, the way you frame it, what your attitude is. There are some comics who suffer from the “Oh, that’s kind of a funny joke, but you said that really angrily.” Like they’re angry at gay people. And I’m just using gay people because you mentioned the Kevin Hart thing. But there are all kinds of ways to be offensive. I don’t sit down and think, “I need an offensive joke!” I rarely cut or edit anything, but occasionally, somebody will edify me as to why this thing that I don’t think is offensive is actually quite offensive to a lot of people. And if I can’t really defend it or justify it, then I’ll cut it. Again, I’ve only really had to do that in my lifetime maybe three or four times, but that’s the long answer. The short answer is that there are numerous ways to be offensive, and I’m self-conscious of trying to offend (if I’m going to offend) to not have it be like … rape victims. That, to me, is offensive.
You’ve talked to us before about how Twitter can be a scary place. Are you conscious of how, since then, more public figures have lost gigs over tweets, or do you just do your thing?
Both. I am conscious of it, and I definitely regret some tweets, which is a new thing. If I’m doing a set, I’ve had multiple experiences where I deliver a joke, and I can see the audience’s reaction, and then I can gauge it from there. But with a tweet, especially when you’re drunk, as I am in the latter part of the day — [to] tweet something I’ll think is really funny, and I’ll wake up to a number of people who are upset. And then I’d say a third of them time, I’m like, “Oh god, they’re right, that’s a terrible joke, and I can see why.” It’s such a different platform, and I really don’t utilize it to its fullest, that’s for sure. But if you can’t defend that thing, and also, there’s no such thing as a conversation on Twitter, so if you say that dumb, offensive thing, then the backpeddling just gets called out for backpeddling. It’s really tough to discern genuineness and contrition, and it’s just a terrible place to think you’re gonna have a dialogue about something important.