Friday, October 30, 2009

A Dabbling of David Cross

Last Monday night my friend Jamie and I journey to Wilbur Theater in Boston to do something that I've been wanting to do since 2002: see my favorite comedian David Cross live. Cross has been in two of my favorite shows of all time, as himself in the greatest sketch show of all time: “Mr. Show” and as never nude psychiatrist Dr. Tobias Funke.

I have both of his comedy CDs: “Shut Up You Fucking Baby” and “It's Not Funny” and I pretty much have memorized each of them—especially SUYFB. His take on America post 9/11 was as acerbic and spot-on funny as any that I've heard. Not only has his views on the world entertained me, but it's also helped me look at our planet with a different perspective. This tour was to promote his new book of essays, “I Drink for a Reason”, which I am going to purchase very soon.

Like I said, I've been wanting to see Cross ever since I listened to SUYFB for the first time and I've scanned Pollstar and the Boston Phoenix at least once a week to see if he was playing a show in the Boston area. It wasn't until a few months ago that I found out that he was going to be in Boston. Needless to say, I grabbed those tickets quickly.

The Wilbur Theater is a pretty cool place to see a comedy show as it's an old theater with a palpable sense of history behind it. The seats are old-school straight backed ones that aren't very comfortable, but that's ok it makes the listener all that more alert to check out the act. Also there are two over hanging balconies and two private hanging boxes. Jamie and I were in the third to last row in the second balcony, so we were far away, but it didn't matter the old theater has great acoustics.

Last year, my friend Steve and I saw Stella at the Wilbur Theater (Michael Showalater, Michael Ian Black and David Wain) with Eugen Mirman opening for them. Since Steve grew up with Wain, we got awesome seats. Needless to say, that was amazing experience too.

After a warm-up comedian, Cross came on at 7:25 and performed for about two hours. I would have been happy with an hour of material, but this was a solid set of new bits that stretched on for double my expectations. Was ever joke a hit? Of course not, there were some bombs here and there, but for the most part it was really an awesome show.*

* He also showed a five-minute clip of his show that's going to be aired on the BBC called “The Increasing Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret”. It looks awesome and it sucks that it won't be played in the United States for awhile. The show also had a cameo from Cross' TV brother-in-law GOB Bluth, Will Arnett, which made it even better. **

** What also made the show pretty awesome is that he was taping it for either a DVD release or a Comedy Central or HBO special. I'm not why I find this so great and why I can't wait to buy the DVD, I mean I've already seen about 99% of what I'm going to see again, but for some reason I'm pumped for this to come out.

The one thing that I noticed about Cross is that his fans definitely have a look. Most of them are the true hipsters of the city: black, square rimmed glasses, ironic t-shirts, messed up bed head. And the women are similar too. I'm not saying that it's bad, but I guess that if you were to ask these people why they dress and act the way they do, they'd argue that they do so because they're trying to be different. The one problem is that when gathered together like they were last Monday, their actions of dressing different and being unique turns out to be so similar to each other that it's as if they all went to the same store and bought the exact uniform.

Looking over what I've written so far, it occurs to me that there isn't too much to write about a comedy show except to say whether it was good or not, and that's subjective to a bunch of outside influences: such like I listed above: venue, length of fandom, etc. It's occurred to me it's harder to write a comedy review than it is to write a concert review. A writer can convey the concert experience by listing the songs that were played and how the band sounds, but one can't do that with the comedian. It's hard to describe jokes, and unless the comedian was completely bored (like the time I saw David Spade while in college) there's not really too much to tell.

I'm not going to get the jokes correct and even if I did, Cross doesn't tell jokes per se. They're more wry observations on daily life punctuated with vocal inflections. The humor would get lost in my retelling and will not do any justice to the story. Just take my word for it that he was awesomely funny.

About a week after I saw Cross live I ran across this article. In a few words of summary: basically David Cross told the audience in DC that he and his girlfriend Amber Tamblyn were invited to the White House Correspondent's Dinner. While there, Cross said that he snorted a line of coke within yards of President Obama. He explained that he did this to show his friend that he could be “more outrageous”.

I'm not sure if this story is true, though I'd bet that it is, but if it is I thought that it was pretty lame. It's not the snorting of coke or even doing it in front of Obama, I think what I find most lame about it is that seems like something that Johnny Knoxville and Steve-O would do. And they're morons. “Yeah, I snorted coke right near Obama! Beat that, brah!”

One of the things that appealed to me about Cross is that he isn't an idiot, or if he is, he keeps it private.

The bottom line is this: I'm not going to stop laughing at Cross. But sometimes, I suppose that there is just too much information being passed around.*

* You know what, I don't really know what the point of this last story is. It seems to me that it's about being let down by a celebrity or someone that you admire. The thing is, I don't feel all that let down; Cross has made no secret of his drug use and, really why should I give a shit if he jams heroin needles into his eyeballs. I guess I feel more let down comedy-wise than anything else, the guy has built his standup on subtlety and well-crafted, well-thought out jokes. He shouldn't have to succumb to stupid shock jock crap like this. That's basically what my point is.

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