David Cross

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David Cross (born April 4, 1964) is an Emmy-winning American actor, writer and comedian.


Cross was born in Atlanta, Georgia but grew up in Roswell, Georgia. He briefly attended Emerson College in Massachusetts but dropped out within a year and began his stand-up career. He was part of several comedy troupes in the Boston area, including Cross Comedy, which occasionally performed before and during concerts featuring local bands, most notably the Cavedogs.

Cross began his professional television career as a writer on The Ben Stiller Show. The short-lived Fox Network program hired him toward the end of the series' run, and he occasionally made brief appearances in the sketches. Most notably, he had a speaking role in one of the show's most ambitious sketches, "The Legend of T.J. O'Pootertoot", which was written almost entirely by Cross.

It was during this period that he first met Bob Odenkirk, with whom he would later co-create the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show in 1995. He later co-starred as Tobias Fünke in Arrested Development, another Fox production. In addition to these larger roles, he has made cameo appearances on shows like Just Shoot Me, The Drew Carey Show, NewsRadio, Strangers with Candy, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Since October 2005, Cross has been appearing as Stephen Colbert's archnemesis, a fictional liberal radio talk show host named "Russ Lieber" on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report. He is currently working on an animated series for Comedy Central called Freak Show, which costars H. Jon Benjamin. Cross has appeared several times in the MTV2 show Wonder Showzen.

David Cross later teamed up with Bob Odenkirk to produce a feature film, based on one of their Mr. Show characters, called Run Ronnie Run. The film was satirical of the reality TV craze, and had cameos from many stars. However, Cross and Odenkirk came into creative conflict with the director, Troy Miller, and after nearly two years of production, New Line Cinema sent it straight to DVD.

In 1994 and again in 1999, Cross was a guest voice actor on Joe Frank's radio show, featured in the episodes "The Last Run", "A Hearing", "The OJ Chronicles" and finally, "Jam".

Cross maintains a notable stand-up career consisting of material that often blends left-wing political commentary and crude humor. He has released two highly-successful CDs to date, Shut Up You Fucking Baby! and It's Not Funny. He was also given his own one-hour comedy special on HBO in 1999 entitled The Pride Is Back. In 2004, Shut Up You Fucking Baby! was nominated for a Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album. Cross released his first tour film in 2003 entitled Let America Laugh, and was named number 85 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest standups of all time.

In 2004, Cross provided voices for a Marine in the Xbox game Halo 2, and a store clerk named Zero in the game Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. Both characters were often whiny and humorous in nature. He was the voice of the violent, alcoholic "Happy-Time Harry" doll in Aqua Teen Hunger Force (credited as Sir Willups Brightslymoore). 2004 saw him direct the music video 10am Automatic for the two man blues-rock band The Black Keys. The video spoofs public access television.

In April 2005, Cross criticized stand-up comedian Larry the Cable Guy in a Rolling Stone interview, saying "It's a lot of anti-gay, racist humor — which people like in America — all couched in 'I'm telling it like it is.' He's in the right place at the right time for that gee-shucks, proud-to-be-a-redneck, I'm-just-a-straight-shooter-multimillionaire-in-cutoff-flannel-selling-ring-tones act. That's where we are as a nation now. We're in a state of vague American values and anti-intellectual pride." This caused Larry to devote a chapter to Cross and the "political correctness left" in his book GIT-R-DONE, claiming that Cross had "screwed with my fans, it was time for me to say something". Cross responded with an Open Letter to Larry the Cable Guy posted on his website. He continues to mock Larry in his stand-up, and satirized Blue Collar TV during a guest appearances on Wonder Showzen. In December 2005, he ended his performance on Comedy Central's "Last Laugh '05" by yelling "GIT-R-DONE!" mockingly to the audience as he left the stage. He also pokes fun at Larry the Cable Guy's comedy in Freakshow, with a character called "Danny the Plumber Guy".

Cross played a bad local Morning zoo radio DJ, possessing many of the stereotypes he described in a Shut Up You Fucking Baby bit, in The Strokes' music video for "Juicebox". He also appeared in The New Pornographers' video for "Use It" and, along with Odenkirk, Yo La Tengo's video for "Sugarcube".

Cross has also been a contributor to Vice Magazine, writing a column titled My America.

In October of 2005, Cross was sued by Nashville club owner Thomas Weber, accusing Cross of taping him without permission for Let America Laugh in violation of Weber's privacy rights. Weber put up a website called werenotlaughing.com, a play on the title of David's second label released album "It's Not Funny". In April 2006 the case against David Cross himself was dismissed, leaving Thomas Weber to face Warner Music, Subpop Records, WEA Corporation, and the Alternative Distribution Alliance. In June, the four companies together offered Weber an 'offer of judgment' of $30,000 total, however Weber attempted to force the quartet into paying him $30,000 each. Ultimately Weber received nothing and the case was dismissed on July 25th, 2006.

Cross has also had a feud with actor Jim Belushi. While filming a movie they both had parts in, Cross was asked by a woman on-set if he could get Belushi's autograph for her son that was sick at the time. Cross politely agreed and when he told Belushi the situation and asked for the autograph, Belushi responded by saying something to the effect of, "God, I thought you were going to get me laid and you're giving me this sick kid shit!" Cross was disgusted by Belushi's comments and has shared this story with audiences at his stand-up appearances. He's even written satirical short stories on the Mr. Show website about his experiences with "The Belush", his sarcastic nickname for Belushi. During an appearance of Belushi's blues-cover band, Belushi invited some young female members of the audience to come up and dance with him on stage. Unbeknownst to Belushi, David Cross was in the audience as a joke with his friends and took the opportunity to rush the stage. Cross began to dance in a sarcastic, overly enthusiastic way while Belushi quickly tried to push him off stage. Cross was immediately removed from the concert venue by security as can be seen in a document of the incident on YouTube. Cross has since given several jabs at Belushi on his animated show, Freak Show. One character, while reading Belushi's autobiography, immediately says, "I guess it IS okay to charge 60 dollars for a crappy blues-cover band."


  • Shut Up You Fucking Baby! (2002) 2CD
  • Let America Laugh (2003) DVD
  • Rock Against Bush Vol. 1 (2004) CD/DVD (featured clip on bonus DVD)
  • It's Not Funny (2004) CD

Partial filmography


  • The TV Wheel (Pilot) (1995)
  • Mr. Show with Bob and David (1995)
  • The Drew Carey Show (1996, 1997) - Earl
  • NewsRadio (1996, 1998)
  • Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist (1997)
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast (1997)
  • David Cross: The Pride Is Back (1999)
  • Tenacious D (1999)
  • Home Movies (2001)
  • Just Shoot Me (1999, 2000, 2003)
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force - Happy Time Harry
  • Oliver Beene (2003) - Voice Over
  • Arrested Development (2003-2006) - Dr. Tobias Fünke
  • Crank Yankers (2003, 2004)
  • Celebrity Poker Showdown (2004)
  • The Colbert Report (2005-present) - Russ Lieber
  • Last Laugh 2005 (2005)
  • Tom Goes to the Mayor (2005)
  • Wonder Showzen (2006)
  • Freak Show (2006) - Benny, Primi & Various
  • Night of Too Many Stars (2006) - Himself


  • Destiny Turns on the Radio (1995) - Ralph Dellaposa
  • The Truth About Cats & Dogs (1996) - Male Radio Caller/Bookstore Man
  • The Cable Guy (1996) - Sales Manager
  • Waiting for Guffman (1996) - UFO Expert
  • Men in Black (1997) - Newton, the Morgue Attendant
  • Small Soldiers (1998) - Irwin Wayfair
  • Ghost World (2000) - Gerrold
  • Chain of Fools (2000) - Andy
  • One Day... (2001) - The Turd
  • Life Without Dick (2001) - Rex
  • Pootie Tang (2001) - Pootie Tang imposter
  • Dr. Dolittle 2 (2001) - Dog/Animal Groupie #2
  • Scary Movie 2 (2001) - Dwight Hartman
  • Men in Black II (2002) - Newton, the Morgue Attendant's twin brother
  • Martin & Orloff (2002) - Dan Wasserman
  • Run Ronnie Run (2002) - Ronnie
  • Melvin Goes to Dinner (2003) - Seminar Leader
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) - Rob
  • She's the Man (2006) - Principal Gold
  • Curious George (2006) - Junior Bloomsberry (voice)
  • School for Scoundrels (2006) - Ian

Music videos

  • Watery Hands by Superchunk (1997) - Actor
  • Sugarcube by Yo La Tengo (1997) - Actor
  • 10am Automatic by The Black Keys (2004) - Director
  • Juicebox by The Strokes (2005) - Actor
  • Use It by The New Pornographers (2005) - Actor

Video games


  • "I don't think Osama bin Laden sent those planes in to attack us because he hated our freedom. I think he did it because of our support for Israel, and our ties with the Saudi family and all our military bases in Saudi Arabia. You know why I think that? Because that's what he fucking said! Are we a nation of 6-year-olds? Answer, yes." — from It's Not Funny
  • (On the strong political nature of his stand-up act): "I've always been a bit of a news junkie, but not as much as I am now. Hopefully that will change in a matter of months and I can go back to making more abortion jokes." — Creem interview [1]
  • (On his atheism and Judaism) "I'm an atheist, I don't believe in God, so therefore I would think that I can't be Jewish, basically because ... Judaism is predicated on a belief in God. So if I don't believe in God I can't be Jewish right? But... no... you can't. Judaism is the only religion that does this, it came up with this bullshit, arbitrary rule, that if your mother's Jewish, then you're Jewish. So it doesn't matter what I believe in, just Jew for life." - Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!, 2002
  • "The Bible truly is one of the funniest books I've ever read. ... It was written thousands of years ago, when people were even dumber than they are today. ... It's absurd to believe in that shit." - Shut Up, You Fucking Baby!, 2002


  • In 2005, he contributed to the UNICEF benefit song, "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?".
  • He has publicly declared his intense dislike of bands like Creed, Evanescence, Linkin Park, P.O.D., and Staind (once saying in his act, "I would rather hear the death rattle of my only child than listen to that shit") as well as the decision of so-called "alternative rock" radio stations to play them and other similar bands. Cross once met Scott Stapp, lead singer of Creed, at a celebrity poker game, who greeted him by sardonically saying, "Thanks for the words." Cross went on to win first place in that game [1].
  • David attended Northside High School of the Performing Arts in Atlanta, Georgia (now known as North Atlanta High School). He was a member of the Class of 1982. He was elected Treasurer of his Senior class and was voted Most Humorous by his classmates. His astrological sign is Aries. According to the Northside High School Yearbook of 1982, his most embarrassing moment was "being asked this ridiculously immature question" ("What was your most embarrassing moment?").

External links


  1. David Cross, It's Not Funny (Sub Pop 2004) (CD)