David Cross is tired of your sniveling. “The pussification of people is annoying,” the actor/comedian sighs. And so on his first stand-up tour in six years, Making American Great Again!, Cross is here to knee your preciousness square in the babymaker.
During the most recent Bush administrations, your comedy functioned as a sort of political pressure valve for plenty of people. Then, your last release, Bigger and Blackerer, had a little bit more of a personal dimension. Where are you nowadays in terms of balancing the personal and the topical? I think it’s a pretty even balance. I’ve never considered myself a political comedian—I’m a comedian who brings up political or topical subject matter. On this tour, the evening has shaped up to be what I’d say it usually is, which is about a third anecdotal stuff, a third political, religious-type stuff and then a third of just stupid, silly jokes.
You’d think someone buying a ticket to see you would know what to expect at this point, but do some people still get offended at your shows? Yep, at almost every one. I’ve done 50-some odd shows at this point, at 95 percent of them, I’d say, I have people walk out.
In other creative mediums, like film or music, pandering to the audience is generally considered a negative. But in comedy, it’s almost expected. I feel no obligation to any of that stuff except to be funny and have a point. I don’t do anything for mere shock value. There’s a point behind it. If everyone’s not laughing, ever, then I’m not doing my job. But if there are 30 people who aren’t laughing, but 1,800 who are, then I’m doing my job.
Does the audience’s political temperament vary much from region to region? Not really. I would say that in some of the shows I’ve done in smaller places, especially the South, there is a greater appreciation for what I’m doing. The reaction is palpable. And some of the less-great shows have been in major cities. I think probably the worst show I had in terms of people being upset and yelling and heckling was in Northampton, Massachusetts, which is a very, very liberal town. I find a lot of those people to be the most intolerant, insufferable, humorless people around.
You haven’t played Vegas in over a decade. Is that reflective of the market itself? It’s obviously very casino-driven in terms of comedy venues. That’s exactly what it is. I did a show a couple weeks ago at Foxwoods Casino, and it wasn’t awful, but it wasn’t great—a lot of people get comps or whatever. My stuff isn’t across-the-board, generic, family-friendly. But Las Vegas is a city, and a cosmopolitan one, so it should be a little different than being isolated in a massive complex in the middle of the woods in Connecticut.
David Cross May 7, 8 p.m., $30-$125. The Joint, 702-693-5222.