David Cross on his friendship with Bob Odenkirk, the formation of Anti-SNL and why he would like to be the Cheetos' new pitcher (2023)

What's your favorite David Cross? In his nearly 35-year career, the Emmy-winning entertainer has done a little of everything. You might love the sketch comic created along with his former collaboratorBob Odenkirk, createdHerr Show, the influential and still stellar series that was one of L.A.'s epicenters.alternative comedyRevolution of the 1990s: You might prefer his portrayal of Tobias Funke, the wonderfully ineffective brother-in-law ofhalted development. Miss the mad, prickly comedian whose live album came out in 2002?Shut up, you damn baby!Has he been nominated for a Grammy? Or maybe you're a big fan ofTodd Margaret's increasingly poor choices, the acclaimed show he created for IFC and starred in, or its low-budget satireMeeting, which premiered at Sundance and satirized all the wannabe celebs hoping to emulate the toxic reality stars they adored. There truly is a David Cross for every occasion.

Crude one minute, hilariously goofy the next, Cross (now 58) is an institution celebrated for his politically outspoken comedy and do-it-yourself aesthetic. If I had been a musician, I would have been an indie rocker. (In fact, he's been touring and banging with indie bandsConcludevia innovative underground label Sub Pop.) But of all the diverse creative endeavors he's embarked on over the decades, stand-up remains one of his true loves. His last major tour was cut short due to COVID, which forced Cross to improvise and turned one of the few shows he did into a lo-fi special in 2022.I'm from the future. But in 2023 he returns for a proper tour with the titlethe "worst dad on world tour".What reminds me: There's another David Cross, the one who's a husband and a father. (Their daughter Marlow was born in early 2017.)

It's mid-January when Cross hops up to Zoom from Brooklyn to talk to me about his new tour. Other comedians soften over time and change gears to become more poignant or endearing. But while Cross is the most likely to be aggressive during our 80-minute conversation, there are fundamental aspects of his personality that just because he's a family man haven't changed. Of his desire not to inundate Marlow with his pessimistic (some would say realistic) worldview, Cross says, "There are certain things [about the world] that I'm totally fine with lying to him about, which is kind of hard." : “I have a strange way of lying and even exaggerating. There are certainly some things that I'm not going to explain right now, and I'm going to lie to you directly. But a lot of things that other people could sugarcoat, I can't."

Cross was the same during our interview: He didn't spend much time worrying about joking, but instead was incredibly thoughtful and honest about his career, his legacy, the mistakes he's made, the dream projects that haven't have been realized. Fertility and her evolving feelings about the concept of "selling out". Whether the issue was mental health or the 2017 controversy of offensive comments Charlyne Yi (who uses the pronouns she/they) accused Cross of, he was refreshingly direct and allowed himself to be frank and vulnerable in his responses. That's not to say it wasn't funny too: I consider it an honor to have been the honest man in a very expertly tongue-in-cheek punch line that he delivered. Serious or hilarious, the man includes a variety.

(This interview has been edited for length and clarity.)

You're doing a show tonight, and shortly after that the tour starts. How do you feel now that everything is in full swing?

There are a few different things. Firstly, in a general sense, how do I feel at this stage of preparing for a tour, and I should know better at this point, because what is it, my seventh or eighth tour? - I'm ready to gonow. It's literally the same every time: I look at the (tour start) date that's in the future and I'm like, "Oh man, I've got a lot to do." I'm not literally starting from scratch, but more or less: there's going to be a lot of things I won't do when I get to the point where I'm shooting a special, because I've developed new material and I will don't do a two hour thing.

So some of it gets stashed in the back pocket for next time, but about 90 percent of it has to be rewritten from scratch, and that's daunting. I say, "Oh, this will never work. I won't make it in time." Then, halfway through the time I've given myself, I'm like, "Yeah, I'm fine. I've got everything. I'm ready to go."

I think it really was finished a month ago. Now I just sit and wait. I do one (warm up show) every two weeks to keep me fresh and awake and if I can think of anything else on stage I've got it. But I'm ready to go

Of course, the jokes are the most important thing, but when you're putting together a new set you're also thinking, "Where am I in my life? I want this tour to be a snapshot of how I'm thinking right now." ?

I never approach it that way, it's really about the jokes. About a third of my sets are usually anecdotal, like, "This happened to me. I was in line for..." whatever. One third is jokes I made up and one third is just comments on current affairs, current events or things in the news. You stand up there and see what happens.

The process of starting from scratch, I take a little break after I finish a tour, but not too much. Then I start the process again, doing these programs right now"Shootin 'the Shit (Sein' What Sticks)" .It's good because I don't feel a lot of pressure to kill, that's not the point. It's about figuring out with and through the audience what works, what I should follow, which isn't a good idea. It's a really fun part of the process. I'll always have special guests, so let's go up there and do three 15-minute bits first. Then I push the guests aside until it's my turn. I'm lucky, it's like, "Okay, here we go, let's see if it works." There's not a lot of pressure and it's fun for everyone.

DuringOh come on, one of my favorite parts was when you talked about having a kid and then pointed out that when you see a stand-up show, the audience is going to be like, 'Oh god, we're going to have to listen to a lot of jokes about this now to be a child? new dad?” The name of the new tour made me wonder if that was any indication of what this new material would be like.

One of the things I'm struggling with is finding a title for the show because the ones I can think of are either too silly or too pretentious or a pun I don't like. The reason I chose "World's Worst Dad" as my daughter has called me many times, she lets me know I'm the worst dad alive, is because, like many of my sets, I'm multi-role and provocative am ideas that some people might not care about, but I want to sneak my way through. I have my fair share of things about being a father and having a daughter and who I am and the kind of person I am. I will raise a child with my ideas. It's not like I raised her that waymiideas, but it permeates my sense of what is morally and ethically right and what is morally and ethically wrong. But I don't have much of that.

So the title is really a ruse. It's really designed to sound a little bit cute and a little bit benign because there's a lot of stuff that will piss some people off. But believe me, not even a third of it is about, "Oh, she said that and I did that." This is really just to make the other harder things easier for you.

You have published your special for 2022I'm from the futuredirectly from your websiteinstead of going through Amazon or Netflix. Did you learn anything from this experience?

The only difference is that you can see the numbers. Netflix won't tell you what you did; I think in part they control how much you're going to make next time. It's nice to be able to say, 'Oh wow, I didn't know I had so many fans in Scotland. I'm definitely going to tour there.” Something like that is useful. But I've produced a lot of things myself, I think it's the distribution that's different. But I can't say I learned much beyond that, because it's the same thing: whoever distributes it, once it gets into the hands of the audience, there's no real control.

If you get something like thisI'm from the futureDo you come back, say, six months later and say, "Okay, I want to do my next tour differently"? Do you go back and reconsider so?

When I posted it I spent hours and hours and hours and hours editing and I know how the set feels from my perspective and now I can see it from a different perspective. A lot of that is, it's still different watching a set on TV and seeing it live; these are just different experiences. I mean, I'll always think of better options after it's filmed and it's like, 'Oh you know what I should have done? I shouldn't have mentioned it then, I should have waited until here." That will always come to mind later.

butI'm from the future, I did not have time to refine this set. I mean this set would have been very different if I had been on tour and done 80 dates, but I shot it around the 40th date. I forgive myself a bit because I didn't really have the opportunity to cook on tour.

Because you like music, I think about itI'm from the futurealmost like a band that goes into the studio and doesn't bother with overdubs and just plays live. There's something really compelling about this particular that feels so much more immediate.

There was also more of a DIY approach: I made everything myself. It's not in a big theater, it was in therethe bell houseand I think it's 450 people but you can lose at least 25 because we had to set up cameras. So it was more intimate than doing a recording in a big theater, which is nice too.

Last year it was announced that you and Bob Odenkirk were working on a new comedy series about"Rival Cult Gurus"for Paramount+. is that still possible?

no We got the order to write the first four episodes. We wrote exactly what we suggested: we had the whole outline, it was a lot of fun, we were looking forward to it. And they didn't pick it up. They said no, but they were kind enough to let us back to the people who originally wanted to buy it, and then everyone said no too. So this show seems never to happen.

That's too bad. It seemed like a fun idea, especially since the two of you would be doing something that didn't involve sketching, but telling an entire story.

It's a completely different landscape that's hard to predict to anticipate what people will and won't want. It would be one thing if we wrote something other than what we suggested, but we wrote exactly what we suggested and our pitch was pretty big: we had drafts that we gave them that were basically were half a script. I don't know, I'm throwing my hands up in the air. I have no idea.

They've been in the business for a long time and part of it is obvious to say no. Is it ever easier to deal with?

Well, this one hit a little harder. I've been working with a lot of other people on other creative projects, we've gone out and pitched the idea, the team and all that, and you've had really good feedback. But they'd be like, 'Oh man, we love her, but this idea just isn't for us. That's not the kind of thing we do.” And you say, “Okay, I see.” It's disappointing, but it never bothered me. There are moments when you get to the set where you can film something and they're like, 'Oh, the audio is like this, but we thought it was going to be like this.' It's disappointing, but you're like, 'Oh, okay , okay I understand."

But this one was a lot harder to take because it was Bob andhis brother Billand I, and our pitch was really good. It was a really fun project to work on. We had all these great ideas. We had in mind a cast that would have been simply outstandingDirector Jason Wolinerattached which is amazing. Half of the people we introduced were very excited, we almost had a bidding war, and then we went to this company where we knew the boss really well and had a good relationship with them.

We delivered what we promised, we did not deviate from that idea in any way. The scripts were fun. The idea for me and Bob to work together and throw in some of these other comedic talents and do these scenes started on such a strong basis with the script and then we made these characters and this whole story that we were telling. It was a limited series, eight episodes, beginning, middle and end. They all loved it. Everyone was happy with that. We were very happy with it, and we are our own harshest critics, and we were very excited to go ahead. That (rejection) wasn't easy, it was quite disappointing and also a bit devastating.

Obviously I'm biased, but I'll tell you that the script that Bob and Bill and I wrote, in which we would have acted with all these other great comedy actors, directed by Jason Woliner, would have been quite successful. and people would have liked it. They would still talk about it. But we didn't have the opportunity. Here we go

How do you deal with this disappointment? Are you just thinking, "Well, they're idiots, so..."?

I never say they're idiots. But what they are looking for is not the same as what I am looking for or what Bob is looking for. We want to do the best possible job, but that's capitalism, and culture and art are part of capitalism. You're talking about numbers we'll never see.

One of the things they responded to in the notes, and in a very diplomatic and appreciative way they said, "No thanks," was that it was their marketing department. I can't help with marketing, I mean IcouldI don't think they want to hear it. But if you don't know how to market something, that's on you, that's your job. You may not succeed, but you could certainly try to understand marketing. Happy to be on Zoom for an hour going through some ideas that might be helpful. But if the marketing department just freaks out and says, "This is beyond me," then I might get another job or a pay cut.

But yeah, it's really about the algorithm and I can't disagree with that. I had never had to deal with algorithms before; Basically it was just raw numbers. If it's not a critical hit, are many people watching it and is it generating ad revenue? Or not many people look at it, but you get a critical hit, so it has a long lifespan?

But I'll never be able to write anything, nor will I want to, thinking, 'God, I hope the computer likes it. Okay, computer, is this good for you?" That's a fool's job. It's frustrating and difficult. You used to get your idea and say, "Okay, here's who to introduce this to: This is an FX Show or maybe HBO, but definitely not NBC." You'd have your list, you'd go to the places that seem right to you. Now, when people say, "This isn't really what we do on Apple TV," say Me: "Well, what are you doing on Apple TV? There are many shows that I like, that I loveInterrupt, That's great. You just don't do it because you don't do that kind of thing, but why not try?

I can't imagine throwingHerr Showto HBO was remotely that difficult.

It wasn't difficult because it was a live show. I think if we were writing concepts, "How about two guys you've never heard of sketching and then the sketches are like this, and then there's a fake commercial, and then this happens and then this happens ?" ?” - would not succeed. That's not a good way of getting this show on the air. But before it was on TV, we did these live shows - they're fun and we enjoy them. That was just part of the Los Angeles comedy scene in the 1990s: we did shows and people could get in their cars and drive to where the theater was and park their car.(laughs)and go into the room and see what we wanted to do. We did enough of that and HBO said, "Yeah, great, that'll work." That was easy to say, "What you've just seen is the show, you don't have to read anything."

When you and Odenkirk first met, was it the similarities or the differences that brought the two of you together creatively?

We are different people with different backgrounds and frames of reference. For the most part we have very strong ideas and strong opinions about comedy and good comedy and what's not good. I was less specific and focused on sketch comedy and he was very specific and focused on that. But we're a lot more alike than we're different, but we're different, that's also part of what works.

Are you two more different as you get older?

I think less Bob was always pretty serious and a workaholic, focused, sane, and I wasn't.(laughs)I was the complete opposite. It was a lot more like, “I want to have fun, the most important thing for me is not to spend 14 hours trying to get the script to work. I'll give you 10 hours, but then I'll have a drink and I'll live a separate life from what we're doing in this room." In a sense, just enjoying life and being able to pick it up and say, " You know what, this weekend I'm going to go to San Francisco with some friends and take acid and go for a walk."

Bit by bit I came out -Herr Showit was very helpful and the lessons I learned from Bob made me more responsible. Then I started making my own stuff, which you have to have that work ethic to do. When I did things likeMargaret Todd, for example, I mean I've done everything. You can't afford to leave work at 8pm if you're not done with things: you have to stay, there's no other way. Then I got married and now I have a kid and I'm older, I mean the guy was 30 then and I'm almost 60 now.

Bob and I are still very, very close. We love and respect each other and will continue to work together, but he doesn't have to argue with me anymore. We're in touch with each other pretty much all the time, even if it's just, "How are you? What's up?" He's one of my best friends and still is. On two occasions I've had some sort of writer's block where I had a problem within a story or script and I said, 'I can't figure this out. How the hell am I supposed to do that?" And I call him and he has the answer right away.

In your stand-up, and something like that tooMeeting, anger directs your comedy. Therein lies catharsis. But as you develop the material, there are times when you think, "Is thistoupset?"

Not when I'm too angry, but when he seems too angry. I think it can be a bit aggressive and nobody wants to watch that for an hour.

Part of my work in developing the material is being really reasonable about where that anger is coming from. Sometimes I had to write little notes on my playlist, a reminder: "slow down" or "don't get so mad" because I'm going to stumble too. Not when I'm on tour, of course, when I get the material done, but in the beginning, yeah, it's like, 'Take it off, take it off, take it off, make it relatable, find one.' new form. " , find a new perspective."

A very good example of this is inI'm from the future, when I'm talking about the part that lends itself to the title, going back in time and talking to the kids about what they would become, because no five-year-old looks at these (bigotic) adults who act like this way, "Oh , I want to be like that!" You'll. It took me a long time to figure out the angle - I had a very different approach to this idea. Finally, after working on this for months, at least half a year, I thought, "Oh, I know what I'm going to do: instead of doing the adult version of this stuff, I'm going to go back and talk to the kids about it." So I scream no, I actually talk to them.(mimics a condescending tone)how an adult talks to a child, very measured.

It's a much better way of conveying the same idea. It took me a while to figure it out, but I was like, "Oh, that's how you do it, it's not uncomfortable for the audience."

Do you remember how that aha moment came about?

Oddly enough, I watched A-ha's video,"Look at me."I squinted at the screen like, "What's the name of this band? They don't look American to me." And then I saw it and I was like, "Uh-huh." Then everything fell into place.

You were lucky you saw this video when you were stuck.

Very often you just walk down the street. It's not like I'm sitting at my desk thinking, "How am I going to make it work?" It's something that's in the back of your mind that happens a lot and there's not going to be anything that triggers it, and somehow it triggered something unconscious.

I hate to ask what the new tour material is all about because I assume you don't want to give anything away.

The less you know the better. It's not like I'm taking you on this journey like a stand up, it's not theatrical in that sense. I'll say one thing, you get that as a comic with me, and that goes for other comics too, but certainly not all or even half, but there's a 95 percent chance that you'll get a completely unique comic. Show that's different than the show I just did in Pittsburgh, which is different than the show I did in Nashville. I'm very spontaneous, I'm in the moment: things happen, things happen to you. Each show has its own personality and feel.

People know your political leanings, of course, but do you prepare for shows differently when you're playing, say, in the South or the Midwest?

They should learn early on that anticipating an audience or a show is foolish; I've often been wrong. The last American show of "Oh, Come On" was in Omaha, Nebraska. I had never played there. And it was in one of those newer community center things -- it just had this vibe, very antiseptic and white, and it felt new and shiny. I didn't know anything about Omaha - they had little video monitors if you were backstage in the Green Room and I could see the audience. I'm like, "Oh my god, this is my last show, this tour was so much fun and this is going to be a lot of work." This isn't going to be fun. And it was easily one of the top three shows on the tour - it was a great tour and the Omaha show was so good, the audience was amazing.

It just shows you: you never know. Everywhere I go, the opposite has happened to me: “Okay, I'm in Madison, Wisconsin, I'm killing in Madison. Madison is great!” or whatever And it's like, "Meh." My wife will say, "How was the show?" "Uh, it was good. Not great, not bad, but it was a bit of work."

Recently,Brian Posehn interviewed us where he said some very nice things about you. Speaking of making DIY things, he said: "David Cross always does that. He is the fugazi of comedy. It was always clear how to bring it directly to the people. He's always been good at that. He was one of the first of us to start an independent record label and championed sub pop before anyone else." I was curious how that date made you feel.

ConShut up, you damn baby!As with so many of my career and rewarding projects I've worked on, it wasn't originally my idea. I was literally in a van with a band: I was touring music clubs, I had a band called Ultrababyfat who were friends of mine from Atlanta who would open it for me. They couldn't have been more than 20 rooms up and down the east coast, just having fun and not knowing about "let's record this, let's release this." We were driving to the last show in Savannah, Georgia and I got an unexpected call from a guy: "Hey, my name is Tony and I'm with Sub Pop. Would you be interested in making a live album? ?” And I'm like, "Oh my god, you'll never believe this, I'm on tour right now." I can extend this tour and we can add more dates and we'll do what I do."

I never thought, "I should have an independent record label that I love and have an amazing roster and artists..." But that idea carried over to everything. I mean, I've been on a tour before that where it was just music clubs with no curfew and we were doing three and a half hour fucking shows. The band comes, plays 30 to 45 minutes and then right into me, without a break, I keep the energy going: I go out and walk for two hours, basically as long as I can, until I feel like peeing. This is the show. It was amazing

But there were all kinds of projects that I did.MeetingIt was a good example: I did a Kickstarter for it, funded it myself, released it, went to theaters where people basically paid to play it there. I gave out Kickstarter rewards to get it working. What a joy that was:nohaving to deal with other shit was great.

Now that's obviously a cliche, but you were part of the alternative comedy scene in the 1990s, but a lot of what you've done on your own since then still seems to apply to that label.

It's an ethos more than anything, and I definitely subscribe to it. It's built into my DNA - that's how I approach almost everything I make myself. Alternative comedy was a label someone was onLA weeklyor somewhere else, and the next thing you know is who we are. It's kind of applicable, but it's an ethos, an approach and also a value system I think.

I think of all the mumblecore filmmakers who hated that term because it limited the kinds of films that were "expected" to be made of them. "Alternative comedy" never seemed to lock you down.

Yes, and it's no longer valid, and hasn't been for a long time. It only lasted for a few years, then mainstream culture caught up. Alternative comedy was an alternative to the standard club comedian guy who had his jacket and sleeves rolled up and the skinny tie and "set up and then quit" type of jokes. I mean, that was an alternative for a few minutes at some point in the beginning. But now there is no alternative comedy. It's just that

I remember whenHerr Showairy, and people would call it the "anti-Saturday night live.” It seems like every sketch show that comes up is described the same way. Did you ever think back then: "We'll do the anti-Saturday night live“?

Yes, but it didn't push us. We didn't have motivational signs where we kissed each other's hands and then the sign said "Anti-SNL.” But it definitely informed what we were doing. And Bob had a much more direct conflict with it because he had worked on itSNLand did not have a very good experience, which is totally understandable given the limitations of its operation. He didn't want those limitations, and good comedy shouldn't have those limitations.

butSNLnot a good comedy I mean, it is what it is: it has a purpose. It's a remarkable thing to be able to turn a show around in six days and serve the personality of whoever the host is, who might not have any special acting or comedic skills. They do a good job, they do the best that can be done, but the best will never be as... Every now and then you get a little nugget in there because they let it out in the air at the end of the show. But that's not good comedy writing, that's not good formula, it's never going to be a great show. It's an institution.

When it first started it was really cool and everyone was so happy it existed and it was daring. But I think you can say a lot of positive things about itSNLbut brave now? No, it is not daring. He has no teeth. But it shouldn't! So you can't fault anything. To all the critics who say, "Well, this show sucks," yes, it never will. You create a space full of vicious ruthless writers and you psychologically fuck people and you only give them X hours to write a sketch comedy that has to go through the censorship and the standards and the practices and whatnot. and have toMaking Elon Musk look weird. Yes, okay, they're doing a good job, but who wants that? Well, the answer is "Some people," but people like Bob and I and a lot of other people say, "That's not what we're interested in."

Part of me wonders if we talked about this 20 years agoSNL, you could have been more "They suck".

I'm sure you forgive certain things that you might not have forgiven when you were in your 20's. Part of that comes with the perspective of, "Oh, this is harder than it looks."

One thing I've been a lot more forgiving about is selling out or the concept of "selling out" which was a whole different thing when I was growing up. It was really "sold out" and the feeling of it. But that just doesn't exist anymore. You see an actor or comedian or someone you admire yelling at a bank that makes part of its money by exploiting other people and ripping off people; You're thinking, "How much damn money do you need?" I know these people are multi-multi-billionaires, they have anywhere from $50 million to $500 million, and you're wondering, "How much more money do you need to do that disgusting weird Capital One ad?"

I think when I was younger it would have been really annoying. And now you're like, 'Oh, whatever. go get your money Nobody cares anymore. People like me die with that attitude. So get your money.

So if Chase Bank calls and says, "We want Tobias to be in a commercial where he's doing this..."

I don't think so, not that they would let me do it, but I don't think I would. But I will sell Cheetos. I don't care, I like Cheetos. Cheetos are good.

If Cheetos reads this...

Listen, I'm going beyond that. I'm going to Frito-Lay. I'm going to Pepsi. Anyone who backs the Pepsi brand because they own Frito-Lay, Frito-Lay owns Cheetos.

wanted to askthe controversial charlyne yi. It's been a few years since that happened: Has it changed your attitude towards social media, in terms of things that come your way and people you've never met who say, 'Oh, he's a racist. Oh, he's a sexist. He's a terrible person"? Has the way you interact with the world changed because of what you were dealing with?

Naturally. I mean I will never forget that feeling. I'll never forget the moment it hit me (Yi's post). I was actually staying in an Airbnb on Melrose, just off Highland, and I was headed to Target in Santa Monica I think to pick up some stuff because I was flying back to New York later that day. The first thing I did was call Michael Cera, who was her boyfriend at the time. And I said, "Hey, I just saw what someone sent me." Someone said, "Would you like to explain, David Cross?" and then he showed me (Yi's) mail. And I said, "Oh my god, I didn't remember any of that." So I call Michael Cera. He said no, he couldn't remember that at all. At first he thought it was a joke, he didn't think they wrote it. I say, "I'm looking at it right now, I'm telling you, this is the thing."

I remember the occasion: all these actors were gathered in this open hotel bar, like the hotel lobby, in Shreveport. I mean there must have been about 30 people working on this film, other actors. There's another actress that I went up to and said, "Remember that?" She had no memory of it. And Michael says, "Wow, that would have been a very dark night, I'm sure I would remember that." So I thought, "Okay, I'm not crazy here."

My answer wasn't smart. I replied immediately (online) which was not good. I spelled your name wrong. I used phrases I shouldn't have used like "you might be misremembering" and things that would make people say "fuck you asshole". Then I speculated that still... It's the only possible explanation, the only thing I can think of is that I thought he was funny and that he's playing this redneck character, like Ronnie Dobbs that I've been to made a million times. We were in the south. I don't remember that again.

And also, as my sister pointed out as soon as she saw (the controversy), she said, "You would never make fun of someone because they are poor or because of their clothes, never."(Editor's note: In Yi's original post, they wrote, "He made fun of my pants (which were in tatters because I was poor).")I grew up poor, we grew up poor, and it's very personal to me, and I'm super aware and sensitive to this shit. I alone, David Cross, would never laugh at someone wearing ripped jeans. I would never try to put them down for not having any money, it's so out of place and something that hasn't happened before or after.

So I foolishly approached her, we went back and forth and I did everything privately. I apologized to them privately, which I learned the hard way that you shouldn't do: everything should be public. You gotta do this, any arguments we had, I should expose them publicly.

I've learned a lot of lessons about this and not caring about the context, which is disappointing. But this is the new world we live in. Nobody cares about your context at all. To this day I keep getting replies from people saying I'm a freakin' racist, anti-Asian, I hate Asians, I'm racist, I hate everyone. I know there was a writer on a show, someone I've never met, who I know, who doesn't know me at all, who wrote something like, 'David Cross is a racist piece of shit. To hell with him.

It's a difficult thing and it will haunt me forever. Forever and ever and ever. People who really know me know I'm not racist or whatever they want to imply. But yeah, that was a surprise and a bummer and it still is to this day.

Maybe you actually did and I wasn't aware of it, but have you ever been tempted to talk about what happened and the aftermath on stage? It's very different, of course, but Chris Rock does ithis new special in march, and everyone just wants to hear what you have to sayThe punch.

Yeah, I didn't say, "Call the reservations rep, I'll take care of it." But I had a series of sets that came out shortly after that and I talked about that. But there was one thing that wasn't funny, he was still angry. "How dare you sound like you're the victim? You made this poor young man feel horrible and said horrible racist things to him. How dare you explain it so you can get our sympathies? He wasn't eloquent and he was angry because I was angry and it just doesn't look good.

Charlyne's memory is her memory, I won't argue. I checked with two other people, one who was literally as close to them as anyone, both physically and intimately, who didn't remember anything, he actually thought it was fake. But something happened, they didn't invent these things out of thin air. The only thing I can think of is that he was trying to have fun playing that character.

But my comedy isn't about making you cry, I'm not some damn conservative Republican who delights in the pain of others. I mean, that's not who I am or my comedy: I'm trying to hit, not tear down. It's so out of place. I'm sorry that was your experience, but it certainly wasn't on purpose and I just can't remember. It's terrible that it happened and that they felt that way.

You talked about depression and anxiety in your stand-up. I think artists across the board when they're younger and dealing with mental health issues can say, "I don't want to take anything because I don't want to impede my creativity." Has this journey taken you a while?

Absolutely, totally. I felt like I was losing a part of myself and that I wasn't being true to myself. Look, we're all different: we're all made of chemicals, and we take other chemicals to neutralize or enhance those chemicals, and everyone reacts differently to different things. But for me I really struggled with that. also awardedmoreFear and the catch 22 of it. But then it got so bad that he had no other choice. I started some medical treatments in the form of different cocktails of different things, finally found the one that worked and it was great.

I've been in and out of them for, gosh, 15 years, I'd say almost 20. Then, when I was about to marry my wife, I said, "Listen, I'm going to drop this." those things, so you know how I feel when I don't have those things anymore." I thought it was fair and important because I've had reactions to dropping those things cold. I had to reduce my dose, did then quit for good and haven't taken it again.There were times I thought I should go back or my wife thought I should, but I learned a lot going into therapy.I learned a skill I hadn't until I went that far down the rabbit hole and was able to get out. Sometimes it takes longer, autumn, but it's never lasted more than three days, four days at most. It's never gone as deep and as deep as before .

I've been working on that. Now that I have a daughter, I can't afford it at all. And I'm not proud of it, zero pride: if I feel like I need to (take meds again), I'll do it again in a heartbeat. But I do not have. I've had moments, but it's not like a week where I'm catatonic, not eating and lost. Those days, knock on wood, seem to be gone forever. I'm certainly in a better place than before.

David Cross on his friendship with Bob Odenkirk, the formation of Anti-SNL and why he would like to be the Cheetos' new pitcher (1)

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