One in a series of evenings and special screenings presented at The Paley Center for Media as part of the 2013 New York Comedy Festival. This evening honors comedian and actor David Cross. After clips of scenes from "Mr. Show With Bob and David" and "Arrested Development," host David Bushman (curator, The Paley Center for Media/New York) offers opening remarks and brings moderator Rob Tannenbaum (co-author, "I Want My MTV: The Uncensored Story of the Music Video Revolution") to the stage. Tannenbaum then introduces Cross.

The conversation touches on such topics as: early comedy inspiration from his father and uncle; his dislike of growing up in the South and habit of making friends through comedy, influence from the likes of the Monty Python troupe, Andy Kaufman, "Soap" and "Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman"; a weird subway story and his habit of digression; his experiences meeting various Monty Python members over the years; his unusually great success during his first stand-up performance at age seventeen and many subsequent bombings; a plug for Seth Olenick's photography book "Funny Business," in which Cross and many other comics appear; his stand-up jokes involving audience participation; his sense of growing comedic "discipline"; his longtime estrangement from his Leeds-born father; his departure from L.A. after an earthquake and eventual journey to England, where he "clicked" with British culture; his "life-altering time" spent in Boston's strong comedy scene; his formerly "snotty" attitude about comedy and fear of selling out by moving to Hollywood; his eventual decision to take a job writing for "The Ben Stiller Show"; his initially contentious relationship with later friend and comedy partner Bob Odenkirk; his love of Odenkirk's series "Breaking Bad" and uncertainty about its potential spinoff, "Better Call Saul"; plans for an extended twentieth-anniversary "Mr. Show" tour; learning to engage with fans; HBO's unclear decisions about airing "Mr. Show" and his and Odenkirk's lack of revenue from it; his decision not to join the rest of the "Arrested Development" cast on "Inside the Actors Studio" due to work commitments and his well-known dislike of the "obsequious fawning" nature of the show; praise for "Inside" host James Lipton, who appeared in several episodes of "Arrested"; his answers to the infamous Bernard Pivot questionnaire, featured in every episode of "Inside"; writing and directing his first film, the upcoming "Hits"; his father's theft of his bar mitzvah money and whether his difficult childhood led to his becoming a comedian; and his explanation of his lack of any skills besides comedy.

Questions from the audience then lead to a discussion of the following topics among others: the relative lack of improvisation on "Arrested"; whether he plans to do another comedy album; his dislike of President Obama and mendacious politicians in general; the challenge of finding humor in stories of human evil; his interest in the next comedian who will "redefine" the art; his hatred of Twitter and his various social media imposters; his pride in the writing of his series "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret"; and his sense of "Mr. Show" as being his best work.


  • DATE: November 8, 2013 6:30 PM
  • RUNNING TIME: 1:37:05
  • COLOR/B&W: Color
  • CATALOG ID: 111914
  • GENRE: Seminars


  • David Bushman … Host
  • Rob Tannenbaum … Moderator
  • David Cross … Guest
  • Andy Kaufman
  • James Lipton
  • Barack Obama
  • Bob Odenkirk
  • Seth Olenick