Taking the stage to the tune of Spoon’s “Underdog,” David Cross got his first laugh of the evening at the sold-out Observatory North Park by pointing out how the sound guys fucked up his intro. He said it was supposed to be a modified version of the song, one that had his name in it or something like that.
Then, without missing a beat, he started telling jokes on his first tour in more than five years. Cross is one of our best standup comedians, and his absence from that world has been felt. His brand of insightful, nothing-off-limits satire truly is a thing of sarcastic, smartass beauty. Sure we have guys like Louis C.K. out there fighting the good fight, but nobody holds a mirror up to the shitty side of humanity quite like Cross.
San Diego was his first stop on a massive US tour that will span three months and include over 50 shows. The tour — appropriately named Making America Great Again — has been a long time coming. Cross has been busy for a long time working in film and TV. As much as longtime fans enjoy the films he’s starred in, or the reboot of Mr. Show, or his role as Tobias Funk on Arrested Development, it’s his standup that keeps them coming back.
Being the first stop on a tour that large, it was expected that Cross would be working out the kinks to some new jokes. And maybe he was — the set had its share of digressions that never amounted to much. But even the jokes that weren’t yet have been fully formed were still biting and insightful.
That said, Cross’ humor has softened somewhat over the years. Although he spent most of his set making fun of the ridiculous way of thinking and behaving that a lot of Americans embrace, he wasn’t quite as mean about it as usual. (On the other hand, this was a set that included Cross musing that God takes so many children during mass shootings because he needs virgins to service dead suicide bombers.)
Maybe he is getting softer with age, or maybe he was just filled with the joy of single-handedly making American great again, one sold-out show at a time.