David Cross Vogue Theatre, Vancouver BC, February 2
Published Feb 03, 2016David Cross hasn't gone on a stand-up tour in six years, since the release of his 2010 album, Bigger and Blackerer, which was then his first comedy album since 2004. He has kept busy for all of this time. He produced three seasons of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, a 2013 reboot of Arrested Development, four perfect episodes of Mr. Show follow-up W/ Bob and David, and directed his first movie, 2014's underrated dark comedy-drama Hits, among various voice acting and guest appearances on the funniest shows around, including on Fallout 4.
The road was calling Cross, though. And if his show at the Vogue, (part of the well-curated 2016 JFL NorthWest comedy festival) on his ironically titled Making America Great Again! tour was any indication, the road missed him. The high demand for his sold-out early show resulted in a second performance being added for the same day, and he did not disappoint.
There was no opener to set up 75 minutes of unadulterated Cross, but the first laugh was earned by the intro song, a reworded version of "The Underdog" by Spoon. Aside from the announcements, Spoon promised a punch in the dick for anyone who didn't turn their phones off. The song also promised Cross's musings on America, guns, and TV, but he would go well beyond that.
Cross is no stranger to Vancouver, having been to the city on shoots for months on end, so he had some authentic local experiences to draw on early in his set, like when he accidentally stumbled on the area where gay guys hook up in Stanley Park, or how, no matter how you arrive in the city, our downtown core looks like a trillionaire threw it all up at the last minute to make a deadline in 1992, with mentions of tourist destinations Japadog and Granville Island later on.
These local references quickly gave way to musings on everything from family drama at Thanksgiving, artisanal hipster culture, and the logic of gasoline advertisements and luggage stores at the airport to more expected topics like his solutions to the ongoing gun crisis, how to bring the world's religions together, and his surprising empathy for Republicans.
Yet peppered in among his longer anecdotal stories and poignant political insights, he made the time to throw in a couple of set-up/punchline zingers, act out a rare impression, and talk to an audience member named Colton (pronounced "Cole-Tonne!") who kept setting Cross up for easy jabs, reluctant as he was to use them, though that bit allowed for a call-back to his bold prediction on vape stores.
For the entirety of his set, Cross had a sizeable room eating out of the palm of his hand. He had already visited six cities in California before hitting VanCity, so he had the flow for his set down. He only admittedly strayed far enough off topic to lose his place once, but digressions like that showed the performer indulging himself in the moment, where the thrill of live performance exists, while the addition of a bit on a tattoo shop in Santa Rosa he saw only days before demonstrated the malleable nature of its details. The man is in top form, and every show on this tour is bound to be a little different, in the best way possible. See him now, or regret it for another six years.