Bumbershoot Q&A: David Cross

Instead of waiting for the Arrested Development movie, David Cross writes a book instead.

For a comic to write down some of his jokes in a book—is that like embalming them and retiring them forever? David Cross, the acerbic comic best known for the cult TV show Arrested Development (and who's recently been tapping the family market with Kung Fu Panda and Alvin and the Chipmunks), seems unworried by that prospect."A Jew joke is a Jew joke is a Jew joke," he says by phone from the Jewish homeland, New York. "I can't assume that everyone who's read the book comes to the show."Besides, says Cross, 80 percent of his new book, I Drink for a Reason (Grand Central, $23.99), is new and not just transcripts of his stand-up routine. Though some material has been printed before, or published online, including his angry back-and-forth with Larry the Cable Guy, whom Cross sees as prospering in a climate of "vague American values and anti-intellectual pride." The collection also reveals some dark, bitter traces of autobiography about his upbringing in Atlanta with an unreliable father. (That, says Cross, may result in a more traditional memoir.)I Drink for a Reason also comes in an audio version. "I employed the talent of some of my friends to help me out," says Cross. "I wanted to do something different than just read the book. I had Yo La Tengo do a soundtrack to one of my stories...stuff like that. I have people doing characters... John Benjamin, Kristen Schaal, Sherri Shepherd."Likewise, he says, "The Seattle show is not going to be my regular stand-up. It's gonna be a much looser show. It's gonna be friends and fucking around."Politics will surely be in the Seattle mix, though Cross describes himself as a recovering anger junkie. "I don't lazily flip around and watch O'Reilly or Hannity or Glenn Beck or any of those buffoons. I don't try to dwell on it. But you can't escape it."Cross continues, "I spent about six years reading nothing but nonfiction, which is not my favorite kind of reading. I remember I was in St. Martin on the beach with my girlfriend, and she took this picture of me...and I'm sitting on this beautiful, beautiful beach, and I'm reading Bush's Brain with a scowl on this face. And I saw that picture and I thought, 'What am I doing? Enough's enough.' So I went back to fiction, which I prefer."bmiller@seattleweekly.com

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