David Cross talks with Michael Cera at the 92Y
This is “What’s Making Me Happy This Week,” a weekly feature inspired by the Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast. It’s pretty self-explanatory.
What’s Making Me Happy This Week is something that happened, in all places, at the 92nd Street Y in NYC. In anticipation of the return of Arrested Development, 92Y hosted “A Conversation with David Cross moderated by Michael Cera” this past Wednesday night, and I was lucky enough to be in attendance for the hilarious 90 minute discussion.
Originally billed as a conversation with David Cross, Cera was only later added as moderator (after tickets were already completely sold out); eventually due to overwhelming demand the event was made available via live videostream by vulture.com (unfortunately there doesn’t appear to be archived video). Whoever had the idea of adding Cera as the host – Cera thanked Cross for the honor, Cross disclaimed any responsibility for the decision – likely had no idea how brilliant a move this was. I don’t know whether he was acting (it appeared genuine), but Cera was a terrible interviewer. He was unprepared, confused by his surroundings, asked questions that often didn’t make sense or didn’t lead to a natural opening for Cross to tell a story … basically he was every awkward Michael Cera character rolled into one. And it was perfect. Cross was his normal cutting, critical self, but playing off of Cera – his friend and Arrested Development co-star – it didn’t come off as obnoxious. Cross got to be the star of the show and rip into the much younger Cera often, but there was a big brother / little brother feel to it that made it all OK. And when David Cross is allowed to be himself, boy can he be funny.
Cross spoke very little about Arrested Development, his book (I Drink for a Reason) or his recent stand-up specials, instead focusing mainly on the pride he has in his earlier, more personal, endeavors. Over and over he kept coming back to his work on Mr. Show, and he also talked at length about something most of the audience must have been unfamiliar with, Cross Comedy, the weekly sketch group he created at Boston’s Catch a Rising Star. He obviously has little interest in being DAVID CROSS TV STAR. In many ways, this is what sets him and certain of his friends (he mentioned Louis CK, Marc Maron, Janeane Garafolo) apart from other “successful” comedians. And it also lends itself to feuds which Cross was more than happy to go into, such as ongoing ones he has with Jim Belushi and Larry the Cable Guy.
There was a moment during the audience Q&A where the first person who asked a question happened to be a friend of Cross’s younger sister – she went to high school with both of them. She reminded Cross of when he and another student used to do the morning announcements over the school loudspeaker. Naturally, they were hilarious doing it. For example, in addition to delivering the school news and lunch menus, Cross used to give weather and traffic. It was a great spontaneous moment in a night full of them, as Cross and Cera were loose and funny throughout.
And that’s What’s Making Me Happy This Week.