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David Cross takes on Trump, 'phony' progressives in comedy special

By Ben Hooper
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David Cross takes on Trump, 'phony' progressives in comedy special
Comedian David Cross said he doubts cult series "Arrested Development" will return for a sixth season at Netflix -- and he isn't sure he would want to participate if it does. Photo courtesy of Comedy Dynamics

May 10 (UPI) -- David Cross's latest stand-up special hits theaters and streaming platforms Friday, and the comedian isn't pulling any punches -- except when it comes to one subject.

The 55-year-old actor and director/producer brings to Oh, Come On plenty of the profane political commentary and gross-out jokes he is known for. But Cross told UPI in a recent interview that one life change -- the birth of his 2-year-old daughter -- made him rethink some material for the special.

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"There are a couple bits that I do live onstage that my wife pointed out, 'I don't know if you want a record of that on there,'" said Cross, whose wife is actress Amber Tamblyn.

"It's a good joke, but it's also completely disposable stuff -- it was just sort of a shock, gross or whatever-- there are a couple of those that I just didn't do in the special. Just 'cause I'm like, 'I don't want her to look back and see that,'" he said of his daughter.

Fans of the Arrested Development and Mr. Show star's foul-mouthed humor won't likely be disappointed. The jokes that made it into the special include such varying subjects as going for a couple's colonic with his wife, his struggles as a new parent and his fantasy of actor Ron Perlman running for president against Donald Trump.

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Politics meets comedy

Cross said taking on political subjects like Trump and the "phony" progressives that made him despise California bring him some catharsis "on a small level," but the reason he so frequently skewers political and religious figures onstage is that he just likes "to talk about that stuff."

"I was always talking about religious hypocrisy and idiocy, I was doing that from a pretty young age. I think the political stuff just kinda goes hand-in-hand with that," he said.

Cross said he has problems with people on both sides of the political spectrum, but he's "not a centrist at all." In fact, he's a member of the Democratic Socialists of America, a left-wing political advocacy group that also famously counts Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., among its members.

He said that while the DSA's ideals of equity and justice align with his own, his economic views aren't quite as radical.

"I'm not anti-capitalist -- I'm much closer to Elizabeth Warren's philosophy," he said of the Massachusetts senator who is among many seeking the Democratic nomination for president. "I think, it can't go unregulated."

Cross, who was an outspoken supporter of Bernie Sanders in the 2016 Democratic primary, said he hasn't yet decided who he will support for 2020 -- aside from Ron Perlman -- although he is "still a Sanders fan" and is "really impressed with Elizabeth Warren."

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"I will vote for whoever the Democratic nominee is, of course, even if it's somebody I find repellent, because nobody could be more repellent than Donald Trump," he said.

A house divided

The performer said his strongly held political beliefs sometimes lead him to "butt heads" at home with his wife, Tamblyn, who is an author and an activist, in addition to being an actress.

"I was a big Bernie supporter, she was a big Hillary supporter, and there were some -- you know, it wasn't pretty sometimes," he said with a laugh. He said their disagreements have occasionally been documented by Tamblyn in her books.

Cross said that while the couple "agree on more than we disagree," their biggest differences come from the fact that he doesn't consider himself to be politically "tribal."

"I'm not tribal, and she is. She's a feminist," he said. "I think I'm a feminist, I'm just not tribal."

Cross said he doesn't see the DSA or any other group that shares his philosophies to be a part of his identity.

"She's very much a feminist woman and that's her identity," Cross said of Tamblyn, before quickly adding: "I should say that's part of her identity, I don't want to anticipate a bad conversation later."

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Farewell to Dr. Funke

Cross said Netflix's revival of Fox sitcom Arrested Development, which concluded its fifth season earlier this year, is unlikely to return for a sixth outing.

"I've learned to never say never, because I didn't think we'd come back for a fourth season, and I was delighted and thrilled that it did, but I don't know if I would want to do it again," he said.

The comedian, who played therapist-turned-actor Tobias Funke on the beloved cult series, admitted that he hasn't watched the show's final season, save for the first couple of episodes.

"I don't even know what the story is. It was not an ideal working situation for the actors at all," Cross said, referring to the fifth season's famously chaotic shooting experience, which involved late scripts, last-minute changes and infrequent appearances from creator and showrunner Mitch Hurwitz.

"I just don't know if I want to work that way again," he said.

Cross said there might be hope for his other Netflix-revived series, With Bob and David, a continuation of HBO sketch series Mr. Show, but not until co-star Bob Odenkirk is free of his commitments to AMC's Better Call Saul.

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"We'd both love to do that again, but his Saul schedule has kind of dictated things the last few years," he said. "He'll be free of Saul in two years, and who knows where I'll be. Perhaps we'll be able to do something again when our schedules free up or are aligned better."

The comedian said that regardless of whether more episodes of the sketch comedy show are produced, he's certain that he will be working with Odenkirk again.

"We really do like and respect each other. We're very, very close, and we'll certainly be working together in some capacity in something," he said.

Oh, Come On is showing Friday in some theaters across the country and is available for purchase from Comedy Dynamics on streaming platforms including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play and Xbox, as well as on demand with providers including Comcast, Cox Communications, Charter Spectrum, Dish and Time Warner.

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