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David Cross
David Cross (32840211217) (cropped).jpg
Cross in 2019
Born (1964-04-04) April 4, 1964 (age 59)
Roswell, Georgia, U.S.
(m. 2012)
Children 1
Notable works and roles

David Cross (born April 4, 1964) is an American stand-up comedian, actor, director, and writer known for his stand-up performances, the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show (1995–1999), and his role as Tobias Fünke in the Fox/Netflix sitcom Arrested Development (2003–2006, 2013–2019).

Cross created, wrote, executively produced, and starred in The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (2010–2016); developed and had a prominent role in Freak Show (2006); appeared on Modern Family (2011–2012); and portrayed Ian Hawke in the first three live-action/CGI Alvin and the Chipmunks films (2007–2011). Cross has also done voice work for the sitcom Oliver Beene (2003–2004), and has had lead voice-over roles in Curious George (2006), Battle for Terra (2007), the Kung Fu Panda film franchise (2008–2016), Megamind (2010) and Next Gen (2018).

In 1993, he won a Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety Series for his work on The Ben Stiller Show. For Mr. Show, he gained three Primetime Emmy Award nominations, and for Arrested Development, Cross was nominated for a Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Television Series, and, along with his cast, for three Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series. For his stand-up specials, he was nominated for several Grammy Awards.

Early life

Cross was born in Roswell, Georgia, to a Jewish family. His parents are Barry and Susi, the former of whom emigrated from Leeds, England. Six months after his birth, Cross's family moved to Florida. After additional moves to New York and Connecticut, the family settled back in Roswell, where Cross remained for nearly a decade. He is the oldest of three children and has two younger sisters, Juli Cross and Wendy Cross.

The family had little money. Cross recalled they were evicted from their home and that he spent some time living in motels and at friends' homes in his youth. Barry left the family when David was 10 years old; the two have not spoken since he was 19, though they both primarily resided in New York City until Cross sold his home there in 2011.

He attended Northside High School of the Performing Arts (now North Atlanta High School). Cross was elected treasurer of his senior class and was voted "Most Humorous" by his classmates. He graduated in 1982.



At age 17, Cross began performing stand-up comedy. The day after he graduated from Northside High School in Atlanta, Cross relocated to New York City. Lacking a plan, he drifted, working briefly for a lawn care company on Long Island. Later, he enrolled at Emerson College in Boston. He would drop out after a semester, but during his time there, Cross joined This is Pathetic, a college sketch group, where he met John Ennis. Aspiring towards an acting career, the two took a road trip to Los Angeles in the summer of 1985, although this did not significantly further their acting careers. In Boston, Cross began to perform stand-up more regularly. From the mid-1980s to the early 1990s, Boston had a booming comedy scene, although Cross did not fit the types of acts being booked most of the time.

In 1990, a new comedy scene began to emerge at the comedy club chain Catch a Rising Star. Alongside Janeane Garofalo, Louis C.K., and other comics, Cross appeared regularly several nights a week. Cross formed the sketch comedy group "Cross Comedy" with 12 other performers, and they put on a new show every week. They were known for playing tricks on the audience, such as introducing fake comics or planting fake hecklers. Cross became increasingly focused on his comedy work.

Cross later performed at the alternative comedy club Un-Cabaret in Los Angeles, where radio artist Joe Frank heard him, and hired him to appear in Frank's 1994 radio programs, "A Hearing" and "The Last Run" (in 1997 combined to become "The OJ Chronicles"), where Cross appears as OJ's valet. Cross also starred in the Joe Frank program "Jam", produced in 1999, and worked with Frank on radio shows for KCRW's Unfictional: "A Conversation" (2013) and "Downfall" (2015).

Cross's stand-up comedy blends political commentary and satire. In 1999, he performed a one-hour comedy special, The Pride Is Back, on HBO. In 2003, he released his first tour film, Let America Laugh, and was named #85 on Comedy Central's list of the 100 greatest stand-ups of all time. He has released five comedy albums: 2002's ... Baby!, 2004's It's Not Funny, 2010's Bigger and Blackerer, 2016's Making America Great Again/...America... Great..., and 2019's Oh, Come On. He was nominated for the Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album twice, in 2003 for ... Baby! and in 2016 for ...America... Great....

Cross's first three records were released on CD by indie-rock label Sub Pop, and on vinyl by comedy label Stand Up! Records for Shut Up and It's Not Funny. He self-released 2016's ...America... Great... on CD, with Stand Up! again releasing a vinyl version. Oh, Come On was released by Comedy Dynamics. Cross tends to release his albums in overlapping audio and video formats which each contain material not found on the other. This is the case on Bigger and Blackerer, Oh, Come On, and perhaps most obviously the 2016 companion set Making America Great Again (a Netflix film) and ...America... Great... (CD/vinyl audio), which have different titles. Oh, Come On's video and audio versions were recorded at two different shows on the same tour.

Cross's stand-up material was featured in Comedy Central's 2004 animated series Shorties Watchin' Shorties. He appears on several Un-Cabaret compilation albums, including Freak Weather Feels Different and The Good, the Bad and the Drugly.

Television, film and voice roles

Cross at the 2007 Plug Awards

Cross began his professional television career as a writer on The Ben Stiller Show. The series hired him toward the end of its run, and he occasionally made brief appearances in the sketches. He had a speaking role in "The Legend of T.J. O'Pootertoot", a sketch written almost entirely by Cross. It was during this period that he first met Bob Odenkirk, with whom he would later co-create the HBO sketch comedy series Mr. Show in 1995. Cross won an Emmy for his work on The Ben Stiller Show in 1993. In 1997 he played Newton, an employee of the NYC Morgue in Men in Black, and reprised the character, now as an owner of a video rental store, in Men in Black II in 2002.

Cross later co-starred as Tobias Fünke in Arrested Development, originally intended to be only a minor role. He also played smaller roles on programs such as Just Shoot Me!, The Drew Carey Show, NewsRadio, Strangers with Candy, Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force. From October 2005, Cross regularly appeared on Comedy Central's The Colbert Report as Stephen Colbert's nemesis Russ Lieber, a fictional liberal radio talk show host from Madison, Wisconsin. Cross developed an animated series for Comedy Central called Freak Show, which co-starred H. Jon Benjamin and was cancelled due to low ratings. He has appeared several times on Wonder Showzen.

Cross teamed up with Mr. Show director and producer Troy Miller and Odenkirk to produce a feature film Run Ronnie Run, based on one of their Mr. Show characters. The film satirized the reality television craze, and featured cameos from many stars; however, Odenkirk got into conflict with the studio New Line Cinema, and they released it direct-to-video. In 1994 and again in 1999, Cross was a guest voice actor on Joe Frank's radio show, featured in the episodes "The Last Run", "A Hearing", "The O.J. Chronicles", and "Jam". In 2013, he returned, making an appearance in an episode of Frank's radio show, entitled "A Conversation".

In 2004, Cross provided voices for a Marine in Halo 2 and a store clerk named Zero in Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas. He was also the voice of the "Happy-Time Harry" doll and Bert Banana in Aqua Teen Hunger Force (although the part was credited as Sir Willups Brightslymoore). Cross has made guest appearances in Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! He directed the music video for The Black Keys' song "10 A.M. Automatic", a spoof of public-access television. Paste Magazine ranked it number 24 on their list of the 50 Best Music Videos of the Decade (2000–2009).

Cross appeared in The Strokes' music video for "Juicebox" as a bad local "morning zoo" radio DJ. He also appeared in Superchunk's video for "Watery Hands" (along with Janeane Garofalo), and in Yo La Tengo's video for "Sugarcube" (along with Bob Odenkirk and John Ennis). Cross contributes to Vice magazine, writing a column, My America. In 2005, he contributed to the UNICEF benefit song "Do They Know It's Hallowe'en?" and appeared in one of PETA's "I'd Rather Go Naked Than Wear Fur" campaigns.

In the Beastie Boys' 2006 concert film Awesome; I ... Shot That!, Cross portrays Nathaniel Hörnblowér in the fictional segment "A Day in the Life of Nathaniel Hörnblowér". In I'm Not There, Cross portrays Allen Ginsberg. Both Bill Lawrence and Zach Braff of the TV series Scrubs were eager to have Cross make a cameo appearance on the series as Tobias Fünke, but due to the series' cancellation, the plan never came to fruition.

Cross provided commentary on the Vicarious music video DVD for Tool. He has previously performed comedy as an opening act for the band and its members appeared on Mr. Show several times. He portrayed Ian Hawke in Alvin and the Chipmunks, Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel, and Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked and voiced Crane in the Kung Fu Panda film franchise.

Cross starred in David's Situation, a pilot for HBO. It filmed in May 2008 and included many Mr. Show alumni at the taping. On August 6, 2008, Bob Odenkirk announced on that David's Situation would not be produced.

Cross at the 2009 Brooklyn Book Festival

Cross's black comedy series The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, in which he stars and co-writes with Shaun Pye, has run on Channel 4 in the United Kingdom and IFC in the United States since October 2010, for a total 18 episodes. On March 29, 2010, his first comedy special in six years, Bigger and Blackerer, was streamed on Epix HD. A CD with "slightly different content" was released on May 25, 2010.

In 2009, Cross released his first book I Drink for a Reason. The book features memoirs, satirical fictional memoirs, and material from Cross that originally appeared in other publications. In September 2009, Cross performed at his own comedy stage at the ATP New York 2009 music festival, for which he picked Eugene Mirman, H. Jon Benjamin, Jon Glaser, and Derrick Brown & The Navy Gravy to join him. In the same year, Cross and Benjamin created and wrote for Paid Programming on Adult Swim. Paid Programming was not picked up for a full series and Benjamin referred to it as an "abject failure".

Cross starred alongside Julia Stiles and America Ferrera in It's a Disaster, which premiered at the 2012 Los Angeles Film Festival. Oscilloscope Laboratories acquired US distribution rights to the film, releasing it in select theaters beginning April 13, 2013.

Cross's directorial debut film Hits premiered at the 2014 Sundance Film Festival. Instead of selling the film rights to distributors, Cross instead opted to sell the movie over Bit Torrent through their "bundles" program, which BitTorrent launched to help "legitimize" the platform. According to The Verge, it was the first feature film to be distributed in such a format. At the same time, Cross launched a Kickstarter campaign for the movie's general release which would then distribute the movie using a pay what you want methodology.

In April 2015, episodes were ordered for a new sketch comedy show starring Cross and Odenkirk called W/ Bob & David. It premiered in November 2015 on Netflix. Cross and Odenkirk write, star in, and produce the show.

On the January 10, 2016, broadcast of the National Public Radio-syndicated quiz show Ask Me Another, Cross appeared as a celebrity guest and performed well enough that at the audience's request the show's producers took the unusual step of allowing him to advance to the show's final, championship round; he then won that round and became that episode's overall champion, winning a prize package that included a pair of denim cutoff shorts that he himself had autographed.

He created the eight-episode black comedy series Bliss, which was released by the BritBox streaming service in 2018. It stars Stephen Mangan as Andrew, a fraudulent travel writer. The same year Cross provided the lead character's "white voice" in the science fiction comedy film Sorry to Bother You,


Cross has said his comedic influences include Bill Hicks, Andy Kaufman, Monty Python's Flying Circus, Lou Costello, Steven Wright, Richard Pryor, and Lenny Bruce.

Personal life

In August 2011, after four years of dating, Cross became engaged to Amber Tamblyn. They married in 2012. On February 21, 2017, Tamblyn announced that she and Cross had recently had a daughter.

Cross, who was raised into Judaism, has described himself as an atheist. He describes his political philosophy as "definitely more socialist Democrat than centrist politician". In an interview in 2016, Cross praised Senator Bernie Sanders and said he admired Sanders "way before he ran for President". In 2021, Cross featured on a video produced by the Gravel Institute, a progressive think tank.

On September 26, 2013, Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler revealed that Cross was the first investor in the crowdfunding platform. Strickler included Cross among the "friends and family" who first financed Kickstarter in 2006.

Cross is a fan of and friends with the musical group Beastie Boys. He is sampled on the beginning of the group's single "Ch-Check It Out" from their album To the 5 Boroughs. One of the group's members, Mike D, did not believe that this was Cross's voice in the sample, and Cross says he had to perform the voice in front of Diamond to prove it was actually him. Cross revealed this while hosting the Beastie Boys SiriusXM channel. Cross also appeared in the group's music video for "Make Some Noise" which was nominated for Video of The Year at the 2011 MTV Video Music Awards. In Spike Jonze documentary Beastie Boys Story, Cross has a post-credit scene in which he interrupts the group's theater performance to poke fun at the commercial failure of their second album, Paul's Boutique.


Comedy albums

Year Title Label Notes
2002 ... Baby! Sub Pop (CD); Stand Up! Records (vinyl) Nominated–Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album (2003)
2004 It's Not Funny Sub Pop (CD); Stand Up! Records (vinyl)
2010 Bigger and Blackerer Sub Pop
2016 ...America...Great... Self-released (CD); Stand Up! Records (vinyl) Nominated–Grammy Award for Best Comedy Album (2016)
2019 Oh, Come On Comedy Dynamics

Videos and films

Year Title Notes
1999 The Pride Is Back HBO special
2003 Let America Laugh tour documentary
2010 Bigger and Blackerer
2016 Making America Great Again
2019 Oh, Come On
2022 I'm From The Future

Compilation appearances

Year Title
2004 Rock Against Bush, Vol. 1
2005 Invite Them Up
2007 Comedy Death-Ray
2008 Awesome Record, Great Songs! Volume One



Year Title Role Notes
1995 Destiny Turns on the Radio Ralph Dellaposa
1996 The Truth About Cats & Dogs Male Radio Caller / Bookstore Man
The Cable Guy Sales Manager
Waiting for Guffman UFO Expert
1997 Who's the Caboose? Jaded Guy
Men in Black Newton, Morgue Attendant
1998 Small Soldiers Irwin Wayfair
The Thin Pink Line Tommy Dantsbury
1999 Can't Stop Dancing Chapman
2000 Chain of Fools Andy
2001 Ghost World Gerrold
Dr. Dolittle 2 Dog #2 Voice
Pootie Tang Pootie Tang Impostor
Scary Movie 2 Dwight Hartman
One Day... Short film
2002 Life Without Dick Rex
Men in Black II Newton
Martin & Orloff Dan Wasserman
Run Ronnie Run Ronnie Dobbs / Pootie T / Chow Chow's voice Also writer
2003 Melvin Goes to Dinner Seminar Leader
2004 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Rob Eakin
2006 Awesome; I ... Shot That! Nathaniel Hörnblowér
She's the Man Principal Gold
Curious George Junior Bloomsberry Voice
School for Scoundrels Ian Winsky
2007 Crashing Man In Space
The Grand Larry Schwartzman
I'm Not There Allen Ginsberg
Battle for Terra Giddy Voice
Alvin and the Chipmunks Ian Hawke
2008 The Toe Tactic Timmy Voice
Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs Yivo Voice
Kung Fu Panda Crane Voice
Secrets of the Furious Five Voice
Short film
The Legend of Secret Pass Loo Voice
2009 Meltdown Ham Sandwich Short Film
Year One Cain
Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel Ian Hawke
2010 Megamind Minion Voice
2011 Fight For Your Right Revisited Nathaniel Hörnblowér Short film
Megamind: The Button of Doom Minion Voice
Short film
Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked Ian Hawke
Kung Fu Panda 2 Crane Voice
Demoted Ken Castro
2012 It's a Disaster Glenn Randolph
2013 Kill Your Darlings Louis Ginsberg
The Gynotician Gynotician Short film
Also co-writer
2014 Hits Director and writer
Obvious Child Sam
2015 The Wolfpack Project Documentary
Executive producer
Pitch Perfect 2 Riff-Off Host Credited as Sir Willups Brightslymoore
2016 Kung Fu Panda: Secrets of the Scroll Crane Voice
Short film
Kung Fu Panda 3 Voice
Folk Hero & Funny Guy Chris DeRose
2017 The Post Howard Simons
2018 Sorry to Bother You Cash's white voice Voice
Next Gen Dr. Rice / Q-Bots Voice
2020 Beastie Boys Story Himself Documentary
The Dark Divide Robert Michael Pyle
2021 8-Bit Christmas

Stand-up specials

Year Title
2022 I'm From The Future
2019 Oh Come On
2016 Making America Great Again!
2010 Bigger and Blackerer
2003 Let America Laugh
1999 The Pride is Back
1996 HBO Comedy Half-Hour
1993 Two Drink Minimum


Year Title Role Notes
1992–1993 The Ben Stiller Show Stage Manager / Boyfriend 2 episodes
Also writer
Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1993)
1995 A Bucket of Blood Charlie Television film
1995–1998 Mr. Show with Bob and David Various roles 30 episodes
Also co-creator, writer and executive producer
Nominated–Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1998–1999)
Nominated –Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Music and Lyrics (1998)
1996–1997 The Drew Carey Show Earl 2 episodes
1996–1998 NewsRadio David / Theo 2 episodes
1997–1998 Dr. Katz, Professional Therapist David (voice) 2 episodes
1997–2000 Tenacious D Comic Dressed as Nun Episode: "Angel in Disguise"
Also co-creator, writer and executive producer
1997 Space Ghost Coast to Coast Himself Episode: "Gallagher"
1998 Hercules Fear (voice) Episode: "Hercules and the Owl of Athens"
1999–2003 Just Shoot Me! Donnie DiMauro 3 episodes
2000 Strangers with Candy Dr. Trepanning Episode: "Is My Daddy Crazy?"
2001 Night of the Living Doo Himself (voice) Television film
Home Movies Guy in Grocery Store (voice) Episode: "Brendon's Choice"
2002–2008 Aqua Teen Hunger Force Happy Time Harry / Bert Banana (voices) 3 episodes
2002 Never Mind the Buzzcocks Himself American version,panel game show, 1 episode
2003–2004 Oliver Beene Future Oliver David Beene (voice) 23 episodes
2003 King of the Hill Ward Rackley (voice) Episode: "Witches of East Arlen"
2003–2004 Crank Yankers Benjamin Dubois / Ray Shanty (voices) 2 episodes
2013, 2018–2019
Arrested Development Dr. Tobias Fünke 78 episodes
Nominated–Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (2005–2006, 2014)
Nominated–Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor – Television Series (2004)
2004 Pilot Season Ben (voice) 2 episodes
2005 Tom Goes to the Mayor Todd (voice) Episode: "Calcucorn"
2005–2007 The Colbert Report Russ Lieber (voice) 7 episodes
2006 O'Grady Randy Harnisch (voice) Episode: "Big Jerk on Campus"
Wonder Showzen T-Totaled Timbo / Junkyard Jessip / Storytime Hostage 3 episodes
Freak Show Benny / Primi / Various voices 7 episodes
Also co-creator, writer, and executive producer
Family Guy Jerry Kirkwood (voice) Episode: "Prick Up Your Ears"
2007–2008 Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job! Pizza Boy / James the ... Doodles Artist / Lou 3 episodes
2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Ronnie Chase Episode: "Bombshell"
Odd Job Jack Julius J (voice) Episode: "King Ho"
2008 David's Situation David Pilot
Also co-creator and writer
Human Giant Peter Burns 2 episodes
2009 Important Things with Demetri Martin Co-worker Episode: "Chairs"
Paid Programming Pilot
Also co-creator
2010 Kung Fu Panda Holiday Crane Voice
2010–2011 Running Wilde Dr. Andy Weeks 7 episodes
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret Todd Margaret 19 episodes
Also creator, writer, and associate producer
2011, 2018 Archer Noah (voice) 6 episodes
2011 Soul Quest Overdrive Bert (voice) 6 episodes
2011–2012 Modern Family Duane Bailey 3 episodes
2012 Mary Shelley's Frankenhole Jim Belushi / John Belushi (voices) Episode: "Robert Louis Stevenson's Belushi"
2012–2013 Comedy Bang! Bang! Himself / Chef 2 episodes
2013–2014 The Heart, She Holler Jack 12 episodes
2014 Rick and Morty Prince Nebulon (voice) Episode: "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!"
Community Hank Hickey Episode: "Advanced Advanced Dungeons & Dragons"
Dead Boss Derek Bridges Pilot
Maron Himself Episode: "Marc's Family"
... History Baron von Steuben Episode: "Philadelphia"
2015 Asylum Juan Pablo Episode: "Project Siren"
TripTank Jack (voice) Episode: "Precipice of Yesterday"
W/ Bob & David Various roles 4 episodes
Also co-creator, writer, and executive producer
2016–2017 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Russ Snyder 4 episodes
2016 We Bare Bears Director (voice) Episode: "The Audition"
2017 Pig Goat Banana Cricket Thaddeus D. Actwell (voice) Episode: "Steak Bus"
2018–2019 Goliath Pete "The Broker" Oakland 6 episodes
2018 Bliss Creator, writer, and director
Ask the StoryBots Hippie Episode: "How Do Flowers Grow?"
The Shivering Truth Soldier (voice) Episode: "Ogled Inklings"
2019–2020 Big Mouth Skip Glouberman (voice) 2 episodes
2021 Genius Jerry Wexler 7 episodes
Teenage Euthanasia (voice) Episode: "First Date with the Second Coming"
What We Do in the Shadows Dominykas the Dreadful Episode: "A Farewell"
Station Eleven Gil 2 episodes
Bubble Guppies Freezy Dragon (voice) Episode: "Christmas is Coming!"

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2004 Halo 2 Marine (voice) G-Phoria Award for Best Voice Male Performance
Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas Zero (voice)
2006 Curious George Junior (voice)
2009 Brütal Legend Screamwagon's demon (voice)
2020 Grand Theft Auto Online DJ Zachary (voice) The Cayo Perico Heist DLC

Music videos

Year Title Role
1997 "Watery Hands" by Superchunk Actor
"Sugarcube" by Yo La Tengo
2004 "10 A.M. Automatic" by The Black Keys Director
2005 "Juicebox" by The Strokes Actor
"Use It" by The New ...
2006 "Vicarious" DVD by Tool Commentary
2011 "Make Some Noise" by Beastie Boys Actor


Year Title Role
2015 Harmontown Himself
2016 Homecoming Anthony Azam
Cum Town Himself
2017 Chapo Trap House
2018 The Official Podcast Himself
2019 What a Time to Be Alive Himself
2020 Off Menu Himself
Life Is Short With Justin Long Himself
2021 Smartless
2022 Useful ...
Your Mom’s House

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: David Cross para niños

National Hispanic Heritage Month on Kiddle
Eminent Hispanic scientists
Walter Alvarez
Joel Salinas
Jaime Escalante
Claudia Benitez-Nelson
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