David Cross is a stand-up comedian cum actor who made his way into his fans’ heart through his comedy acts in ‘Mr. Show’ and ‘Arrested Development’. The funny man, who is loved by millions, rose to fame with his portrayal of Tobias Funke, a crazy psychiatrist who aspires to be an actor. With a balding head, round face and spectacles, Cross looks like the typical, boring middle-aged man—until he starts speaking and has the audience doubled up in laughter. The comedian’s real life was fraught with troubles and unhappiness in his childhood. Abandoned by his father, he grew up in poverty. He did not even have a proper home and had to live in motels and with friends who allowed him to live with them. As a teenager, he began performing stand-up comedy, and went to New York to develop his passion into a fulltime career. After struggling for years without a concrete plan, he finally got a break when offered a chance to perform for the comedy club, ‘Catch a Rising Star’. He began his television career as a writer for ‘The Ben Stiller Show’. His subsequent meeting with Bob Odenkirk changed his fortunes and gave him the chance to co-create the comedy sketch series, ‘Mr. Show’ which cemented his reputation as a stand-up comedian.
Childhood & Early Life
David was born to Barry and Susie Cross in Georgia. His parents were poor and the situation worsened when his father abandoned the family.
He faced many hardships growing up. He did not have a home and spent time living in motels or with kindhearted friends.
He attended Northside High School of the Performing Arts, and enrolled at Emerson College in Boston in 1983 but dropped out in 1985 without graduating.
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Comedy was his childhood passion and he used to perform stand-up comedy as a teenager. He went to New York after quitting college where he continued performing stand-up comedy acts while looking for other venues.
He found opportunity to perform with the famous comedy club, ‘Catch a Rising Star’. He created a group, Cross Comedy with other comedians and presented a new show every week.
He was hired as a writer on the television series ‘The Ben Stiller Show’ in 1992. He also got the chance to make brief appearances on the show, ‘The Legend of T.J. O’Pootertoots’. The show lasted only 13 episodes but ensured that Cross got noticed for his talents.
During his stint at ‘The Ben Stiller Show’, he became acquainted with Bob Odenkrik with whom he collaborated to create own comedy series, ‘Mr. Show’ which premiered on HBO in 1995. The show ran till 1998.
In 1997, he co-created a television series ‘Tenacious D’ featuring the fictionalized accounts of the comedy rock band ‘Tenacious D’. Cross appeared in the show as a comic dressed in a nun’s attire.
From 1999 to 2003, he made appearances in three episodes of the television sitcom, ‘Just Shoot Me!’
He portrayed the crazy yet lovable psychiatrist Tobias Funke in the television sitcom, ‘Arrested Development’ that originally ran on Fox Network from 2003 to 2006. The show was critically acclaimed and won many awards.
He is the creator of the comedy mini-series, ‘The increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret’ which premiered on IFC in 2010. The show comprised a total of 12 episodes aired over two seasons.
He has also appeared or lent his voice to various episodes in several other comedy shows like ‘Strangers with Candy’, ‘Aqua Teen Hunger Force’ and ‘Archer’.
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He has also appeared in many films in minor roles including ‘The Cable Guy’ (1996), ‘Dr. Dolittle 2’ (2001), ‘Alvin and the Chipmunks’ (2007), and ‘Kung Fu Panda 2’ (2011).
He released three comedy albums: ‘Shut up your Fucking Baby!’ (2002), ‘It’s Not Funny’ (2004), ‘Bigger and Blackerer’ (2010).
His work as a writer for ‘The Ben Stiller Show’ was highly appreciated even though the show was very short-lived. The show won him an Emmy Award and showcased his comedy talents to the world.
‘Mr. Show’, the sketch comedy series he co-created with Bob Odenkrik was a highly successful one and earned four Primetime Emmy Award nominations. It ran for four seasons on HBO.
His portrayal of Tobias Funke in ‘Arrested Development’ won the hearts of his fans. Initially, he was meant to have a minor role, but on sensing his popularity, the producer gave him a significant role.
Awards & Achievements
He won the 1993 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program as a writer for ‘The Ben Stiller Show’.
Personal Life & Legacy
He dated actress Amber Tamblyn, 19 years his junior, and they got married in 2012.
His memoir, ‘I Drink for a Reason’ was published in 2009.
He has appeared in PETA’s ‘I’d rather go Naked than Wear Fur’ campaigns.