The Vogue Theatre hosted the quirky, comedic outlook of David Cross as part of Vancouver’s Just For Laughs North West Comedy Festival. Popularly recognized as the character Tobias Funke from the sitcom Arrested Development, David Cross defined his comedic form through decades of intelligent, often offensive, stand-up. Having established a cult-audience with comedic partner Bob Odenkirk on the unfathomably funny Mr. Show, the pair are increasingly recognized for the program’s forward-thinking comic genius. After 20 years off air, Cross and Odenkirk have returned to their sketch-comedy pairing on the November released Netflix special /W Bob and David. Few, if any, absurdist comedies have surpassed the genius and originality of Mr. Show; the resurrection of this hilarious team a sign that comedy is alive and well. The Just For Laughs NW Festival did a fantastic job securing one of today’s best comics in the midst of a hot-streak.
Walking onstage and humbly addressing the crowd, he complemented the city of Vancouver while simultaneously poking fun at the city’s showbiz reputation: “producers would always call me up and say “I’ve got a really great project for you, it’s perfect, there’s just one drawback, it’s in Vancouver,” Cross joked in good humour. Holding his audience in high esteem, Mr. Cross began with perfect politeness and cordiality; his respect for the audience endured the evening as his speech grew increasingly critical and profane.
Originating from a Jewish household in Atlanta, Georgia, Cross is accomplished in mocking of both religious absurdity and American redneckisms. Referring to American politics, Cross ridiculed the concept of the “founding fathers,” asserting that people who have been dead for a couple hundred of years would not actually have the solutions to modern social problems. “All we would have to do to blow the minds of the founding fathers would be to show them cotton candy,” quipped Cross as he impersonated an astounded Benjamin Franklin discovering modern candy for the first time. The audience gut-laughed in response.
Another highlight from the evening was Cross’ personal story of encountering a man yelling “hi Hitler” as he ran through a crowded New York City. “There’s only two possible explanations for that; either he thought he actually saw Hitler on the street and was giving a salutation, or he actually thought that everyone at Nuremberg was actually saying not “heil” but “hi” Hitler” in a moment of shared excitement.” Cross is rather talented when it comes to Nazi jokes, his combination of brutality and simplicity was succinct and effective. “Yeah, “hi” was the one english word the Nazis actually used!”
Beyond the merits of his humour, the observations of David Cross often meander off on tangent, often addressing absurd issues that are not laugh out loud funny. For Cross, a comedian is more than a joke-teller, they are a monitor of the human condition and provide important level of discourse for the public at large. The goal of a comic great is not only to make their audience laugh, but also to open up their minds towards the world’s ongoing comedy.
Walking back to stage for the encore, Cross read a passage of beautiful modernistic, scientific pathos that emphasized the revolutionary and technological accomplishments, alluding to Albert Einstein with succulent poetic zeal. Calmly flipping back the cover of his reading material, Cross exposed the magazine for what it was; a modern sales pitch for a new kind of plate. The reaction of the audience agreed with the perplexive humour; the world is a smarter, healthier place because of such observations. David Cross treads the road bravely roamed by George Carlin, a, realistic humour of our modern society. This sort of comedy isn’t just funny, it’s essential.