David Cross has no peer in sarcastic aptitude. The Atlanta-born, New York-based comic/actor is the king of contemporary alt-humor — a subgenre forever bent on abandoning norms, but one that Cross habitually reinvents, whether he's covering a Bank of America executive's tragic YouTube appropriation of U2's "One" or suggesting that God likes to fuck little boys. Cross's mid-to-late-'90s HBO sketch creation, Mr. Show with Bob [Odenkirk] and David, packed more genius into four seasons than the past two decades of SNL combined; his work as Tobias Funke on the Fox sleeper Arrested Development was ball-draining; his new hardcover, I Drink for a Reason (Grand Central Publishing), is the rare work of written wit that doesn't reek of repetition. Of course, not everyone agrees with the superlatives that alt-comedy dorks would heap upon the bald wonder. Those people are called Larry the Cable Guy fans, and Cross set them straight a few years ago with the most degrading torrent ever aimed at one comic by another.
A friend told me you'd eat me alive if I let on that I'm a hardcore Mr. Show fanatic. But I figured I'd better get that over with up front. So, basically: I do have a picture of you and Bob on my wall, but I don't masturbate to it.
I'm proud of you. But I'm not here to eat anybody alive — why would I do that?
From the outside, it seems you're a bit shy, or at least chronically misanthropic.
I'm not misanthropic at all. You can't go on tour and do two shows a day and book signings in the middle of the day and meet people and autograph stuff and be a misanthrope. I mean, you could, but you'd be a liar, and if I'm anything, I'm honest. It doesn't really matter that I get that rep, but it bothers me a little bit.
It comes up a few times in your book that you're a Red Sox fan, but I can't tell whether you're being serious or poking fun at super-fans. You're kind of like the boy who cried wolf in that regard. So what's the truth?
I'm not the boy who cried wolf. I'm 45 years old, so I'm the man who cried wolf. I'm a huge Red Sox fan; I've spent upward of $15,000 seeing games. I was at games three and four of the ALDS in 2004.
You went to Emerson for one semester and dropped out. Was it more that you didn't like college or that you didn't like Boston?
I liked Boston — I just ran out of money quickly. I had no money, and my family was poor, and I took out loans — plus it wasn't worth it. Emerson is good in a certain few fields, but it's not really worth all that money for what I wanted to do, which was film. I found a lot of really cool like-minded peers in Boston, and I'm still friends with lots of them, like Janeane Garofalo, Marc Maron, and Louis C.K. . . . It was an important part of my development.