DAVID CROSS: Hi, how are you?
DAVID CROSS: Good, good. Sorry about the mess.
No worries. So, I thought I would start… Um, are … you’re recording this?
Yeah. No disrespect, but I’ve been burned a few times before with being misquoted or, let’s be honest about it, people just making things up. Shit I would never say. So, yeah. I record everything as well.
But, we’re the same…
I know, just playing it safe.
Okay, but… Well, okay, sure. Whatever. Should we get started? Let me turn this on here. [Into mic] “Check, check.” [Pause] Okay, looks good.
Me too. Hang on. [Into mic] “Check check. Check one, two, three. Mic check! Check, check… Mic check! Roger Sister Penguin check!” [Editor’s note: this went on for several minutes.] Okay, we’re good to go. Would you like anything to drink?
Sure, water’d be great. Thanks. Tap is good.
I was gonna have a beer.
Oh! I’d love a beer. Cool. Didn’t think that would be an option.
Huh? Why? What do you mean by that?
Nothing. I just meant, you know, it didn’t occur to me is all.
Okay. Well, should we just go down to the pub, then? There’s a pretty great low key one just down Westbourne Park. The Prince Albert?
Yes! A pub, sure. I forgot that you—we are in London.
Working on series two of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret?
Yeah. More like “second half” rather than “series two.” The story ends with these six.
I have some questions I’d like to ask about that later, but I wanted to know—do you like London?
Oh, very much, yeah. I love it here. I mean, I get lonely occasionally, but all things being equal, meaning if my life, work, friends, et cetera were here, I would prefer to live here. I think it’s quite ideal for me. Especially at this part of my life.
Really? Over New York? I know you love New York City.
Yeah, I think so. I’ve become a little disenchanted with New York recently. In part because of where I live, in the East Village, which has changed tremendously in the last ten years, as it had in the ten years prior to that and ten years prior to that, et cetera. But a Subway Sandwich just opened up on Avenue B, and a large frat/sports bar is coming to the old Café Charbon on Orchard and Stanton, so it’s truly time to go. But I’ll move within the city. Depends on what my future wife’s plans are.
Off the record! Not going to talk about that. Come on, let’s go to the pub!
Thank you [David has handed me a pint of Greene King IPA]. Now, I’d like to get back to something you mentioned earlier when we were talking about London versus New York City…
Well, it’s not a contest.
No, I know, I just meant…
Sorry, I was being a dick. I know what you meant.
Okay. Um, so, yes. Earlier when we were discussing it, you said of being in London that it would suit you in “this part of your life.” Can you explain that?
Well, it’s got all the elements that I appreciate now in a city. I don’t feel the need—or desire is perhaps the better word—for all night stimulation with a just-around-the-corner-lurking- in-the-shadows sense of potential trouble that used to always appeal to me. Does that make sense?
To me, yes. It’s crystal clear. But you might want to clarify to the readers—
Of BULLETT? Who are the readers of BULLETT?
I don’t have a clue.
What is it? A fashion or art magazine, right? Something like that?
I really don’t know. I’ve never read it. I honestly didn’t know of its existence before I got this assignment.
Why would any BULLETT readers care about what I have to say, I wonder?
Well, who knows who the readers are? And for that matter, if they really read the magazine, or even retain the scant information they do read within it. They might just like the pictures.
Right. I imagine the readers are attractive in an “offbeat” way and consider themselves to be precious and describe their lives as “fantastic.” Up until the very minute they succumb to AIDS. Then, not so fantastic.
Now, that kind of harsh judgmental statement has gotten you in trouble before. And most of the planet, with the small exception of those who know you, think you are either a dick or an asshole, depending on who’s metering out the metaphorical genitalia assignments. And I should say, when I told a friend of mine that I was going to be interviewing you, he said, “I heard he’s kind of a dick.”*
I am well aware of my reputation. Deserved? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. I will say that while I can certainly be less than open to singing “Chicken Pot Pie” to your boyfriend on his voicemail, it mostly just depends on A) your approach, and B) my mood. And whether I am engaged in an activity like ordering dinner or talking on the phone to someone. [At this point I received a call from the editors of BULLETT Magazine, who chided me for being pedantic and not-at-all a good interviewer. They wanted me to stick to the questions that Truman Capote, the inspiration for the self-interview, had asked himself— i.e., ask those same questions to David. I explained this to him, and after a bit of grumbling, he complied.]
So, David. If you had to live in just one place without ever leaving, where would it be?
Oh man, I don’t know. Do you mean one city? Or country? Can I say St. Martin? What if you hold me to just the French side and I can never go to the Dutch side?
I don’t know. That’s just what Truman asked himself. Next question—do you prefer animals to people?
Oh, that’s a good one. I would say that I prefer my dog to anti-gay clergy who rape kids in their spare time and those who help not only cover up their crimes but also allow them to continue. But I prefer all of my friends to dung beetles, so it depends, I guess.
Okay, next one. Are you cruel?
I don’t think so. I can be nasty and curt with a terse response to someone who perhaps doesn’t deserve that kind of treatment… yet. And I’ve certainly said things that upset friends or loved ones, which I truly regret. But outside of that, no. I don’t think so.
Do you have many friends?
On Facebook or real friends?
Well, I guess non-computer friends. People you’ve met and will re-meet, I suppose, seeing as Truman Capote died before the Internet.
Or probably home computers, even.
Okay. How many is “many?”
I don’t know, I’m literally just going off of the questions he asked himself.
Okay. I’ll say yes, then.
What qualities do you look for in friends?
Jeez, getting a bit obsessive about this. I suppose a sense of humor. Quality of drugs. How big their cock and/or vagina is, and what the chances are that they’d buy me nice sweaters.
Are you often disappointed in a friend?
Enough! What’s with all the friend questions? Was he secretly trying to get back at someone in print who had done him wrong? Seriously.
I don’t know. That’s the question, though.
Well, no. Not “often.” Occasionally, sure. Again, that’s subjective, like “many.”
Are you a truthful person?
Oh, yeah. Too truthful, probably. I’m an open book. I’m very forthcoming about my feelings and opinions, and while that’s admirable in a standup comedian and writer, it’s not so great when company’s around and you’ve made a nice dinner.
Okay, last Truman Capote question. How do you like to best occupy your spare time?
“Best” occupy it? I guess getting ahead on work that needs to be done, but at a leisurely pace. Like, if I’m at my upstate house and I know that I need to put together a pitch for a TV show idea, but I have tons of time to do it, and I’m out walking in the woods by myself or with my dog, and I put my mind to it and jot down some ideas that lead to something, and then come back and start to BBQ some ribs, and those ideas lend themselves to a more fleshed-out idea, and then while I’m shucking corn they really coalesce into my next cool idea, then … that way. Or jerking off.
Okay! That’s it for the Truman Capote questions. But I have a couple more to ask—is that okay?
Sure. As I said before, I’m an open book.
Okay, so this has been bugging me for a long time. I gotta ask you—what happened that night at that house party in Seattle after ‘The Tinkle Show?’ When you tried to take a shit on that guy’s wall before Eugene Mirman and Megan grabbed you and hustled you out of there?
What?! How’d you… this interview is over!!!
*Actual quote from a guy who had come over to interview me for Maxim. For the record, he said—and again, I quote—that I am, “warm and polite, loves animals, and answers the door with a handshake and a hot coffee.” So there, America and parts of Canada!