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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Is the former star of ‘Arrested Development’ the worst daddy in the world?

Comedian and actor David Cross will bring his new comedy show, ‘The Worst Daddy in the World,’ to the Bing Crosby Theater on Friday.  (David Cross)
By Ed Condran The Spokesman-Review

“The Worst Daddy in the World,” which is the title of David Cross’ show coming Friday to the Bing Crosby Theater, is a joke.

But that’s par for the course with Cross. The veteran comic didn’t come up with the moniker. The inspiration is from his 6-year-old daughter. “She gave me the title,” Cross said while calling from his Brooklyn apartment. “She unwittingly said it one day. But the truth is that I’m not the worst father. People who think like me would probably think I’m a great dad. And then there are conservatives and white Christian national patriots that might think I’m not a good dad the way I’m raising her. I annoy both conservatives and uber progressive folks. I’m sure neither side would like my parenting.”

Cross, 57, will joke about parenting and many other topics at the Bing. “My stories and jokes about being a dad are part of my entire set but they also act as a bridge to other things have nothing to do with being a parent,” Cross said. “There are a number of layers to my shows.”

The highlight of the show is Cross’ take on parenting. The unpredictable humorist had his daughter at a time when he could spend considerable time with her. During the ‘80s the Georgia native was finding his voice as a stand-up. During the ‘90s Cross broke through with the hilarious HBO sketch comedy program, “Mr. Show,” which he created and co-starred with Bob Odenkirk.

“Mr. Show,” which ran from 1995 to 1998, still resonates due to a few rules the tandem followed.

“We avoided doing impressions of who was a current pop culture celebrity,” Cross said. “We never made fun of Paris Hilton. Instead we would do a sketch about someone who had no discernible talent but was very popular in the entertainment world and was very rich. That separated us from ‘Saturday Night Live.’ If you go back to an episode of SNL from 1995, there will be sketches about people a lot of people don’t know of or remember today. The other rule we tried to stay true to was not repeating characters very often. It wasn’t like we did a sketch over and over again with a character like “The Copy Guy.” I think those are two reasons why “Mr. Show” still goes over well a generation after it was on.”

Odenkirk, whose credits include “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul,” and Cross remain best friends. The pair bonded over their love of comedy when “Mr. Show” commenced. “We have a similar mindset when it comes to humor,” Cross said. “We’re both a little cocky and we’re both elitist when it comes to comedy.”

During the 2000s, Cross appeared in the Fox hit sitcom “Arrested Development.” Like “Mr. Show,” “Arrested Development” was a critical success. The show, which was narrated by Ron Howard, featured an exceptional ensemble cast: Jessica Walter, Jason Bateman, Jeffrey Tambor, Portia DiRossi, Will Arnett and Michael Cera. Such icons as Henry Winkler and Liza Minnelli had recurring roles. The initial run of “Arrested Development” was from 2003-2006 was wonderfully quirky and often hilarious. There was an “Arrested Development reboot in 2013, 2018 and 2019.

“’Arrested Development’ was an extraordinary show,” Cross said. “It was such a pleasure to work on it. We all knew early on that the show was something special. It had to be special for me to move back to Los Angeles. It was worth altering my life, which I wasn’t going to do unless I was working on something significant that I really enjoyed.”

Cross was initially drawn to comedy as a teenager. “I loved ‘Monty Python’s Flying Circus,’ Abbott and Costello, ‘Saturday Night Live’ and ‘Dr. Demento,’ ” Cross said. “I was the nerd. I was the weirdo in school. I was the funny nerdy kid that a million TV shows have been based on. I bonded over comedy with my nerdy friends.”

Cross found a refuge in comedy. It helped fill a void since his dad left early on in his life. Cross is the antithesis of his father. “I would never leave my daughter or my wife,” Cross said, who has been married to actor Amber Tamblyn since 2012. “My family is of the most importance to me. I try to be the best father possible even though I’m the worst daddy in the world.”