The first joke you ever told: When I was about eight or nine I came up with this little gem: “When a baby boy is born how can you tell if it’s Jewish? If he’s got matzo balls.”
The first time you got angry: I don’t know really. Probably when I was in the womb and my mom switched from Benson & Hedges regular to the ultra lights.
The first time you were recognized on the street: It was at the first Bumbershoot Festival (in Seattle) that I did. This would have been fall of 1995 or maybe 1996. I had no idea of the popularity of Mr. Show outside of my handful of friends. Everywhere I went kids would tell me how much they loved it. Only four shows had aired at that time, too. I was blown away. I called Bob immediately to tell him. Then I accepted what would be the first of several thousand free joints.
The first time you realized you would do comedy for a living: 2:48 p.m. August 16th, 1978. I think it was slightly overcast that day.
Your first acting experience: I was the “Narrator” for some kindergarten production of The Musicians of Bremen. It was some fairytale about animals that played instruments and did…something. I don’t remember. I think they formed their own Masonic Temple maybe? I don’t know, but I do know that for weeks afterwards I walked around proudly proclaiming that I planned on being a professional narrator when I grew up. Adorable, no?
Your first drunken experience: I remember getting tipsy at some small party that my folks were having in New York. I was a Knicks fan back then, and I remember telling every adult about Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and Dave DeBusschere and trying to spin a basketball on my tiny drunken Jewish finger. I later threw up.
The first joke that you told that got real laughs from an audience: My now classic, “What if the cast of Seinfeld was cast in Pasolini’s Salò? I think it might go something like this…”
The first truly poor decision that you made: Well this is more about financial ignorance then morals or anything, but I traded a shitload—a ton!—of baseball cards I had to some much older kid for something stupid like a box of gum or something. My dad had told me never to trade the cards because of their value in later years, but when you’re six being a teenager feels at least two lifetimes away. Also, when I was about 17 I saved a dollar by not buying the original single of “Radio Free Europe” by R.E.M., deciding to tape it off of my friend instead. That thing is worth like $500 now.
Comic genius David Cross’ new album, Bigger and Blackerer, will be released tomorrow (May 25) on Sub Pop.