David Cross is awesome. We can all agree on that, right? He’s a brilliant stand-up comic – Shut Up You Fucking Baby is one of the great modern comedy albums [Note from Nick: No.]. He’s been the best part in many shitty movies like Small Soldiers and Men and Black II and part of the wonderful ensembles in Waiting for Guffman, Ghost World, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. (He’s also playing Allen Ginsberg in Todd Haynes’s Bob Dylan picture I’m Not There.)
Next to his stand-up career, though, Cross has been at his most brilliant on television, first on Mr. Show and then as analrapist Tobias Funke on Arrested Development. If you’re reading this, you probably know how great Cross was on the show – and maybe you even saw his rant about FOX on the second season DVD. If you’re one of the few who hasn’t yet seen Arrested Development, do so. Believe me when I say Cross is just one hilarious part of a legendary ensemble on one of the most brilliant comedies of the new millennium. Cross has also appeared on the critically acclaimed comedies NewsRadio, Strangers with Candy, and Wonder Showzen, as well as being Stephen Colbert’s nemesis on The Colbert Report.
Now, why am I praising Cross in full-on James Lipton mode, which I know he’d hate? Well, David Cross has taken a role in the new CBS pilot I’m In Hell. Hell is a comedy starring Jason Biggs as a dead Wall Street exec who learns that Hell itself has become too full – and is thus sentenced to “hell on earth.” THUD previously reported that the pretty hilarious Timm Sharp of Undeclared joined the cast as Biggs’s roommate. According to the Hollywood Reporter, what’s Cross’s role?
Well, not quite. The Hollywood Reporter says Cross is playing “Scott, a sharply dressed man who serves as an emissary from Hell.” But then they put “the devil” in parentheses, so I don’t know what their thinking is, except that this is an absolutely perfect role for Cross. As evidenced by his standup and his evisceration of Larry the Cable Guy, Cross is a very intelligent guy and he’s one of the few comedians who deserves being called “edgy.” He’s quick-witted and he can let loose with a sudden torrent of wrath that makes you wish you were back in bed with Polly Purebred. These are all absolutely essential qualities for playing an emissary of hell (the devil).
Now, it remains to be seen if I’m In Hell falls into the Mr. Show/Arrested Development column of Cross’s career, or if this goes into the bin with his roles on Just Shoot Me and The Drew Carey Show. But with the addition of Sharp and now Cross, I’m In Hell went from being a sitcom I couldn’t care less about to one I really want to see.
In short: (David) Cross. Not just a thing they nail people to.