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Mr. One-Man Show

David Cross is funny as hell. So why isn't he laughing?

David Cross:I did those things so I could get more work. I did it so I could get the kind of work that I think I deserve and am capable of, which may sound a little arrogant, but I think I could be doing stuff like Rob Schneider and Adam Sandler and actually making that material better or move up to stuff Jim Carrey gets to do with the pseudo-dramatic stuff. I could do all that, but I'm not gonna be able to walk into an office right now and do that. I have to start getting out there and getting people to see me, even if it's a piece of shit. That's how it works. It's about money, and it's about doing something that will allow me to do more work. Doing Scary Movie 2wasn't the easiest decision, but it gave me more money than I made on four years of Mr. Show. It was three months' work, and it was fuckin' around. I did other stuff while I was doing it, and it allowed me to move to New York and buy an apartment, which was pretty much what I wanted to do.

Cross has been criticized by friends, not close ones, for whoring himself out to Hollywood. Yet, he has not been in front of a camera for almost two years, which is why he continues to go on the road and work comedy clubs, as well as write forVice magazine and, most recently,Playboy, so, the theory goes, he can masturbate to his own work.

David Cross:I'm not well-known, which is probably a small part of it. I just haven't gotten any auditions. I dunno. Could be a zillion factors. Maybe my management and agent team isn't as effective as it could be. Maybe I'm not scoring in these auditions. Maybe I'm being overly critical of the material I get. It could be a bunch of stuff. But whatever it is, I'm not working, so in a sense, that's why you go out and you do these stand-up tours, because I have to work. If I'm not working, I get very depressed and a little crazy. Just keep working, then when another Scary Movie 2 comes down the pike, ya know what, I'll fuckin' take it, because I did a lot of work for nothing. I'll take it and enjoy the reward that some big dumb movie provides. And I also learned a couple of years ago, and this is really key to happiness in my life, not to care about what somebody in their basement typing on their mom's computer on the Internet in the chat room thinks of me 'cause I did Scary Movie 2. Like my friends--not my real friends, not old friends, but people I work with on the West Coast--kinda have that attitude, that kinda sneer and scoffing, like, "Well, you did Scary Movie 2, so you can't be all thatpure." All right, whatever. I don't give a shit.

Last year, Cross and Odenkirk finished production on their first feature film,Run Ronnie Run, based on a recurringMr. Show character called Ronnie Dobbs, a white-trash doofus played by Cross. The movie, about Odenkirk's character's attempt to make Ronnie a TV star, was scheduled for release in 2002 and screened at a handful of film festivals this year, but Odenkirk and Cross were unhappy with the finished film. New Line took the film away from the pair and producer and director Troy Miller and recut the movie, renderingRun Ronnie Run an incoherent mess, a bunch of skits loosely bound by a narrative. New Line will never releaseRun Ronnie Run in its current incarnation, which is just fine with Odenkirk and Cross, who would prefer to forget the movie exists altogether. For now, the film is available only on eBay, where pirated DVDs sell for approximately $20, or $17.24 more than it's actually worth. Cross now refers to the movie as a "debacle."

David Cross: Run Ronnie Run is about as average a movie as you can imagine. Very hit or miss. When it hits, it's really funny. When it misses, which is quite often, it's just sorta, "Uh, what a weird choice. Fuckin', how about something funny, guys?" It's been cut a billion times, and there was a cut that was at Sundance that went to screenings that Bob and I went back and tried to salvage something from it, because we don't think it's that great. We think it's slow. It is. We know it is. There are jokes that could be better. So we made these suggestions based on the existing print, because we were never given access to dailies, which is like cooking with broccoli and salt and being asked to make something amazing. And we have some good suggestions specifically for the ending that would make things better, but the movie was taken out of our hands and Troy's hands, as well. I think Troy would want to do those cuts if we could, but New Line's got it, and New Line's not gonna pony up. It's very frustrating. I don't even talk about it anymore, except in occasional references or something like that.

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