Since his last stand-up tour in 2009, comedian David Cross reprised the role of “Arrested Development’s” Tobias Funke, reteamed with his “Mr. Show” co-creator (and “Better Call Saul” star) Bob Odenkirk for “W/ Bob and David” (both for Netflix), and starred in IFC’s “The Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret.” He married actress/author Amber Tamblyn, popped up in everything from “Modern Family” to “Pitch Perfect 2,” and voiced characters in “Archer” and the “Kung Fu Panda” franchise.
What the comedian hasn’t done is much stand-up. That changed in late January when he embarked on the 65-city “Make America Great Again” tour that runs through late April. He explained what made now a good time to return to the road and why fans shouldn’t expect a political-heavy show despite the tour’s title.
Q. You had a day off yesterday. How do you spend days off on the road?
A. My wife and I saw “Deadpool,” which we loved. I finally had a decent meal. I’m hungover and doing this. She joined up a couple days ago. She’s doing readings from her book “Dark Sparkler” in all the cities at bookstores. (Tamblyn will appear at The Regulator Bookshop in Durham on Wednesday at 7 p.m.)
Q. Did you time the tour around the political race? The title suggests that we’ll hear more political commentary.
A. I had it way before Trump did. I actually got it from Reagan’s campaign. When we were booking the tour the booker called me and said, “We need a title right now.” It just occurred to me. It’s not an evening of political comedy at all. There’s a few moments where I talk about that.
Q. So what made this a good time to return to stand-up?
A. The project I would’ve been working on got postponed, and I found out I had to have major shoulder surgery and a long physical-therapy period. I knew I couldn’t take any work. Your arm is not completely useable. It forced me to be in one place for one period of time for physical therapy. I put all the stuff I’ve been doing, scraps of paper, stuff I’ve been doing during drop-ins and at friends’ shows.
Q. Does it evolve as the tour goes on or is it pretty set?
A. I tend to riff and meander on any given night. I’m roughly 20 percent through the tour and I’ve dropped three bits in favor of other bits. I try not to stay up there too long. I’ll go two hours and that’s self-indulgent. I try to keep it under an hour-fifteen or an hour-thirty. I tend to write on stage and pick the little things that I improvised or riffed and that will become part of the show.
Q. This isn’t one of those fly-in for three dates, go home for the week. You’re actually touring. What’s that been like, given six years off?
A. Having my wife with me negates a lot of that. It’s been fun. It’s very satisfying to go to places where people are and they don’t have to travel three hours to come hear me. We’re doing smaller cities and towns you might not normally play, along with bigger places. They’re so deeply appreciative.
Q. The folks from “Mr. Show” have popped up all over the place in the ensuing years. Did you have any foresight as to how well those actors would do?
A. I don’t know if we foresaw it in a crystal ball-predicted way. Those are some very talented people. We knew it was special when we were working on it. It’s a source of pride for Bob and I to go, “These guys are running their own shows now.”
Q. Did you think it was ahead of its time?
A. No. I thought it was of its time. Because it was on HBO before the Internet, it never plays anywhere. Whoever owns the rights to it, it’s not worth it to them to air it or stream it. It kind of adds to the cult-y aspect of it. It wasn’t very popular when it was on. We were on their comedy block and the Monday graveyard. We wish it was accessible. The DVDs are out of print.
What: David Cross: Making America Great Again
When: 8 p.m. Wednesday
Where: Carolina Theatre, 309 W. Morgan St., Durham
Info: 919-560-3030 or carolinatheatre.org