David Cross's very funny series, "The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret," returns to IFC on Jan. 7 after a three year hiatus. The second season ended with the end of the world (literally), so the 51-year-old comedian had some serious storyboarding to do before bringing his show back to network TV. He'll be in Boston on March 27 for his "Making America Great Again!" tour at the Wilbur, his first stand-up tour in six years.
We caught up with the one-time Emerson student before his show premieres Thursday.
Season 2 of this show ended with Todd Margaret blowing up the entire world. How do you go about reviving a show that literally ended with the apocalypse?
The short answer is, I didn’t. I had no intention of revisiting the show. It felt complete. I thought we’d done a really good job there, and told the story from beginning to end just the way we had meant to. Then IFC poked me about doing a third series and I said “No no no no no no no, but out of common courtesy and professionalism, I will approach the other writers and see if there’s any ideas that they have, because I can’t think of one.”
Within an hour, Mark Chappell wrote up this amazing idea that was so good that I stood there going “Shit. I’ve got to do this again. I’m going to have to do this. I’m going to have to go back to London for another nine months and be away from friends and family and my dog and my house.” That’s how good the idea was.
To what degree will viewers be lost watching Season 3 if they missed Seasons 1 and 2? Is it the kind of show with plot points to keep track of?
No, not really. Here’s the difference: If you go to the Museum of Modern Art, and you’re looking at some big painting, like a Mark Rothko or a Jackson Pollock, something that is just non-linear and abstract, you might look at it and go, “Huh, that's kind of interesting, I guess,” and then you walk away. The difference between that experience and looking at that piece with someone pointing out what’s interesting about this painting [is that] you walk away with a greater appreciation of it [with context.]
Both people who viewed the painting enjoyed it, but one person is going to enjoy it on a much deeper level. And I would say, that would be equally true of someone who watches Season 3 without seeing the first two seasons.
On the show, Todd Margaret is portrayed as a nearly pathological liar. Are you much of a liar? And, if yes, can you remember the best — or worst — lie you ever told?
I’m sure the last lie I told was something like, “Oh, yeah, I enjoyed it. Really good show!” or something to that effect, but I am a terrible liar. I get sweaty and I kind of get outside myself and I can see how the person is looking at me and I feel like I’m giving off a million tells and everyone can see I’m lying.