David Cross Explains Balance of Indie Cred and Chipmunk Cash

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Hey, did ya see that Chipmunks movie yet? The one that looks like a sub-Garfield brain-dissolving Hollywood CGI cash-in? No? Well, me neither, but it turns out comedian David Cross is in it, which if you’re like me you didn’t know until this bit of news hit Defamer: Cross has posted a lengthy defense of taking Chipmunk money on his website, apparently in response to a dis from Patton Oswalt, who had a part in the considerably-more-highbrow Ratatouille and turned down the part in Chipmunks. The screed is vintage Cross, brutally honest, kind of mixed up, and pretty damn funny:

I knew going into this movie that I would be eating a lot of delicious shit for it. Usually I wouldn’t give a shit about what everyone’s feelings are about it, but I wasn’t prepared for the level, or amount I should say, of vitriol that’s been flung about like so much monkey poo. But then I read Patton’s snide comment in his blog about how he and Brian were offered the part and how they then chucked the script in disgust only to have it hungrily intercepted from it’s intended trajectory into the incinerator by me, a money hungry whore sell out, (I’m paraphrasing).

Cross goes on to defend his taking the part for a variety of “mitigating factors,” including that the movie is for kids so who cares, he doesn’t care about the original “Alvin and the Chipmunks” so who cares, he likes working so who cares, and most amusingly, he wanted to buy a little place in upstate New York and the seller wouldn’t take “credibility and artistic integrity” instead of money. True dat.

I mock Mr. Cross, but I mock because I love. In fact, for me, like many people in somewhat creative fields, the money factor is always a challenge, i.e., how much money overcomes reservations about a gig, and are there gigs you should “just say no” to? Personally, as a DJ, I take on just about everything people ask me to do, passing myself around to corporate parties and cheeseball nightspots like a drunken French whore at a sailor’s bar. Or something. However, I draw the line at weddings, where the wild disparity in age groups means you need a massive library of potential requests ready to go, and if you don’t have the bride’s great aunt’s favorite song you’ve ruined everything. But that’s for my own emotional health, not my “image.” Anyway, thankfully I have enough fun gigs where I get to indulge my creativity that it balances things out, but if McDonalds wanted to pay me $250K to make a mashup for a commercial, what would I do? I don’t know. I want a place in upstate New York! So, is David Cross a sellout, a bad judge of when to sell out, or an awesome dude who’s just trying to get by like everybody else? Any creative types care to weigh in: what’s your price?

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DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

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