David Cross opens up about his painful childhood and fear of becoming his father

David Cross opens up about his childhood, dad

Actor and comedian David Cross has been a fixture in TV and film for more than 25 years. But through all the acting opportunities he's had, Cross stayed connected to the creative outlet that first got him noticed: stand-up. 

It's an outlet that began for him when he was searching for his voice as a kid in an Atlanta suburb and dealing with being abandoned by his father, who left the family when Cross was a teenager.

He revealed in an interview with CBS News' Jamie Wax that he still harbors a fear that one day he'll do the same to his own daughter.

"I know what I and my sisters went through and my mom and I'll be real honest with you, it worried me… what if there's that thing in me? What if it's a gene? What if it's the thing that let my dad just abandon us?" Cross said.

Cross has even thought about how he'd grapple with the concept in his craft. He's scripted out a scene in his head, perhaps for a future film or TV project, where a father rationalizes his decision to leave his family behind.

"I've always imagined this. I want to put a scene in something where my dad just sort of rationalized it, and went, 'You know what? I honestly did think I wanted to have kids and be married, but now I know I don't. I don't. So anyway, I'm gonna take off,'" Cross said. "What if there's that ability to rationalize that thought? What if I had that thing in me?"

It's something that Cross finds himself worrying about now.

"And it really scared me and I try not to let on at all. I don't even think of – I don't know that I've talked about it except here," he said. "And I still don't know if, you know, she's gonna be six or seven and I'm gonna be like, 'eh.'"

Even so, Cross acknowledges there were gifts, like his introduction to comedy, that he received from his father.

"He turned me on to Abbott and Costello and the Marx brothers," Cross said. "He loved comedy."

Now, Cross is passing on that love of comedy to his daughter, taking her on tour around the world.

He also talked about a member of his "chosen family" – longtime comedy partner Bob Odenkirk. Their show,"Mr. Show with Bob and David," put Cross on the national stage and propelled Odenkirk's career.

Like Cross, Odenkirk has had tremendous success individually, like his acclaimed turns in "Breaking Bad," and its hit spinoff, "Better Call Saul." The solo triumphs haven't taken away from the fact that "Bob and David" remain uniquely connected. They've compared their relationship as a comedy team to a marriage.

"Yeah, in the same way that Naomi and -- I my wife and I – it's always kind of fresh. It almost feels like the first moment when we first met is happening still. And I think David and I have the same thing," Odenkirk said. "He's funnier than me. And I am funny, but he's funnier than me."