Double Crossed In Music City

The former manager of Nashville’s Exit / In club has filed a lawsuit against comedian David Cross, alleging the funnyman videotaped him without his consent at a May 2002 gig – the footage of which appears on a CD and DVD that was released in November 2003.

In addition to Cross, Thomas Weber is suing the Sub Pop label, Time Warner, Warner Music Group, WEA Distribution and Cross’ Liberal Jew-Run Media Productions. The complaint was filed in the Seattle division of U.S. District Court October 7th.

The former venue manager hopes to stop the distribution of the CD, Shut Up, You Fucking Baby, and the “Let America Laugh” DVD, which contain a video documentation of the men’s disagreements during Cross’ night at the club.

Weber is asking for a jury trial and $75,000 in damages for the “surreptitious, sneaky, devious, conniving, deceitful, cunning, mean-spirited, venal, sleazy, creepy, over-the-top and vulgar” hidden camera filming and distribution, according to the lawsuit.

“I did some shows as a favor to (Great Big Shows‘) Rick Whetsel,” Weber told Pollstar. “The 328 Performance Hall had closed. I knew Rick was going to get another room; I just didn’t know when. … David Cross happened to be one of those shows. I wasn’t aware of who he was.”

The two men got off on the wrong foot when Cross arrived that afternoon, Weber said. The marquee read “Mr. Show,” which technically is the comedy pair of Cross and Bob Odenkirk. It was changed to “David Cross.”

Next up was an argument about serving sandwiches.

“They wanted the tables; I needed the food sales. Everything represented on tape, in context, makes sense. Out of context, it looks idiotic and moronic.”

The argument was settled and the tables put back into the club, but Cross used the disagreement as part of his act that evening.

“On top of everything else, and how hard we were working, I was incensed. I was just furious,” Weber said.

However, because he had a 19-year-old stepdaughter present that evening, he said he wanted to set a good example.

Later, Weber asked Cross to leave the backstage area but the comedian refused, citing First Amendment rights.

“That was a whole half hour of, ‘C’mon, David, let’s go … I want to go home. I want to end this whole thing. I want to just stop. I’ve been trying to keep this place afloat for the past nine months, I’ve been the brunt of your jokes for three hours, and I just want to go home.'”

All of it – the marquee dispute, the sandwich debacle and the green room incident – are on tape.

“You see me finally turn the lights off,” Weber said.

He claims the taping was done secretly, saying he first heard of the DVD through the rumor mill. He said it took him a while to retain a lawyer due to the finances involved. Currently, he manages Nashville’s Crescent Café & Oyster Bar.

“They have some kind of defense that there were signs up. There weren’t signs up. And it’s ludicrous, too, because even if there were signs up, does that mean I give up my right to privacy for the whole day?”

Sub Pop provided Pollstar with a statement.

“A former Nashville bar manager has alleged that the David Cross video showed him on film without his consent. The truth is that the club manager was fully aware that filming was taking place and he consented to it but years after the fact, he’s trying to distort the situation to his financial benefit. David’s lawyers plan to vigorously defend this claim and we’re confident that the truth will come out in court.”

– Joe Reinartz