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5 Spot

Comedian Dane Cook

By Bill Frost
Posted // May 20,2009 -

After 19 years in the business, Dane Cook is the biggest stand-up comedian on Earth—also the most polarizing. The Boston comic built his following through, as well as MySpace, Facebook and now Twitter; all places where fans and foes can, and do, leave anonymous praise/hate. Love him or loathe him—you apparently have to pick one—Cook’s latest CD/DVD, Isolated Incident, is out now (in the Billboard Top 5), and his Global Thermo Comedy Tour hits the E Center in West Valley City on Thursday, May 21.

The reaction to Dane Cook is “love him” or “hate him,” no in-between. Is it always that way with you?
When I first broke through, I thought, this is where you get all the praise and everybody high-fives you, like the Super Bowl. Then, celebrities and musicians told me, “No, get a helmet.” It goes with the territory. You embrace it and realize that you wouldn’t be anything if you were vanilla.

Have you played Utah before? If not, any expectations, audience- or groupie-wise?
This is my first time in Utah, so I’m very excited. The fans are bringing me to Salt Lake City, I will say that. I’ve done other tours and gotten thousands of messages saying “Dane, why are you skipping us? Please come to Salt Lake City.” And there are absolutely hot comedy groupies—I have the e-mails to prove it.

What’s it like on the road as a comic playing arenas? Do you have a crew, trucks, road cases full of microphones and tight T-shirts? Or is it just you driving town-to-town in a rental car?
I had those years, driving a broken-down Intrepid gig-to-gig in upstate New York. These days, I travel in a private jet to shows. My crew drives a couple of buses, and we have a pretty elaborate stage—it’s like a boxing-ring lighting rig, the stage is in-the-round, the sound system is great. I want people to have the best possible experience at my shows.

How is the new Isolated Incident set different from previous tours?
The last few years, I’ve had the peak of success—then I lost both of my parents to cancer within months of each other. I’ve always shared thoughts, ideas and observations of what’s around me—but what I’ve been observing is tragic, and my job is to be funny. So I worked on this for a year, finding humor in cathartic moments, and it informed my stand-up in a way that I don’t believe people have seen me before. But, as long as I read the word “funny” in a review, any review, I’ve done my job.

A female friend asked me to relay that, thanks to you, she can no longer masturbate without thinking of “a DJ spinning a record.”
[Laughs] Oh no! Tell her I’m sorry, and thank you.

  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
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Posted // May 26,2009 at 14:55

You know, I want to like Dane Cook. I really do. I saw him on a Comedy Central gig a few years back and the guy kicked ass and made me and my kids laugh out loud at some of his hyper-fueled imagery. I actually recorded the show on a creaky, old VHS tape.

He was skinny, wired, sweating profusely and physically workin' it hard. Almost dangerous. He ended the show by standing at the very edge of the elevated stage, poured water on his head, let out a blood-curdling primal scream and tore his black t-shirt into shreds, clear off his body. Bang!

His take on his job at the drive-thru at Burger King when his brother was manager was hilarious stuff. His riff on having acid- spit like The Alien was another laugh, especially the part about the Player in a bar who won't take "no" for an answer, gets acid-spit in his face and while his skin is melting, he's still asking the target of his come-ons to let him buy her a drink.

But that was then and this is now. Reagrdless of the PR photo with this story, the last time I saw Cook, he had gained a lot of weight, looked sickly and acted lethargic and totally disinterested, like he wasn't all that hungry any more. Playing to sold out college arenas and acting like he was just another hung-over Frat brother got real old real fast.

Then I noticed something on an HBO special this winter. There were no punchlines to his schtick. He simply yelled a story about...him...and then yelled some more. Freakishly uninteresting.

I liked the story on line about how his step-brother was his business manager and had ripped him off for $3 million. The comments following the story were funnier than the latter-day Dane.

"I'm shocked and apalled about this story!(pause) Dane Cook had $3 million to lose?"

Budda Bing!


Posted // May 21,2009 at 11:36

Can't wait to see him/drool over him tonight!