God I hate Dane Cook.
As I sit here at my computer, I have Dane Cook’s special, “Vicious Circle”, playing in the background. This is dangerous, because Dane Cook’s shittiness can really fuck with my writing. Anyway, I’d like to take this time to illustrate how much I hate the man known as Dane Cook, why I hate the man known as Dane Cook, and the demon who lives inside Dane Cook that is part of a systematic army of demon rectums that are destroying everything cool and great in the world.
*mutes the TV*
Yeah, let’s fuck that noise. As you all know from the preceding paragraph, I hate Dane Cook. Why is this? Why do I hate this man? I’ve never met him. He’s a decent-looking fellow. He’s never done anything to harm me. Or has he? Let me explain something for you. Since my early days of childhood, I would camp out in front of a TV, waiting to hear a comedian say “damn” or “ass” (when you’re a kid, even the weakest swears are like forbidden fruit for your ears). From that moment, I began my life-long love-affair with Stand-up Comedy. It’s a passion that I’ve gone so far as to pursue as a hobby and, maybe one-day, a career. And because of that, I have tried my best to hone my tastes, to really become knowledgeable about what makes a good comedian. In short, it’s something I think about a lot. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time looking for good Stand-ups, and try to follow them and support them whenever I can (case in point: Patton Oswalt performs at the 40 Watt club in Athens, GA, Oct 26th).
And then there’re people like Dane Cook. The Mainstream Wonder. EVERYONE knows this guy. Even back when he’d just done his Comedy Central Presents, there were kids at my school who loved the guy. But only 2 or 3, and only one or two jokes. But soon enough, he’d exploded. I remember a Comedy Central poll where he was named the best stand-up among 30 or so who had been on the channel. “Whatever,” I thought. “Some people like apples, some like oranges.” And the problem subsided for a year or so. And then, the summer of 2005, it happened. Retaliation was released on CD/DVD. And it shot up the Billboard charts, doing something a Comedy album hadn’t done since Steve Martin.
And thus, the pain resurfaced, stronger than ever. And like any true Evil, it was seductive. I admit, I downloaded (illegally) “Retaliation” from Limewire. I listened to it. And I laughed. For about a week, I enjoyed Dane Cook.
Then, the week ended.
I headed off to College, and just like Napoleon Dynamite and Family Guy before it, Dane Cook had become omnipresent on campuses nationwide. With that, he had taken control of what Stand-Up Comedy was in America. Suddenly he was being quoted by anyone and everyone, day in, day out.
So what’s so wrong with that? Here’s your answer:Dane Cook is not funny.
There are a few standard things that make Dane Cook not funny, and I’ve tried to make them as objective as possible, if only so I don’t have to hear “it’s a matter of taste” from people who feel scorned by my bashing of The Mainstream Wonder. It is a matter of taste, and Dane Cook has none. And here’s why: First off, his jokes are very easy. Let me unmute my TV to pull one out and examine it for you. Dane was just describing how he makes out with a woman, something that he is sure to do after a show, as the ladies think he’s such a piece of ass. In that joke, it’s essentially him going through the motions of kissing that any of us do, describing every inane detail, and over-exaggerating it to the point of insipidness. Now, this is indeed, a matter of taste, but the key thing here is, it’s an easy joke to tell. Give a comedian the subject of kissing, and the most common topic would invariably be a description of how that comedian kisses. It’s just easy. There is nail one: Unimaginative Joke-telling.
Next is his supposed “edginess”. Whenever a comedian is described as edgy, you have to immediately examine the material more closely. The reason is that no one can really define what being “edgy” is. At least, not in the Mainstream. People think Dane Cook is edgy because he exhibits a high level of energy in his delivery. He jumps around, he kicks stools, he throws his mic (simple sidenote: as a house manager at a theater, I know for a fact few things piss off house managers more than damaging equipment in a joke. A comedian might think it’s cool to drop the mic after a successful set, but in reality it is damaging a wireless Shure Vox mic that costs a few hundred bucks. And that makes you a douche), and he jumps around the stage, in order to drive home whatever punchline or setup he’s talking about this second. And that doesn’t make you edgy. There’s nothing dangerous about that. More than anything, it just spells out the joke for the audience, relieving them of any effort expenditure thinking about the joke. Serious edge there, Dane.
Third, and this is really more of a theory, is that I think he’s a hypocrite. Dangerous words, I know, but on more than one occasion, he’s spoken about how much he loves his fans and how they’ve made him who he is today. And that’s a great thing to say, and more importantly, it’s true. The fans do play a key role in success. But if you ask me, I don’t think he actually believes it. He spends hours signing autographs, and even more than that taking pictures and meeting the crowds. Sounds like a gracious guy. But when you think about it, signing autographs is basically a line of people who tell you how great you are. Taking pictures is a thousand chances to get your face out to more and more people. What I’m saying is, I think he gets a lot more out of it than the fans do. Then, if you listen to Retaliation, at the end, there is a heckler, who we don’t really hear, that Dane “viciously” reproaches and threatens to kick out of the venue. Within seconds, he goes from happy-go-lucky clown to angry, bitter, and verbally violent. Now, editing does happen on comedy albums (along with “sweetening”, that magical process of adding laughs), so it may be that the situation had been escalating throughout the entire show that was edited out, but if that was the case, why not just edit out that part as well? And furthermore, comedians are about being funny. And most of them have been working clubs full of drunk people long enough that they are incredibly adept at destroying a heckler, and making that just as funny as any part of the show. So, I think what I’m saying re: the Heckler on Retaliation is, either Dane Cook is duplicitous and doesn’t like his fans that much that he’ll angrily lash out at them, or he’s not a good enough comedian to be funny about it. Take your pick. Honestly though, doesn’t something about the guy just look like he’s lying to you? Like that guy in High School who everyone thought was cool, and would even talk to the lame kids—sure, he would say “hey” to the nerds, but it was in that insincere “what’s up” as they pass in the hallway. Maybe the analogy is too stretched. Or maybe I suck at describing it. Either way, I personally feel that the dude probably goes home and can’t wait to wash the thousands of fans off of him.
The fourth reason he’s not funny is very, very simple, and nigh-impossible to argue: He’s a joke thief. As in, the material he’s used on his albums was TAKEN FROM A BETTER AND LESSER KNOWN COMEDIAN. To me, this is almost unforgivable in comedy. Who you are and what you say up on that stage is your entire art, and to steal from someone else is the lowest of the low. I am wholly enamored with comedians like Patton Oswalt, Brian Posehn, Brian Regan, and others, and quote their material very often among my friends. But I DO NOT and I WILL NOT ever perform that onstage. But Dane Cook has, and often as well. Several of Dane’s bits are retreads of Louis CK jokes that he’s done in the past. I love Louis CK, and that’s just disgraceful. Dane’s first joke on the second disc of the album is stolen (Itchy Asshole), and the first on the first disc (the Hit by a Car bit), as well as the entire track “My Son Optimus Prime”. What’s even worse is, the bits are smacked around with a hammer so that anything sharp or witty about it is rounded off to ensure total safety. But don’t worry, he included a Tekken Reference.
So those are the main cornerstones of my hatred of Dane Cook, the Comedian. The only problem is, Dane Cook is not just a comedian. Dane Cook is actually a husk which houses a demon rectum, which works surreptitiously for an entire army of demon rectums, which are notable throughout entertainment history. Andrew Dice Clay: Intolerance masked as Edginess. Gallagher: Shitty jokes obscured by flying watermelons. Carrot Top: Just plain shitty. No mask. And now the heir to their bloodline is Dane Cook. Congrats.
I’m only saying this because SO goddamn many people “love” the guy. And the point I’m getting at is, if you want to enjoy stand-up, why not try a little harder and listen to comics who are really going to ask you questions about your society while they make you laugh? Or ones who are going to look at a joke from a wholly different perspective than you would have imagined. Or comics who are performing bits that they came up with themselves after a period of thought and reflection? How about some people like that?
I’m sorry if any part of this offends you. I’m not mad at you for being a fan of Dane Cook. It can happen to anyone. In fact, if your interest in Dane Cook leads you to stop buying Dane Cook records and looking deeper into the comedy scene, wonderful. If it leads to you buying the DVD box set of Tourgasm, I’d rather you went ahead and hung yourself instead of inflicting pain on others, especially me.
Join me next week when I yell at the top of my lungs about how shitty Carlos Mencia is.