Before this descends into the usual Dane Cook-bashing, I feel compelled to say that I do have some sympathy for the guy. Joke-stealing aside, he had a few okay bits, and if you’ve seen a lot of comedy, all things considered, you’d probably call him above-average. Then he got famous way too fast and it showed, and everyone hated him for it, and I’m not sure it was entirely his fault. He was more overexposed than terrible. (There are worse – have you ever seen Ant?)
Anyway, he stopped by the Laugh Factory for a drop in last night, and apparently it got ugly.
There were some, like Daniel Kinno, who found themselves bumped so that Cook could take the stage for as long as he wanted while he worked out new material, a raw process of discovery that Kinno describes thusly: “Watched him spiral for 45 minutes before I left. Could have been worse, he could have done his act.” YouTube star Jenna Marbles was slightly less charitable or pithy, saying, “Dane Cook took a sh*t on everyone. Might as well have been literally.” And stand-up comic and Late Night With Jimmy Fallon writer Ali Waller provided a more specific appraisal, saying, “Glad Dane Cook stopped by the Improv tonight, otherwise I’d never hear the story about how he ‘chainsaw-f*cked’ a ‘disgusting whore’s c*nt.’” [via AVClub]
To be fair, “chainsaw-f*cked a disgusting whore’s c*nt” is decent wordplay. And if he’d actually sh*t on everyone literally, he’d be hailed as an Andy Kaufman-level subversive genius. WHAT, BRO? THIS IS ALT COMEDY!
But no one offered a more detailed—or more scathing—review than comedian and actor T.J. Miller, who spent last night and much of this morning unspooling his assessment not only of Cook’s set, but his entire career and current state of mind. Here it is, in chronological order:
“F*cking Dane Cook is eating [shit] at the laugh factory. He bumped [Bob Olson] and is being just mean… The hubris of this man unfortunately led to his fall, but I’m afraid he is a damaged man & well, that’s about it. He [is] certainly not a comedian… Watching him try and work through his own sh*t on stage when he is saying, ‘Go f*ck a dirty whore. That’s the best therapy.’ #lord… Dane. You’ve been doing standup for so many years and you still believe it’s okay to bomb and talk about your issues? You. Didn’t. Earn This…
I remember hearing [about] someone named ‘Dane Cook’ in college on Napster. I heard Harmful If Swallowed after college… Then there was a backlash (there always is, it’s inevitable), but it grew. It was more than I could believe, and it was due in part to him… I liked him. His snake bit, a lot of sort of absurdist stuff. Suddenly he was on SNL, he was the ‘king’ of MySpace, [and] he was famous. Good Luck Chuck and Vicious Circle sealed his fate in contemporary culture.
And then last night, he got on stage and was vicious, misogynistic, cruel, and arrogant. He talked about not paying for an abortion. He talked about finding some whore to f*ck to take out his anger at his ex-girlfriend. He talked about how girls would do anything for him ‘because I’m me.’ He got mad when people were texting. ‘Dane Cook is onstage,’ he said. ‘Have some f*cking respect.’
Here’s an idea, Dane: have some f*cking respect for the audience that gave you the chance to be what you dreamed of being, and don’t be mad at them because you f*cked it all up from hubris and thirst for fame. Don’t disrespect the people that gave you a chance. Don’t do an hour of mean-spirited trash. And Dane Cook, certainly don’t ask anyone to feel sorry for you. If you are the person you were onstage last night then you are not a good person. And the way you talk about women is disgusting and pathetic, but really just hurtful. So Good Luck Chuck. [You] need all the luck in the world to realize you need to go to therapy & figure out how to not be a hateful person. Stop performing until [you] do so.” [all via AVClub]
Ouch. Every comedian bombs and every comedian is allowed to on occasion, especially during a drop-in, when the whole point is to work out new material, but the fact that three or four separate comics thought he bombed badly enough to warrant writing about means it must’ve been reeeeally bad. These are people that probably see comics eating it almost every night. But then, 45 minutes is a really long time to stay onstage when you’re sucking. Anyway, it looks like we can stop treating Dane Cook like the self-aware guy from that one episode of Louis and go back to treating him like the douchebag who thought he looked super cool in this banner pic.
Unless this was all just viral marketing for the f*cksaw, in which case, awesome!
MINI-UPDATE: Comedy is like a knitting circle, so naturally all my comic friends have heard about this and have opinions. I thought this was an interesting take from one (anonymous, because, again, knitting circle, but not me, and probably not someone you’d know):
In all honesty, as someone who’s seen Dane Cook f*cking kill 25,000 people at the Staples center, TJ Miller isn’t on the same planet as Dane Cook. Some people are just stars. He might not have the best jokes and he might be kind of a douche but he can make people fall in love with him. Also worth noting, and this cannot be overstated, Dane Cook MADE the Laugh Factory. If he wants to go up there and take a sh*t, he’s more than earned it.