I read an article a while back in Rolling Stone trying to explain the phenomenon that is Dane Cook. I was initially excited to read it because I'm a pretty big fan of Cook's and I assumed a magazine like Rolling Stone would be writing a pro-Dane article given his "edginess" and pop-culture relevance. But the article was less that positive and instead of trying to explain Cook's popularity, it was trying to define it and dissect it, frequently making the point that Cook is an anomaly among stand up comedians, or at least those that tell jokes. And this they assertained was because Cook, unlike other stand ups, doesn't tell jokes. His routine consists of barely any jokes and therefore, he really can't be that funny.
At first I thought was absurd and they were just trying to knock another counter culture celebrity who had started flirting with the mainstream.
I thought about this a lot and couldn't help but think about it when listening to either one of Cook's hilarious comedy albums, one of which is the highest selling comedy album since Steve Martin's twenty-nine years ago. The more I listened to them, the more I realized that Rolling Stone was fucking right. Dane Cook doesn't tell jokes.
Yes, Dane Cook is a comedian who does not tell jokes.
Dane Cook, however, is still funny.
But Ryan, you just said he doesn't tell jokes.
Dane Cook is a story teller who happens to tell really funny stories.
Basically it could be surmised like this. If David Sedaris recited his stories on a stage, instead of writing them down and putting them in a book, he'd be Dane Cook. Whether or not Sedaris would be jacked and wearing a wife beater is yet to be determined.
The thing about Dane Cook is that while he may not tell jokes officially, he masterfully tells stories. When I try and explain Cook's comedy to someone, I usually mention that his various vocal inflections are what make his act great. Yes, his subject matter is good, but it is inherently your normal, run of the mill did you ever notice shit that, from a comedian stand point, Seinfeld did much better. But when it comes to telling a story, no one beats Cook. If he were a caveman, he'd be the most popular and if were around in 1776, during the Revolutionary War, he'd be better at being Paul Revere than Paul Revere was. Cook's stories bob and weave like Chris Paul and they usually end with a Shaq-like dunk that has the capacity to tear the rim down. Cook never lets up and in turn, never loses your attention. I spent almost two hours last night with the Medicine Man, drinking beers and watching Cook's HBO special, Vicious Circle and not once did my attention waver or did I think about watching something else. It's the same with his albums. I put them on and listen to the whole thing from start to finish. I might fast forward here and there, but I will ultimately listen to the whole thing and it's because Cook, while maybe not the best joke teller, is clearly the best verbal story teller of our generation.
And that is why I worry about Dane making movies.
I haven't seen any of his movies yet. I heard he was funny in Waiting, but the best part of Employee of the Month seemed to be either Dax from Punk'd or Jessica Simpson's breasts. The problem is that I can't seem to find Dane entertaining unless he's being Dane. I don't want to see Dane try and woo Jessica Simpson unless it's at Burger King or in his car right before she goes down on him. The only hope I have for Cook is if he writes his own movie from start to finish. Cook is a great story teller mainly because he is such a great character within those stories. The stories are told through him, not just as Dane the Comedian, but as Dane Cook the person. I want to see Dane being Dane, saying Dane things, and doing Dane stunts. Now this does have me worried because this may not be true for everyone and it seems like every comedian's goal is to make a few funny movies and then go for higher end projects in an effort to show their dramatic side.
Fuck Dane Cook's dramatic side. I like Dane Cook because he makes me laugh talking about jerking off and going grocery shopping.
Put that in a movie and I think you'll have something worth watching.
Album of the day: Nas Hip Hop is Dead
Sympathetic Athlete of the Day: Tom Brady
Oatmeal of the day: Strawberries and cream
Beer of the evening: Victory's Golden Monkey!