If you woke up today feeling a little more spry, a little more “yourself” than usual, it’s probably because Dane Cook is back in our lives. On Wednesday night, after a year away from stand-up, he appeared at the Laugh Factory in LA to work out some new material, and it…it didn’t go over so great.
Several comedians were in attendance, and though there was no video available, the A.V. Club assembled some reactions via Tweets, Tumblrs, and all those other social media outlets the kids are using.
Here are a handful of reactions from a few comedians that might help paint the picture.
“Watched him spiral for 45 minutes before I left. Could have been worse, he could have done his act.”
“Dane Cook took a shit on everyone. Might as well have been literally.”
“Glad Dane Cook stopped by the Improv tonight, otherwise I’d never hear the story about how he ‘chainsaw-fucked’ a ‘disgusting whore’s cunt.’”
“Fucking Dane Cook is eating [shit] at the laugh factory. He bumped [Bobby Lee] 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 shit on stage when he is saying, ‘Go fuck 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 fuck 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 fucking respect.’
Here’s an idea, Dane: have some fucking 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 fucked 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.”
Ok. So with that last one, you probably get that Dane Cook may have not ingratiated himself to the audience and fellow comedians by screaming at them, talking about himself in the third person, then talking about aboritions he didn’t want to pay for and girls he may or may not have made love to with a chainsaw.
What’s the big deal, though? Comedians bomb all the time, even great ones.
While bombing on stage is no rare occurrence, no comedian, save for maybe Carlos Mencia, has garnered the vitriol that Dane Cook has, taking the goodwill he accumulated from tireless social media promotion and touring, only to squander it via horrible romantic comedies and growing douchebaggery.
However, bad reviews of a tasteless performance would be sure to pass without incident, should Dane Cook quietly keep plugging along, minding his own business and not turning a response into some crusade.
That’s not what Dane Cook did.
Talking to Laughspin (a comedy trade mag) about the critics and criticisms of the hour-long debacle, Cook offered this up:
“I’m back in the stand up octagon after a year off. I’m deeply inspired by various artists I admire. Certainly my friend and one of the great ones Patrice O’Neal passing away has fortified my belief that we, as comedians, all need to share and explore our souls up there — and sometimes our perspective on the whimsical minutia — in order to grow as artists and people.”
You have to love any response to criticism that includes an allusion to Ultimate Fighting in the first sentence. Further, why he decided to drop Patrice O’Neal’s name here is beyond me. Actually, no. It’s not beyond me. I get it. He’s eliciting misguided sympathy. But doing it in such a transparent, context-free manner is what’s beyond me.
And he was talking about abortions and chainsaws so that he may grow as a person and artist, so don’t be a dick about it.
As to the response he got from his peers, he claims, “I’ve always felt that comedians can’t be critics. They can be critical onstage, but it’s impossible to be both an artist and a critic.”
In summation, he doesn’t feel that comedians should be critical of his act because he doesn’t feel that comedians can be critical of ANYONE’S act. With no further explantion given. Well, I’m satisfied with that response. I hope all those critical comedians I quoted above realize how silly they were being, passing judgment on a man, before a crowd, just relaying a story about chainsaw-f*cking. Judgmental pricks.
Then, attempting to laugh off the whole incident in the most smug, arrogant way possible, Cook suggests:
“That said, I’m thinking T.J. Miller, the A.V. Club and I go on a road trip this weekend. I know a terrific spa in Ojai,” referencing the Ojai Valley Inn & Spa. “Hydrating facials, doubles tennis and a killer 50-minute Expectant Mother’s Massage. My treat. Since I’m really quite rich.”
Oh, Dane Cook. You truly are a national treasure! It’s hard not to admire a man who tries to get back in the public’s good graces with the old “F*ck you, I’m rich technique.” They’ll be eating out of the palm of your hand in no time, Mr. Cook!
The A.V. Club, calling Cook’s bluff, and probably just wanting to keep him talking for as long as possible in the name of entertaining news, has taken cook up on his offer, all the while mocking him. It’s truly the best of both worlds.
Because, honestly, it’s one thing to watch Cook gesticulate and scream about how much richer and better he is than everyone else, but it’s a whole other thing to do it while wearing a cucumber mask and listening to whale songs in a spa.