To be fair, the most disgusting, disappointing possible thing would probably have been buying a Tucker Max book and shelving it under non-fiction

08Feb08

“I’m doing something you’re going to hate me for,” Candace told me a few weeks ago, “but I want to see what all the fuss is about.”

“What are you doing?” I asked. “Renting a Dane Cook movie?”

“I’m watching Dane Cook’s Vicious Circle!” she said. “Ha, ha! Oh my god! How did you know?”

“I just thought of the most disgusting, disappointing possible thing you could be doing,” I said.

She’d never heard of him until I mentioned him a couple of times, and then her younger brother recommended him, so she figured she was obliged to investigate. “He looks like Ricky Martin,” she said. She was flummoxed by the audience’s enthusiastic reception to his long-winded, not-that-funny material. “Cook has to explain why he thinks his jokes are funny to his audience,” she observed. “But the crowd is going wild.” She grew bored after about ten minutes. “I like storytellers, but I’m not impressed with this,” she said, turning Cook off and putting on Billy Connolly instead. A couple of weeks later, she stumbled on Louis C.K. and fell in love. You can see why I like the girl.

Coincidentally, Louis C.K. is one of the comedians from which Cook is accused of stealing jokes. It’s not quite as shameless as Carlos Mencia stealing a bit on fatherhood from Bill Cosby (the man who literally wrote the book on the subject with Fatherhood), evidently figuring the Cos didn’t need it anymore after his son Ennis was murdered. Still, Cook’s lifted bits from Demetri Martin, Joe Rogan, and Emo Phillips too.

His fans inevitably try to defend this on the basis that all comedy is somehow public domain. “Who cares? Everybody steals from everybody,” they’ll say. “There are no new jokes. Dane told it funnier, and that’s all that counts! It’s not Dane’s fault that he can scream louder and gesticulate more wildly than that hack Louis C.K.”

Cook’s like a cover band. Liking him better than the people he rips off is like liking the Atomic Punks better than Van Halen, or Björn Again better than ABBA, or Beatlemania better than the Beatles. Sure, some covers are inevitably better. Hendrix’s All Along the Watchtower blows away Dylan’s, for instance. But at the same time, you know what happens to bands who get famous with a cover song? Why don’t you go down to the gas station and ask the lead singer of Orgy if energy and aggression can compensate for a lack of original material? Or go to 7-Eleven and ask Alien Ant Farm’s guitarist, and pick me up a frozen burrito while you’re at it. (Speaking of fast food, I’d be remiss if I didn’t take this chance to link to the Onion story “Dane Cook Parlays New Burger King Menu Item Into Hour-Long HBO Special”.)

But, at least Cook works hard. Last fall, he broke Richard Pryor’s endurance record at the Laugh Factory by performing on stage for three hours and 50 minutes. That said, it couldn’t have been that hard for him. He probably only needed five to ten jokes, given the way he rambles and pads out his delivery. And he likely filled the rest of the time by knocking over his stool and doing karate kicks. That record didn’t last long, though. Seeing a legend like Pryor one-upped by a hack like Cook annoyed Dave Chappelle so much that he took it upon himself to break that record five days later. But then Cook got the record back on New Year’s Day of this year by doing seven hours. I didn’t even think Louis C.K. had that much material.

Now he plans to put his nervous energy and karate-kicking to use in action movies. “It’s got a really interesting take-off from the typical buddy cop movie which has been done in so many ways. This definitely had an element that was like, “Wow, I’ve never seen that before,'” he says of the script to Dead Already. “You got some crazy stunts and action sequences, but you got some comedy in there too.” Then he goes on to talk about how it’s exactly like Lethal Weapon. So evidently, there was such a thing as a buddy cop action comedy after all, which we already suspected from Rush Hour, Bad Boys, Beverly Hills Cop, 48 Hours, and Hot Fuzz.

The question is: Who should be put in there as Cook’s comically mismatched partner: Carlos Mencia? Louis C.K.? Ricky Martin? Alien Ant Farm’s guitarist? The big, creepy Burger King mascot? Your ideas are welcome — if you don’t mind them being shamelessly swiped, of course.



7 Responses to “To be fair, the most disgusting, disappointing possible thing would probably have been buying a Tucker Max book and shelving it under non-fiction”

  1. 1 Steve

    if the movie is starring dane cook, then he should be paired up with someone equally, if not more obnoxious than he is. maybe larry the cable guy. they’re opposites, but they’re equally retarded, and their fans are all idiots. then you draw the emo/poser crowd as well as the rednecks! can you say cha ching?!?!

  2. “Words! Chris Tucker, these are words! They’re coming out of my mouth! Oh, my God, words! Words! Do you understand them, Chris Tucker? Do you understand my words? They’re coming out of my mouth and going into your ears! That’s what words do! They go in your ears! Just tell me that you understand my words, Chris Tucker!”

  3. 3 JDM

    I heart the title of this post.

  4. 4 Keith

    Pair him up with Leatherface, and let nature take its course.

  5. 5 Peter Lynn

    I wish I’d seen this quote earlier: On the subject of there being nothing comedically new under the sun, Steve Martin says in his new autobiography, Born Standing Up: “Comedy is a distortion of what’s happening, and there will always be something happening.” Well put.

  6. Have you seen Mr. Smith, Mr. Lynn? If not, consider this sentence a spoiler warning. Say what you will about some of (read: most of) his movies, but when I saw Dane Cook’s face inverted by that shovel, well, I could have gleefully fellated Kevin Costner.

  7. It should totally be Ricky Martin, he mentioned to some magazine that he likes water sports. Dane Cook getting peed on would be comedy gold.


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