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Thursday 5 November 2009

The Bizarre Case Of Dane Cook - The Unfunniest Man In Comedy

I went to see Dane Cook in Madison Square Garden tonight and, I have to say, I was completely blown away by the complete lack of anything funny happening during his entire set. I bought a ticket because, being in NY, it seemed like something to do, especially as the Springsteen shows this weekend had sold out. So instead, I went for some comedy, and I was assured that this guy was the biggest name in comedy right now.

I never figured I would love him. I mean, I've seen his movies and he always just seemed like a weak Ryan Reynolds. But hey, I don't mean to sound like a Dane Cook Hater. After getting home tonight and being extremely discombobulated by how this unfunny guy had taken the comedy world by storm, I began to google him to find out answers. What I found, was quite horrible really - people really hate on this guy, they really make it personal.

And I don't mean to do that, honestly I don't. I'd like to be more mature about it. Comedy is extremely important to me; most of my writing and filmmaking revolves around comedy. It's everything to me. So, I couldn't help but sit there in amazement at what was going on. Thousands of people were laughing uncontrollably, and I just sat there completely lost. He doesn't tell jokes, for one. I've read a lot about him tonight saying he tells 'observational jokes' - but I don't really see that either. He observes things, but he doesn't build jokes around them.

And that's what disappointing, I guess, is that rather than being a storyteller who cleverly crafts material and punchlines, he just talks about internet porn and sex like a guy in a bar would. He's very loud and confident. And I kind of liked that about him, he's great with a crowd, very fun. Problem is, I'm just not sure why they were laughing. The reason it troubles me is because, I'd like to think I have a good idea of what comedy is, and I'm writing a screenplay I'd like to think would appeal to the masses. But the masses, evidently, find Dane Cook hilarious. It confuses me because - I JUST DON'T GET IT! I don't see where the funny is! Why are people laughing?

He seems like a good guy, it's not personal. I'm not saying this because he's wildly popular and successful, he's done very well and evidently deserves his success if he can fill up Madison Square Gardens -- but it's left me confused by how we define comedy, and what people want to see/hear.


  1. Unfunny is too tame a word to describe Dane Cook.
    Also, look at this evidence of lifting jokes from Louis CK (who happens to be wonderful and hilarious)

  2. I don't think you can base your whole idea of comedy around one successful comedian. Just because he can sell out shows, doesn't mean he's for everyone.

    Bill Cosby won the Mark Twain prize for American Humor the other day. He refused to accept it before because of the previous winners. He didn't believe in their sort of comedy - using profanity or being raunchy, whatever.

    A lot of people today don't appreciate his kind of comedy because it's clean, simple. I love it. I think one of the best comedy routines I've ever seen is a stand up act of his from the 70's. It's called Bill Cosby Himself. Check it out if you haven't seen it:

    Anyway, my original point was...different strokes for different folks. Write what you think is funny. Someone is bound to like it. Hell, you already know we (myself and the rest of your readers) love your humorous writing.

  3. My mistake...that video is from the early 80's.

  4. You've become an official member of the backlash. I saw him years ago when he was on the way up and he was funny. I laughed. But there has been some backlash (which is normal) and the whole ripping off other people's jokes thing, which is too bad if he did (It is glaringly obvious). But the one thing he did was become wildly popular through the internet before anyone else really took advantage of the medium. He promoted himself all over the net and his fanbase grew because of it. That's impressive.

  5. I'm not a fan of Dane Cook either. Went to see a movie with him in it...can't remember the name and it was more or less porn. My husband and I walked out and complained to the theatre manager. Unfortunately in life there are alot of "popular" things to do and see that I just don't get. So you are not alone!

    Thanks for stopping by the other day. We live in a SW suburb of Minneapolis. It's really beautiful, of course I'm partial to farmland:)

  6. I don't know, why are people laughing at Jack Dee when he blatantly ripped off someone else's sitcom? Horses for courses, I guess. Lots of comedians who are meant to be funny I don't like. And I'm sure the comedians who I think are brilliant (Ricky Gervais, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock) some people might not like them either.