Claiming Dane Cook sucks has been in vogue since around 2004. He does, granted, but as many comics will admit, the guy is funny.
5. The Douche Bag Factor
If you've listened to Cook's comedy album, you'll know the "Friend nobody likes" bit linked below. Cook asserts that no one likes a girl named Karen because she is annoying and bitchy. The audience laughs -- mainly because none named Karen. A member of the audience could even be a "Karen," but through some popped-collar wizardry Cook wills cognitive dissonance from his fans.
Much like the lackeys of a schoolyard bully, Cook's audience is guilty by association.
The humor comes from the same place where Larry the Cable Guy gets his inspiration and Jeff Dunham figures out an exciting new aspect of his modern-day minstrel show.
4. He's kinetic
If you read Dane's bits out loud, his reliance on delivery is immediately obvious. The majority of the things he says are, like the Karen bit, mundanely relatable occurrences. In fact, the only thing that separates Cook from the crowd are his on-stage tics.
His trademark, the two-finger jab, is satirized in the above video. He finds an interesting middle ground between gimmick and delivery, as his force-of-nature stage persona allows him to field average jokes for an unbelievable audience reaction. The reliance on gimmick is reminiscent of a Carrot Top for the MySpace generation, a Fonz for an era of bloggers to sneer at for jumping the shark by merely existing.
3. Extreme Peter Pan complex
Dane appeals to our teenage desire to have a cool friend. He has great hair, a powerful jawline, and a demeanor that makes audiences want to listen.
Like the oncoming wave of reality that is a High School graduation and eventual invalidation of everything held dear during our teens, cynicism regarding Cook is a bit of a steep cliff.
He's the guy who gives a 14-year-old a cigarette and tells him a story about the time he got caught smoking weed, but the cops let him go. As we age, the sort of story that impresses us tends to appeal to a more cynical aspect of our humor.
We don't laugh at the hero story, and gauge earrings start to become less and less cool.
2. Joke thievery
Louis CK recently produced an episode of his TV show addressing allegations of Cook's joke theft, and his conclusions are vaguely concrete. The conclusion Louis reaches is that whether or not the comedian stole his material, the result is the same.
Dane Cook's success is almost exclusively based upon his mass-market appeal, and if a joke about itchy assholes hadn't crept into his subconscious: His success would still be assured.
He's certainly no Carlos Mencia, but the joke thievery is a symptom to the overbearing issue the media collectively takes with Cook.
|The man does his hand thing with fans|
1. He isn't an awful comic
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Dane Cook is the polar opposite of the prototypical standup comic. He's unassuming, self-satisfied, and maintains a positive lifestyle. Historically, comedians tend to either be appealingly broken or enticingly cynical and Cook fits neither mold. His rise was caused not by his satirical wit, but by the fact that people like him.
Comics are appealing because they didn't start out their lives as, "the guy." The guy is someone we naturally gravitate toward because of their pleasantly boisterous nature.
A comic earns his right to stand in front of a microphone and spout off opinions because his voice commands attention. Cook didn't earn it, and that's why we hate him.