watch your step
by Sean Connelly
Seven years ago there was one name in comedy, Dane Cook. This man was literally on top of the comedy world. Dane was putting out CD’s and touring across the country selling out almost every show. You may be reading this now and asking yourself, “Who is Dane Cook?” and I wouldn’t blame you. This man’s career imploded faster than the Challenger spacecraft. Let’s start at the beginning of his career and watch the ups and downs as it unfolded. Dane Cook’s big break came in the critically acclaimed movie “Mystery Men” of course all the critics applauded how horrible it was and Roger Ebert even said, “Yuck.”*
After appearing in that, Dane went on to have small supporting roles in films such as “L.A.X.”, “The Touch” and “Stuck on You”. The only movie you should know is “Stuck on You” and believe me when I say he had quite a small roll in that movie.
I’m pretty sure police officers don’t carry around a stick of chalk with them at all times but whatever, it the Farrelly brothers. You can’t expect them to put out a quality project since “Dumb and Dumber.” Anyways, Dane began to find mainstream success when he released his first comedy album, “Harmful If Swallowed.” This CD sold 1.2 million copies and, finally, Dane Cook arrived on the comedy scene.
The years 2003-2008 were Dane’s and Dane’s alone. “Harmful” was second on the United States Comedy CD charts. Dane’s next CD, “Retaliation” dominated not only the comedy section of CD sales but was ranked as the 4th best selling CD in 2006. This also started a revolution in the way we flipped each other off. The Super-Finger or SU-FI craze started in late 2005 when Dane was promoting his new album. I, like everyone else that knew of Dane Cook, absolutely fell in love with this new curse and used it frequently. My brother even had a shirt with the SU-FI on it, and one day in eighth grade, I wore it. That same day I was called down to the guidance office and told I could never wear that shirt in school again. When I was taking my senior interview almost four and a half years after that incident, my guidance counselor said since I was about to graduate he would let me wear the shirt one more time if I wanted. Anyways, less about me though and more about Dane Cook.
The last of Dane’s big albums debuted in 2007 and was called “Rough Around the Edges: Live from Madison Square Garden.” This CD, my personal favorite, took a huge dip numbers wise and so began the decline of Dane Cook.
Before we talk about the decline though I would be remiss to speak about Dane Cook’s impact on social media and the impact of social media on Dane Cook. These two things go hand in hand and in some way shape or form made each other what they are today. In the infantile stages of social media, Dane Cook was king. Dane saw the potential of the untapped resource that was social media. He realized that if he were to use the website Myspace (remember when that was a thing?) he could reach a large number of fans daily and they could also reach him. He didn’t know how right he was; at the height of his career Dane Cook had well over 5 million friends on Myspace. As this website fades more and more into obscurity Dane still has 2.5 million friends. By using Myspace Dane was able to promote his CD’s, tour dates, and merchandise – all for free. His entire page was one big advertisement for himself. As more and more fans found Dane on Myspace, his career grew; and as more people joined Myspace, the bigger the website and credibility of social media grew. In a time where every celebrity has a Facebook, Myspace, or Tumblr to promote himself or herself, Dane was truly the first celebrity pioneer of social media.
So at this point you may be asking yourself, “What happened to him?” The answer is much too simple actually, bad career choices and other comedians. As Dane’s credibility as a comedian grew more and more producers kept calling Dane to star and have supporting roles in major films. The best movie he was in was “Employee of the Month.” This was at the absolute height of his career and I thought he did an okay job with it. He only went down from there co-starring in movies like “Dan in Real Life” and “My Best Friend’s Girl.” Both of these movies sucked but the latter was the biggest waste of my time. The trailer so deceiving:
With a cast like that you would think there would be a chuckle or two. I sat there more stone faced than the Easter Island heads. The second downfall of the career was other comedians. In 2007, Cook allegedly did something unforgivable. He was outed as a joke-stealer; in the world of comedy that’s worse than murder. Allegations thrown out by Joe Rogan and another few anonymous comedians spelt the death of Dane’s powerhouse years. I believe that everyone in the comedy business takes jokes from one another. I also think that only a real a-hole like Joe Rogan would try and make a buck by slandering such a funny comedian’s names.
Dane is still acting and doing comedy, and although not as popular as he used to be he currently has 4.2 million subscribers on Facebook, and I am proudly one of them. Even though it’s only been a few years since the powerhouse days Dane is slowly but surely regaining his popularity and credibility in the business. His surprise release of “Isolated Incident” in 2009 was one of his best selling albums. I personally cannot wait to see what he comes out with next be it movie or album. If you ever get a chance to listen to this once great comedian, I would take it because no matter how many jokes he’s “stolen” only Dane Cook can tell them like Dane Cook. SU-FI.
*Made that up