As annoyed as I was with the gender-Eddie Brill issue that had arisen in the last week, that is minute compared to my feelings concerning the backlash against Dane Cook for a set he had recently. According to The Onion’s A.V. Club (http://www.avclub.com/articles/so-apparently-dane-cooks-standup-set-was-unusually,67943/) , Cook had a very vulgar and unamusing set at the Laugh Factory on Wednesday night. And apparently it was so offensive that such vaunted comedy icons like Daniel Kinno (?), Ali Waller (?) and the heir apparent to Bill Burr, TJ Miller, came out with some harsh words about Dane Cook. I have been resoundingly ripped by NYC comics for being a so-so appreciator of Louis CK, and I predicted (about 4 or 5 blogs ago) that if Dane Cook was getting ripped it would be hailed as a great thing (I fu*king told you!) Here are TJ Miller’s comments concerning the set he saw:
“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.”
Now I have not been a big fan of Dane Cook post the aforementioned Harmful If Swallowed (for God’s sake I have a Dane Cook spoof video launching in the next 24 hours so he is no sacred deity to me). I think the demands made of him in terms of producing content were bigger than his capabilities. I don’t think he is horrible or anything, but he is not in my top tier of comedians by any means. But who the fu*k is TJ Miller? I know he is an actor and a comedian, but these are not the words of a comedian. Maybe in the current sense of comedian he is (TV and movie stars who do comedy for extra money and please crowds because they are light, fluffy and familiar from mediocre movies), but he is not from the old school. I doubt you will hear Dave Attell or Bill Burr or Chris Rock criticizing a comedian for trying different things, pushing boundaries, using abusive language on stage, etc. Perhaps it was not funny. Any comedian who has ever tried something new or daring or dangerous has offended people while searching for the right tone, the right words and the right sentiment.
TJ Miller sounds like a tool who does not understand that stand up is supposed to be (I hope) a bastion of free speech and a place to be free to take risks. But The Onion is happy to blast this all over like he is some sort of knight slaying the dragon Dane Cook. Cook was obviously working things out or trying new things on stage. It does not sound like it was funny, but if an established stand up veteran with decades of work and millions of fans cannot at least be free to try new voices and material, then we might as well shut this whole sh*t down. Unless Dane fought with people off stage or was hurling epithets to provoke a riot what he said on that stage should not be criticized except on whether it was funny, ESPECIALLY by a comedian. When you are as big as Dane Cook (like it or not) you bump people because a Wednesday night show, which might be a big deal to younger comics, is his open mic. And at open mics sometimes comedians say and do things that seem wrong, on their way to finding the joke. But I am sure TJ Miller already knows that.
Really, telling people to respect 20 years of comedy and not to text makes him a douche (perhaps the third person is a tad douchey)? And he did a lot of time? Oh, but when he was red hot, people in LA could not wait to be in seats for 5 or 6 hours to see him and Dave Chappelle try to break records! There is no stand up that can be fun for 6 hours, but when it was cool, no one said sh*t about Dane hogging the mic or being self-indulgent. I am not saying what Dane Cook did was funny. It might not have been. But what I am saying is that the TJ Millers of the world should respect stand up and shut the fu*k up. Save the politically correct and sensitive guy talk for the dumb groupies who thought you were hilarious in She’s Out of My League.
I am a nobody in stand up, but I at least know how the game is supposed to be played. The process of creating stand up comedy requires fu*king up on stage in a myriad of forms.
But I did enjoy Cloverfield so good job there.