Dane Cook's Showtime Special Will Have Fellow Comedians Using Him as a Punching Bag Once Again — VIDEOS
There are certain comedians who seem to have a God-given knack for punchline delivery — and then there are certain comedians who are, themselves, punchlines. I'm talking your Gallaghers, your Carrot Tops, your Larrys of Cable Guy lore — the kind of names that come standard with their own implied eye-roll and an instant gawp at anyone who professes to be an actual fan. In recent years, however, perhaps no performer is quite so universally scoffed at in the comedy community as Dane Cook, the overexcitable, bro-friendly contortion bundle who rocketed to extreme success in the mid-2000s and was immediately, if not concurrently, met with an avalanche of flak. So it comes with no small amount of bewilderment — if not a marked cringe and a resounding "WTF" — that, as he announced on Jimmy Kimmel Live on Tuesday, Dane Cook has a new comedy special on Showtime coming up this fall.
In preparation for this interrobang of events, it's perhaps worth remembering why it is the world hated this man so much in the first place. Sure, there was that time he made a tasteless joke about the Aurora shootings (and promptly apologized); his material gets blithely sexist on a regular enough basis to be frustrating; he's been accused several times of joke-stealing, one of stand-up comedy's greatest offenses — but most of all, he's violated its first and truest commandment by simply being unfunny.
Seriously: Search any "Top 10" listicle of unfunny or overrated comedians, and I guarantee that, not only will Cook's name be on there, but it will be number one. In fact, joking about Dane Cook has itself become almost as predictable and basic as the man it mocks; his garbage reputation is modern comedy's new equivalent to "airplane food," his name instantly synonymous with dreck. As with 30 Rock's "Lemon-ed" and Community's "Britta-ed," I'm pretty much positive that if "Cook" weren't already so ubiquitous a verb, it would now be well known slang for "to render blandly terrible and universally despised."
And, to absolutely no one's surprise, it doesn't appear that Cook aims to change that any time soon: His announcement on Kimmel was accompanied by a rather stale bit about online dating — a topic that, these days, registers just a hair below Dane Cook jokes on the "Airplane Food" scale.
Why, then, let this downtrodden shell of a dead horse beat himself on television once more? My only viable theory is, to give his detractors some fresh material.
So, fellow comedians, your punching bag is back. Who will be most excited — I mean, angry, super angry, really just frustrated and fed up — that Mr. Unfunny #1 is entering the media gauntlet once more? Below are a few of the best jibes in recent memory; let's see if these funnymen can find new and exciting ways to drag Cook through the dirt this fall.