What Happened to Dane Cook?

March 19, 2024

When it comes to meteoric comedy rises, few have experienced one as dramatic and quick as Dane Cook. In the mid '00s, the comedian was everywhere — selling out Madison Square Garden and releasing multiple critically acclaimed albums. He had a number of hit TV shows, including twice hosting 'Saturday Night Live,' and even starred in a few films.

But a few years ago, something happened. Cook tipped the scales from beloved comic to Hollywood punchline in the span of one whirlwind year. He's now reduced to a minor role in the CBS series 'Hawaii Five-0,' a brief guest appearance on 'Comedy Bang Bang,' and a few straight to DVD crime thrillers. He's also done a few voice roles in Pixar spin-offs (Planes, RIP) and an ill-received NBC pilot that went nowhere.

One reason why Cook's fall from fame seemed so swift was because, and this is going to sting, his jokes weren't that funny to begin with. The AP ran an article with the headline, "Is Dane Cook Actually Funny?" that included quotes from fellow comedians and critics who said that his more recent material was trite, repetitive, and lacking in new ideas.

Another possibility is that, in a polarized America, Cook's brand of loud, inane comedy just doesn't resonate. He's too sophomoric to appeal to socially conscious urbanites, and he lacks the sense of aggrievement that Joe Rogan uses to rile up the right-wing.


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