After 19 years in the business, Dane Cook is the biggest stand-up comedian on Earth—also the most polarizing. The Boston comic built his following through DaneCook.com, as well as MySpace, Facebook and now Twitter; all places where fans and foes can, and do, leave anonymous praise/hate. Love him or loathe him—you apparently have to pick one—Cook’s latest CD/DVD, Isolated Incident, is out now (in the Billboard Top 5), and his Global Thermo Comedy Tour hits the E Center in West Valley City on Thursday, May 21.
The reaction to Dane Cook is “love him” or “hate him,” no in-between. Is it always that way with you?
When I first broke through, I thought, this is where you get all the praise and everybody high-fives you, like the Super Bowl. Then, celebrities and musicians told me, “No, get a helmet.” It goes with the territory. You embrace it and realize that you wouldn’t be anything if you were vanilla.
Have you played Utah before? If not, any expectations, audience- or groupie-wise?
This is my first time in Utah, so I’m very excited. The fans are bringing me to Salt Lake City, I will say that. I’ve done other tours and gotten thousands of messages saying “Dane, why are you skipping us? Please come to Salt Lake City.” And there are absolutely hot comedy groupies—I have the e-mails to prove it.
What’s it like on the road as a comic playing arenas? Do you have a crew, trucks, road cases full of microphones and tight T-shirts? Or is it just you driving town-to-town in a rental car?
I had those years, driving a broken-down Intrepid gig-to-gig in upstate New York. These days, I travel in a private jet to shows. My crew drives a couple of buses, and we have a pretty elaborate stage—it’s like a boxing-ring lighting rig, the stage is in-the-round, the sound system is great. I want people to have the best possible experience at my shows.
How is the new Isolated Incident set different from previous tours?
The last few years, I’ve had the peak of success—then I lost both of my parents to cancer within months of each other. I’ve always shared thoughts, ideas and observations of what’s around me—but what I’ve been observing is tragic, and my job is to be funny. So I worked on this for a year, finding humor in cathartic moments, and it informed my stand-up in a way that I don’t believe people have seen me before. But, as long as I read the word “funny” in a review, any review, I’ve done my job.
A female friend asked me to relay that, thanks to you, she can no longer masturbate without thinking of “a DJ spinning a record.”
[Laughs] Oh no! Tell her I’m sorry, and thank you.