Interview with Dana Cook
Moms the world over would bristle to know a comedian like Dane Cook is on the loose. The poster boy for Attention Deficit Disorder, his slaphappy, scatological humor could drive the nation's youth to deadly distraction with video games, caffeine, even sex. Hmm. Maybe not. But the young comedian is a force to be reckoned with.
Recently anointed "Hottest Comic" in Rolling Stone's annual "Hot" issue, Cook is packing the clubs and climbing the charts with his new CD, Harmful If Swallowed. His brand of absurd and often physical comedy seethes with an over-the-top energy that is sometimes a little spooky. With Dane Cook, containment is not an option. He spoke with Seven Days in advance of his appearance at the University of Vermont this Monday. Brace yourself for a storm of comedic inanity.
SEVEN DAYS: You come from a large family. Did they ever question your career path? What do they think about your "wild" comedy lifestyle?
DANE COOK: Nope. My fam is totally supportive of what I do. When I was a kid and told my mom I wanted to be a stand-up comic she beat the shit out of me for 90 straight minutes before finally wiping her brow and giving me a "go for it" head nod. That is the way my whole family has been ever since. I tell them I am doing a television show, it's a 90-minute group beat-down before they spray me with Silly String and sing, "I'm a Slave 4 U." Yeah, it's a bit strange, but hey, isn't every family a bit on the odd side? I love those abusive mongrels.
SD: Comedians are notorious lone wolves. Do you fit that bill? Do you have an entourage? Do you drive yourself from gig to gig?
DC: Wolf is a great example, because oftentimes after a show I hustle off into the woods where I hunt for food and scream at the night skies. I also travel with a full entourage. I even have a medieval hooded beheader named Chris that I keep just in case someone gets a little outta hand and might need their noggin lopped off. I do drive myself, and the entourage follows me in a pickup truck.
SD: You're a young guy with a shitload of energy. How do you wind down from your act if you're stuck in a no-horse town?
DC: No such thing. I get off stage and it's right into my underground lab/gym. I work out and in between reps I mix potions and elixirs trying to come up with a formula that will morph me into the funniest half-man-half-lizard-half-my-neighbor Rick. I think what is confusing is that I have three halves and one is already a real guy that lives next door. I did steal some of his DNA while he was napping in a hammock, though, so I am hoping to clone him and distribute him worldwide. I should ask him if that is cool first. Oh, well. I also eat tons of soup. That is a great way to chill after a show. Three pints of piping-hot chicken noodle soup with extra broth.
SD: Your humor contains a lot of physical comedy. Do you have a background in any other stagecraft, or were you always throwing yourself around?
DC: I think that I need to add some more physicality to my show. I oftentimes am up there thinking, I'm like a fucking weed here. My dream is to someday actually rip off my right arm and with my left swing it around my head screaming, "I am a human helicopter!"
SD: Do you want a TV show?
DC: Sure. But only if it can be seven minutes long with nine commercials.
SD: How do you keep a routine fresh night after night?
DC: Simple. I pray to the devil and he gives me all the dark world power I need to bring original laughter to the masses. When all else fails. Satan. Satin, too. Some new satin sheets also fill me up with a fresh, funny feeling. If I wrap myself in satin sheets and pray to the Lord Satan, that is like a perfect night. And if I am driving in a Saturn while wrapped in satin and praying to Satan ... wow ... that is like jerking off on the merry-go-round. Nothing makes ya giggle more, baby.
SD: Many of your contemporaries have taken a political bent with their comedy -- the angry, edgy, social-critic kind of style. Your stuff is refreshing in the sense that it almost seems like a throwback to a more innocent age of stand-up. Was this choice deliberate, or is it a natural extension of your personal sense of humor?
DC: I'd like to think of my routine as a riddle of emotional politics blended with a grounded left-wing/right-wing Fox News-ish slant. But more of a right down-to-earth, in-your-face, verbal, willing rape of your soul with a splash of blue color, I getcha right up my alley, how-do-you-do-get-the-f-bomb-off-my-lawn-before-I-call-the-MIBs on you. Or I guess I don't think about it at all. I just want to make you laugh until a rib cracks. I wish to be like a cold glass of cola. Refreshing start to end. If you like me, drink me, and if you don't, suck my straw.
SD: You have an awesome metal scream. Would you consider joining a Judas Priest cover band?
DC: No. I will leave that to the gays.
SD: Do you think there's any hope for humanity?
DC: I sure hope they are out there. I sometimes stare at the night skies wondering if they are out there.
SD: Have you ever trashed a hotel room? Do you collect the tiny soaps?
DC: I once trashed a tiny soap in a hotel room! I smashed it with my fist and rubbed it all over the toilet bowl before breaking it in 2 pieces! Then I threw the tiny soap off the balcony down to the pool. I woke up the next day and I was a little embarrassed. I did, however, pay for all the damages to the soap.
I told my family and they proceeded to beat me for 90 minutes until I lost three of my nine senses. Then they duct-taped me in a chair, where they made me watch hours of VH-1. That is a nightmare of epic proportions. That channel is like herpes. Once you have it, you have to deal with it from time to time.
Actually, that was a bad example. I need better analogies. Hmmm. I will get back to you with a better, funnier analogy in a little bit. If I don't, I just could not think of anything else and I am sorry for my horrible analogy. But I do forgive myself. I am wrapped in satin in my Saturn praying to Satan now, so I am in a good place.