Like many others of my age, I listened to Dane Cook’s albums a lot in middle school. I repeated the jokes to my friends whenever I could. I watched Naruto do the jokes in anime YouTube videos back when it took about 20 minutes to load all three minutes of a video. Dane Cook wasn’t the first standup comedian I listened to, but he was the only one that anyone else I knew cared about. My friends at school didn’t know about Margaret Cho.
A lot of people have opinions of Dane Cook that they haven’t checked since the 2000s. They’re just hating on his comedy, even though their hate comes from the wave of Dane Cook hate that happened after his big boom. Anyway, I did re-listen to the album.
One of my favorite lines in any joke is on this album. It’s during the joke where Cook talks about working at Burger King. He’s talking about his brother being the manager, and being a dick about it, and he says, “He thought he was the Burger King.” Obviously the over-the-top way that Cook delivers the line does a lot for it, but also it’s one of the few jokes that works without the Dane Cook delivery. It works on paper.
Cook’s performance is over the top. There are a lot of wild noises he uses. During one of the first jokes, he talks about parking at a mall and how the pavement is jerky. This is a joke that I don’t understand. I don’t know if it’s just a local thing, I just didn’t know what he was talking about. But he performs the noise that the pavement makes his car do. All of his weird noises and voices have a purpose in developing his comedy. Even though I didn’t know what he was talking about, I still felt like I was there with him in the story. During a joke called “Speak ’N’ Spell,” he does a wild voice for the spelling machine, and it puts you in the place of a kid with a strange toy. A lot of comics want comedy to just be about what you can write on paper; Cook isn’t like this. His stories are energetic and even just listening to a recording, he feels free, in charge, and inclusive. It just feels like he’s bitching with his friends. It’s presented in a goofy way.