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Review: Dane Cook - ISolated INcident

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Ah, Dane Cook. Regarded by some as the aggressive and rugged face of fun, energetic comedy. Sort of the anti-Mitch Hedberg. For others, Dane is a posterboy for an altogether different type of comic: the plagiarizer, the man without a punchline. Personally, I have long held that Dane Cook is a performer and not a stand up comedian, in the way that Bob Villa was a TV show host and not a licensed contractor. For the better part of a decade, you couldn’t be handed a transcript of a Dane Cook set, read it, and think it was funny. There just weren’t any JOKES in the conventional sense, just a lot of stage direction and exclamation points where the punchlines should be.

This technique, of course, has made Dane very successful, frequently selling out stadiums and garnering his own television show, Tourgasm. It also, as is well documented, brought out the haters, of which Dane has more than a few. His Carlos Mencia-like whiplash ride from revered stage showman to reviled antics man who may - or may not - have stolen material was alarming. Then, almost as quickly, Dane disappeared. Well, that’s not exactly true. Under the social surface, Dane was as busy as ever, but with different priorities. Within nine months of one another, both of his parents succumbed to cancer, and the online shit talkers began to outnumber the fans. As Dane himself says on his new CD release and corresponding special: “I googled myself, and after four and a half hours even I said ‘this Dane Cook’ is a douchebag”.

The road to ISolated INcident has certainly been a long one, with more than enough emotional detours along the way. But at the end of the journey, it certainly seems like Dane has emerged a better performer and (maybe) even a comedian for a change.