SEND US A TIP!CLICK OR 844.412.5278
Dane Cook smiles as he holds a microphone to his mouth, wearing a grey hoodie that promotes his "Dane Cook: Tell It Like It Is" tour.

What Ever Happened To Dane Cook?

Instagram | danecook
By Kristin Myers

In the early 2000s, Dane Cook seemed like the budding star of comedy. 

With hits like “Employee of the Month” and “Good Luck Chuck,” the now-48 year old actor and stand-up comedian seems to have faded from the limelight. 

But what happened to his career? And what caused his downward spiral?  

'He's Just Not Funny'

A younger photo of Dane Cook standing in his narrow kitchen with one hand on the counter and one hand on the refrigerator.
Instagram | danecook

Growing up in Boston, Cook remembered being enamored by comedy on “The Tonight Show” and immediately knew that he wanted to be a comedian. He started working in comedy clubs in the 1990s and started performing in New York when he was only 23. He later moved out to L.A.

Using MySpace as a platform to grow his fanbase, Cook's big break happened when he appeared on Comedy Central's “Premium Blend” in 2000. He received his own half-hour special shortly after. 

Although the “Rough Around the Edges” comedian is the second comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden (the first being Andrew Dice Clay), others wouldn't describe themselves as fans of his work.

Although he was seen by fans as a comedian, many in the industry felt that Cook was a performer. Instead of telling jokes, he would enamor audiences with eccentric stories of his life with an over-the-top method of performing, often twisting his arms and torso for dramatic effect.  

Upon viewing his work, Texas comedian Ron White said, “[He] does not make me laugh, at all, in any way, shape, or form.”

“Silicon Valley” and “Deadpool” actor T.J. Miller has also described Cook's performances as “misogynistic” and “unusually awful.” 

Louis C.K. Controversy 

Dane Cook sits on a stairwell mired by graffiti as he drinks out of a paper coffee cup and looks into the camera.
Instagram | danecook

In addition to problems with his routine, some have accused Cook of stealing jokes from other comedians, most notably Louis C.K.

In 2005, Louis C.K. accused Cook of stealing material from his 2001 work, “Live in Houston.” Although Cook denied these allegations, fans made side by side comparisons to show the similarities in their material. 

In 2011, Cook tried to smooth things over by appearing on his FX show “Louie,” but it seemed to do little to erase tensions between them.

“I wanted a couple of things tweaked [in C.K.'s script],” Cook said. “But he was not going to change anything. It was what it was.”  

Dark Days

Dane Cook poses with his girlfriend, actress Kelsi Taylor, who is 26 years his junior.
Instagram | danecook

Although Cook had always been known for his goofy sense of humor, his comedy started to take a dark turn that started to alarm and alienate some members of his fanbase. 

This change in style could be attributed to tragedies that Cook experienced in his own life. His mother died of colon cancer in 2006, and his father passed away from pancreatic cancer less than a year later. 

If that wasn't enough, he also found out that his half-brother Darryl McCauley had embezzled over 18 million dollars from his account in 2008. McCauley served eight years in prison for the crime, and has since been released. 

The two have not reconciled. As Cook shared of the event, “My brother died [to me] in that moment.” 

In 2012, Cook drew fan ire for a joke about the Aurora, Colorado shooting in a movie theater during a screening of “The Dark Knight Rises,” suggesting that someone watching the film might not have liked it and uttered, “Ugh, somebody shoot me.” Cook later apologized and admitted that the joke “isn't funny.”

Cook has also come under fire for his relationship with actress Kelsi Taylor. The two started dating in 2017 when she was just 19 years old, 26 years his junior.  

Possible Comeback?

Dane Cook digs his heels into the sand and leans backward at a tropical beach.
Instagram | danecook

Despite these setbacks, Cook went on his “Tell It Like It Is” tour in 2019, his first tour in six years

Covering 47 stops from Boston to L.A., he didn't manage to secure Madison Square Garden, but he did perform at the respectable Radio City Music Hall.  

“From the outside looking at me, I would say this seems like a comeback moment,” Cook shared. “So, yeah, I guess we can call it a comeback. But for me, man, I feel like it's been mostly a trajectory.”

Although the recent COVID-19 pandemic has put a halt on future tour dates, it remains to be seen whether his recent performances will be enough to revitalize his career. 

Load Comments
Next Article