Email Us

The Great Dane Cook

November 30, 2010 by  
Filed under Celebrity


Dane CookDane Cook is staring at cover art for his Greatest Hits album. He’s narrowed the title choices down from 15 to three and his deadline is today. The creative process has caused the sandy haired star comedian to take a scenic route down Memory Lane – long before his Forbes list fortune and arena-filling fame. He’s spent the last few weeks listening to grassroots routines and discovering edits of CDs that he didn’t even know existed. “It’s interesting – watching and listening to the evolution of myself. It’s very, very strange.” He pauses. In that brief silence you can hear the deafening authenticity behind Cook’s quiet confidence.

Ankle-deep in conversation, it becomes refreshingly apparent that one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People hasn’t let sold-out stadiums and Hollywood movie roles alongside Kevin Costner, Kate Hudson and Steve Carell sellout his convictions. Cook still has vivid recollections of what it was like to be a ’90s comedy novice performing skits on Boston stages to pocket-sized crowds. He conjures up the feeling he had during his first Just for Laugh’s appearance in Montreal. “I remember I was a new face and there was that moment where you’re like, ‘People are going to discover me and how exciting is that? People who don’t know me are going to see me here for the first time and have an opinion about me and hopefully jump onboard and become fans,’ and I loved working towards that moment.” He expresses the anecdote with a bold, magnetic edge – much like his comedic voice.

Offering a sophisticated outlook on his career path, Cook reveals that his listening skills play a critical role in his celebrity and overall business culture. “You have to have your finger on the pulse and put ego aside and realize it’s not always about what you’re doing and how you deliver, but how people want to receive you as well.” So far, Cook’s craft has been very well-received. His album, tour, TV and movie sales have made him one of the wealthiest stand-up stars. Forbes magazine even pegged him as a top-earning comic, pulling in an estimated $21 million in a recent 12-month period. “It really gets me excited everyday to get up and go to set or go to my office and figure out, ‘OK, what is something I can do to challenge myself today that is an offering to my fans?’” says Cook, 38, a back-on-the-market bachelor living in Los Angeles.

Though Cook spent most of his early years divulging his familial, sexual and childhood experiences in a face-to-face format, it was his commanding online presence that actually catapulted him to becoming the industry’s most popular and savviest of funny men. A trailblazer in the Internet movement, the comedian is a prime example of stardom by virtue of social media. Connecting to his audience through means that were somewhat disregarded in their infantile stages, Cook eagerly tackled MySpace and Twitter to glass-case his comedy to the masses. “I really think that there was a simpatico with the way we were all starting to change the way we receive our entertainment and our education, so I was locked into that from pretty early on because I’m a geek and I love computers,” says Cook, who has almost five million followers on Facebook and Twitter, and more than 2.5 million friends on MySpace.

In the future, Cook would like to see technology transform the world in more profound ways. He brings up the avant-garde concept of building digital walls in places like Haiti, Israel and New York City, so strangers can communicate virtually like they do on Skype. “When we see suffering and when we see somebody who needs help, we want to help them. When we can’t see and we can’t hear somebody’s cries or somebody’s pleas or somebody’s idea, it goes nowhere, it doesn’t travel very far,” he says.

As the topic takes a turn from virtual reality to his own realities, Cook reveals yet another layer – one most people see only a snippet of onstage. His willingness to candidly open up about the recent deaths of his parents marks a tender trait. “I know that I feel the energy of my mom and dad around me all the time. I do believe that there’s more after this test: what that is we will have to wait and see.” It was Cook’s mother that fuelled his artistic expression and encouraged him to chase his wildest dreams, placing a particular emphasis on the nature of all things wild. She was never embarrassed or ashamed of the fact that her son lived in his imagination he says. “My mother was an empowered woman and she was a dreamer, and that’s the one thing that she always instilled in me, which was ‘Don’t be afraid to stay in that
dream-like state.’” Cook regularly brings his parents back to life comedically in his cross-country stand-up routines. His relaxed, autobiographical style was received with roaring laughter in October when his tour touched down in Toronto.

While expressive and conversational language is a major facet of Cook’s onstage persona, he struggles to find a phrase that fits the sensation he gets from making people laugh. “It’s unlike anything that I’ve felt before … it’s that feeling of just you and nature,” he says. After a journey of self-reflection, it’s evident that nothing keeps Cook on his proverbial toes quite like the capacious world of comedy. “Lately I’m finding myself in that same place, of being that young kid, standing in Montreal saying, ‘OK, I’ve got my wits about me and I’m healthy and I’ve got a few ideas, but what’s next?’ He’s now decided the name of his Greatest Hits album: I Did My Best.


Feel free to leave a comment...
and oh, if you want a pic to show with your comment, go get a gravatar!