A Laughing Matter

Now that smells funny

His CD, Retaliation, was the first comedy CD to bust into the Top 5 on the Billboard charts since Steve Martin’s A Wild and Crazy Guy in 1978; his MySpace page has more than 700,000 friends; and he kissed Charlize Theron’s ass on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. If you don’t know who we’re talking about, you obviously aren’t spending enough time watching TV, surfing the Internet, or reading periodicals.

Dane Cook is the hot comic of the moment. Sure, he’s a fifteen-year veteran on the stand-up circuit, but 2005 was his breakout year. He did Leno, Letterman, and Conan, and his childhood dream finally came true: He got to host Saturday Night Live. “Being there and being in that environment was what I had dreamt of since junior high. It was one of the greatest weeks of my career and my life,” says Cook during a recent telephone interview. “I still look back and think, Did that really happen?” So, what do you do once you’ve lived your dream? “I’m going to be an Alaskan crab fisherman next. I’ve done all I can do in comedy, and I’m ready to go out there and show the world what a great crab fisherman I can be.”

Jokes about crabs aside, Cook has been working on a pilot. “Mum’s still the word on the pilot, but we just finished shooting it and everyone we’ve showed it to has cracked up,” says Cook. “But TV is so different. It’s so out of your hands once it’s done. Because TV is so advertising-driven, there’s so much you can’t do as an artist.” The funny man also has aspirations of a film career. “It’s pretty much what I’ve been steering towards: falling into the footsteps of my favorite comics, like Steve Martin,” Cook adds, barely taking a breath. “I want to take this great comedy fan base and tell the stories that I can’t tell onstage.”

Cook has sold a couple of film ideas and is working on two movies, Employee of the Month and Peter Hedges’s Dan in Real Life. “It’s a movie with heart, and I want to do movies that are funny but have heart and have a destination,” says Cook, with feeling. But don’t worry; he’ll still be doing stand-up. “I’ll do plenty of comedy anywhere and everywhere.”

Crediting his parents for handing down the gift of humor, Cook has no boundaries onstage. “I learned early on that my audience was very forgiving and they let me get way with anything. I run the gamut on what I can talk about.” And is he still talking about Charlize Theron’s butt? “It smelled like Froot Loops,” Cooks says in all seriousness. “Everyone asks me what it smelled like, and it smelled like fruit.”

You can catch Dane Cook -- as well as Kathy Griffin, Mario Cantone, David Spade, D.L. Hughley, and Greg Giraldo -- at the Bud Light South Beach Comedy Festival, which begins tonight and runs through Saturday, January 21.
Jan. 18-21

 
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