UPDATE: Cook took to Twitter on Friday evening to apologize to those he offended by his incendiary joke. He wrote: “I am devastated by the recent tragedy in Colorado & did not mean to make light of what happened. I made a bad judgment call with my material last night & regret making a joke at such a sensitive time. My heart goes out to all of the families & friends of the victims.”
EARLIER: Daniel Tosh, you may now officially leave your post at the maligned comedian hot seat. Dane Cook will take over from here.
Just one week after the horrific shooting massacre in Aurora, Colorado at a midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises, which claimed the lives of 12 people and injured 59, comedian Dane Cook clearly thought enough time had passed to take a crack at the tragedy. During a show at — where else?— The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, Cook made a joke at the expense of Aurora shooting victims.
“This movie is pretty much a piece of crap,” Cook said of The Dark Knight Rises, and then added, “I know that if none of that would have happened, pretty sure that somebody in that theater, about 25 minutes in, realizing it was a piece of crap, was probably like, ‘Ugh fucking shoot me.'” You can listen to the audio here and decide what’s more unnerving, Cook’s bit or the reaction from the audience. While there were some groans, there seems to be more overwhelming applause, laughter and even a shout-out from the ubiquitous comedy club woo girl.
There’s no question that Cook — who has already long been a fixture of Internet wrath for being accused of “selling out” and stealing jokes from the likes of fellow comedians like Louis C.K. (one that the comedian let him address in a classic episode of Louie) — will re-open the wrath (something he seemed to be aware of in this tweet) and the comedy debate floodgates.
Was the joke too soon? Yes, probably — but, mostly it was just a completely tasteless, humorless one. Are certain topics like rape and famous tragedies off-limits in comedy? Nothing is off-limits in comedy. But what differentiates great comedians from the rest is the ability to craft a joke about those horrors that works. When the Tosh firestorm erupted, much of the criticism that came from his response to a female audience member was that the he made rape victims the butt of his joke, that he had no grasp or perspective of the trauma. Here, Cook has done the exact same thing. But mostly, what in the world gives Dane Cook the right to call a movie “a piece of crap”? (Exactly.)
And just like during the Tosh controversy, the Cook joke will likely also illicit cries of, “Hey, if you go to a comedy show, a Dane Cook comedy show, you better know what to expect.” A fair assessment, really. Unless you’re going to see a tame comedian in the vein of, say, Jerry Seinfeld, there’s a good chance you’ll hear something “shocking.” It’s a comedian’s job, in a sense, to push the envelope and help us laugh at the dark things in life. The problem that Tosh and now, likely, Cook run into, is mistaking “edgy” with wildly insensitive and, perhaps the even more egregious offense, of simply poor comic timing.
[Photo Credit: DailyCeleb.com]