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Dane Cook Gets a Little ‘Rough Around the Edges’

[IMG:L]After a whirlwind year of back-to-back films, including Mr. BrooksGood Luck Chuck and Dan in Real LifeDane Cook returns to his roots with the release of his new comedy album, Rough Around the Edges, and a national tour.

“There is no better way to reach the finish line then to now be running up and high fiving the fans, you know the people who helped me to get the possibility of doing films in the first place,” the multi-talented comedian, who admits he’s been burning the candle at both ends, said.

Cook called up Hollywood.com in between gigs to chat about the album, his dedication to his fans, and more.

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On recording the album at Madison Square Garden:
“For me personally, it was a special place to record and share an album. I started in Boston and then went to New York–like any good up-and-coming newbie should do. I spent many a night walking by that historic building and thinking about how my sister saw Steve Martin there and this is a place where Bob Hope has stood on stage and every band you’ve ever loved has performed there, so to finally have the opportunity to do two sold out shows at Madison Square Garden … was just something I thought people would want to be a part of–especially my fans who couldn’t make it and be a part of the show.”

[IMG:R]On bringing real life observations to his work:
“One thing I’m talking about in the new one, which would definitely be in the silly category, is I started getting into all this documentary stuff about civil war and revolutionary war and really wanting to learn about my nation’s history–and not just from the same old books, but to kind of dig down deep. Through that I started realizing I could never have fought back in this war, I could never have fought in, like, the revolutionary war and my friend said, “Why?” And I said, “What if I end up being the guy playing the flute?” That is going to be the worst position on the battlefield. I could shoot the canon, I could maybe fire a musket, but that guy standing up front playing that same little [sings] ‘Do, do, do, deedle, dee.’ He’s in the very front too, basically announcing to everybody ‘Hey, I’m the guy on the fife. Take a shot at me.’ And then I’m saying I want to add a bayonet, at least give me a flute with a bayonet or something so I could have some kind of protection. So that is a tiny chunk of the bigger piece of this whole civil war, revolutionary war thing that people have just been having a blast with out on tour and we are having a lot of laughs over it.”

On creating controlled chaos:
“When I was in Boston there was a place called Nick’s Comedy Stop and it was a real pirates den. It was just the worst possible place you could perform. There was always like a TV on at the bar and somebody playing video games in the back and there was a fight breaking out in the middle … but I always found it had that same feeling for me that I would have when I would go to see a band and felt like they are just kind of going rogue. Like this isn’t the set list and the band’s playing what they want to play and I am a part of it and I wanted shows like that. So despite the fact that, yeah, sometimes girls are at these shows, the other night there was a girl flashing her boobs and half the arena is doing the wave and then all of a sudden they are completely quiet and tuned into this joke and it was just absolutely dead silent. I actually said in front of 15,000 people “Wow, it is quiet in here,” and they laughed. And then all of a sudden “Boom” big punch line and then the next thing you know I get them amped up again. It is just unlike any comedy show, but it is the comedy show I always wanted to create, sort of a controlled chaos.”

[IMG:R]On combining the old with the new:
“As a performer, something has always happened to me when I get on stage that the show kind of takes over. I start to reassess as I’m on the move what I should be doing and what actually would work and feels right. It is nice to be able to jump back to a large comedy repertoire–I’ve kind of opened up the floodgates and said I’ll do anything from any CD anytime, which is something my fans know I’ve never done. You would think by doing a–quote unquote–an old joke that it would be like, ‘Oh I’ve heard this,’ it is a snicker now, but if anything I’m pulling out some of these older bits and the place is like a mad house. It is like sometimes they are doing the punch line with me. Sometimes I’m holding the mike out and they are doing the punch line. It is a beautiful thing.”

On reading his fan mail:
“I still feel like I’m Dane from Boston. My friends know I travel in the same circle. I have the same group of friends. My lifestyle is not ostentatious. I still live pretty simply, I try to take care of my family, but at this level of exposure you get hit from all sides. If you sat over my shoulder and read my emails with me like I do every day you would be laughing and crying. You would be mad and you would be blown away by the beauty of some of these letters. There is a bit of everything coming into my inbox these days. I sit here sometimes and I will read stuff from troops. I will write back and forth with these guys in Iraq, I will send them over CDs and things to keep them entertained. I read these letters … like I got a letter from this guy a couple of nights ago, his sergeant was killed while they were doing house to house sweeps. He was telling me, ‘When we would do these sweeps we would quote your material. We would kick in doors and then do your B&E material and my sergeant loved you and would be quoting the lines.’ He was telling me ‘We were in a firefight and people would be yelling “Where is the van?”’ and certain jokes during an actual firefight. You read this and you realize “Wow, I’m important, I’m helping to relieve some stress and wow what a life.” And then the next email is like “You suck! I hate you. I’m sick of your face.” [Laughs]

[IMG:R]On dealing with online hecklers:
“You can’t fight lies. A lot of it is stuff like “I read something on Wikipedia…” Like don’t believe what you read. If you want to think what you want to think about me based on something that somebody said then I think that is superfluous crap. You should really do your homework, because if you look at the history of my life there is no police record, I’m not a thief, I’m a guy that lives pretty simply and wants to be a contributing member to my community and to the fans and the people around me that stuck with me. I feel like I owe something back for having shared such a great life with my family so I don’t write back. I used to years ago I would write back and be like, “Why would you say that?’ But you start to realize that it is not you. It says more about that person then it does about you…I’ve never had a drink or drug in my life. I’ve never had anything. I’ve never sipped it. I’ve never tried it, nothing and yet there are people who have created this world where apparently I’m like coked up [and] egotistical–it is just hilarious. You can’t believe everything that you read out there. You have to look at a person’s entire legacy before you pin something on them.”

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On taking a much needed break:
“Everything is done, the movies have all come out, the only thing that hasn’t come out is Bachelor [#2] that will be late next year … I’ve been going nonstop for two years. I’m going to do this tour and then I’m going to disappear for awhile. Get myself a good steak dinner [laughs] take some good rest and really plan on what is important to me and my fans and what I want to put out there next. I really think that the chaotic part, I don’t think it is going to be like this again or if it is, it is not going to be for awhile. It just happened that everything sort of hit the wall at once and I certainly look forward to drifting back into being a resident for a little bit.”

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