Dane Cook dares to redefine himself at Mohegan Sun Saturday

Dane Cook (Jordan Strauss, Invision/AP)
Dane Cook (Jordan Strauss, Invision/AP)

To hear that Dane Cook is touring as a comedian again is somewhat of a shock. I’m sure that many of us remember his sudden rise to stardom and how thrilling that was. He was, after all, one of our first internet celebrities. During that ascent, Cook was the second comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden, and his comedy tours made millions. He was doing great. With even more clarity, however, we also remember his plummeting decline.

To recount all that from my point of view, I’ll admit that when I first saw Cook perform back in 2006 (I was 15), I, too, thought he was pretty hilarious. I remember the moment my brother called me over to the family desktop computer (we had a Dell, HA!) to watch what was then a primitive YouTube video of Cook's infamous “Rough Around the Edges” tour. I remember watching this man crouch on top of the stage stool like a ghoul and scream belligerently into the microphone — it was great, I thought. Both my brother and I couldn’t believe that there was someone out there, aside from Jim Carrey, willing to act so silly. And America, too, adoringly ate it up. That is, until we started to realize some of Cook’s material was a bit hostile and, uh, offensive even. Pair that with rumors that he was stealing Louis C.K.’s material, and Cook's career went downhill. An attempt to polish the tarnished image through a satirical appearance as himself on “Louis” (Louis C.K.’s television show) didn’t necessarily help either. And since then, Cook has quietly disappeared from the public eye.

A comedic comeback, then, seems to make sense—but only if Cook has made an effort to rethink his material. His challenge will be to balance the crazy antics that got him the attention in the first place with new, sharp, and not to mention smart, humor. To see whether he can pull it off, check him out at Mohegan Sun on Saturday.

Dane Cook, 8 p.m. Saturday, Mohegan Sun Arena; $19-$59; 1-800-745-3000.

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