That Dane Cook is a silly bitch. He says so himself on the first disc of his sophomore album, Retaliation. More than that, however, Dane Cook is a rock star. Granted, if you’ve seen him live you know that he comes right out and says he wants to be one. Though on his new album he also says he wants superpowers – the ability to shoot lasers “out of my cock” and a pet monkey to battle when he returns home – so one could never be sure of his honest desires.
This much is true: He treats comedy not like the delicate, neurotic cousin of rock music but like an equal; he makes picking up a stand-up album or surrendering to a two-drink minimum cool– because he’s cool.
But he’s not cool in that self-deprecating, I-used-to-be-lonely-in-high-school-but-now-I’m-funny kind of way. He’s cool like Fonzie was. Girls love him and guys want to be his friend.
Throughout Retaliation , a three disc collection carrying two full sets of new standup and a DVD with Cook’s appearances on the Comedy Central Bar Mitzvah Bash, Denis Leary’s Comedy Central roast and more, Cook picks up where he left off on last year’s Harmful if Swallowed , proving again that while he’s completely absurdist, he will never be relegated to barely-known hipster comic status, mainly because he delivers his absurdity with conviction: “Next time you go to a party … shit on the coats.”
He even gives his characters hilariously absurd lines, like when his car-struck pedestrian exclaims post accident, “I’m going to puke shards of my own pelvis into this bush.” When he does something outwardly cornball – he sings lyrics to fit the tones of a car alarm – it’s hilarious and yep, cool. But really, this is something a sock puppet-wielding comic might do.
Cook doesn’t pace well but he doesn’t have to; he’s quick, so he’s perfect for an ADD-inflicted crowd. The intensity of each joke varies little: He’s able to make a nearly 11-minute story about cutting someone in line at Walgreens funny from start to finish. He over enunciates, which gives power to his already sturdy voice and lends emphasis to his rapid-fire punch lines. He coins phrases – BAMF = Bad Ass Mother Fucker – to make us remember him. He forces anecdotal tangents so he can shamelessly squeeze in phrases like “orgy of cheese on my palette” and “bucket of yuk.”
And, most importantly, he inspires us to lead a more empowering life: “Dream it, you fucking dreamers.” Oprah would be proud.