Dane Cook told a joke about the Aurora shooting, disingenuous outrage sweeps the nation

By | July 28, 2012 at 12:21 pm | 28 comments | News, Opinion | Tags: , , , , ,

Can we stop? Seriously. Can we please stop dissecting every single word from the mouths of comedians? And while we’re at it, can we stop filming and taping everything so that we can use it as evidence against comedians? I’m talking to you, unseasoned comedy club attendees and mainstream media, who have no idea what you’re talking about.

Amidst the Daniel Tosh controversy (which has been taken way too far) and amidst heckler incidents surrounding Eddie Griffin and Tammy Pescatelli, Dane Cook — every bitter, sad person’s stand-up comedian target — is in trouble because he made a joke about the Aurora, CO shooting. Much like more than a few New York City comics delivered jokes about the 9/11 tragedy within days of the attack — I don’t know, because they wanted to give their nervous, scared and confused audience permission to laugh again, to release their emotions — it seems Cook took our nation’s most recent tragedy and tried to do the same.

On Thursday night at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, Cook told the following joke: “I heard that the guy came into the theater about 25 minutes into the movie and I don’t know if you’ve seen the movie, but the movie is pretty much a piece of crap. And I know that if none of that would have happened, I’m pretty sure that somebody in that theater, about 25 minutes in, realizing that it was a piece of crap, was probably like, ‘Ugh, fucking shoot me.’”

I’m not going to post the audio, because, well, fuck that person who recorded it. But having listened to it, the crowd loved the joke. It got a big laugh. Of course, toward the end of the wave of laughter came groans. But any rational person knows those groans were disingenuous attempts at saving face just in case there was fallout. And there was! So congratulations, groaners. Your comedy insurance policy paid off.

On Friday, after the Web blew up with anti-Cook sentiment, the comedian tweeted an apology: “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.”

Now, I’m not saying I haven’t reacted over-sensitively to the occasional joke or comedy sketch, but I’ve never asked anyone to apologize for it. Cook is a fucking comedian. He’s not a news anchor; he’s not a politician; he’s not your parents. His job is to make people laugh. And that’s what he did on Thursday night. He made a room full of people laugh. And those who laughed aren’t evil for doing so. They’re human.

And if you think for a moment, that simply because Cook (once again, a comedian) doesn’t feel for the victims of the shooting as deeply as everyone else does or that he doesn’t understand the weight of seriousness the incident carries, then you are the silliest goose of them all.

About the Author

Dylan P. Gadino

Dylan is the founder and editor Laughspin.

  • PMT

    This is from the guy who took a shit all over Andy Samberg a few months ago for a fake PSA telling people not to eat each other. Quotes : “Beyond its lazy writing, the joke’s entire premise is based on brutal attacks and the killing of innocent people”
    “No point was made; no artistic boundary was pushed. So, don’t fool yourself into believing your taste in humor is somehow more evolved than those who would be offended by it”

  • Eatmyshit

    and that’s why you’re the ‘writer’ on a fucking blog.get a real job, moron. Why bother making jokes about something so senseless in the first place? Because you lack originality like everybody else. Hence television being all shows about ‘reality’, vampires and murders.

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=617459752 Josh Homer

      this comment really showcases a flaw in logical thinking. 

  • http://twitter.com/staleface77 John Staley

    This article ended with a very grave, stern independent clause.

  • McKegg Collins

    I’m just more offended that he didn’t like the movie…

  • BusterBrown

    I’m not outraged.  Not even mildly offended – not by the subject matter of the joke, anyway.  Woulda been better if the joke had been funny.   or maybe if he’d just had the balls to try the joke without the pussy introduction and supposed request for permission.  But that’s Cook for you.  The “brand” is more important than the funny.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Alex-Mac/777995513 Alex Mac

    I’m just tired of people jumping on a cause for the sake of having a case. If people who cared as much about this joke cared enough about affecting real change, they’d be doing more than blogging on Tumblr, et all about a single comedian and actually either taking action or having worthwhile discussion about the issues.

  • Beanermuffin
  • Bob

    For whoever has their panties in a bunch over this, piss off you ignorant fools. He has the right to make fun of whatever the hell he wants and if he did it to just get publicity, then good for him. That’s how the game is played in LaLa Land.

    I’m sure ALL of you have said much worse things than his joke, the only difference is that the whole world doesn’t give a fuck about what you think and your words aren’t plastered all over the universe for everyone to see/hear/read.

    I’m no fan of Dane Cook, but the joke is funny and his right to say it without apology.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1433353792 Greg Pallante

    Who does he think he is?? The Joker!? Comedians can say whatever the hell they want to say just like anyone else in America. In fact its their job to make light of tragedy. If people laughed at the joke ( I didn’t hear the audio) then Cook did his job. And no he doesn’t owe anyone an apology because the joke is obvious. It’s not something you may have mistaken for reality. But he apologized to the victims and their families, who I’m sure are most concerned with Dane Cook’s material than anything else right now, so the case is closed. Free speach! unless of course he revealed the secrets of the movie before i got to see it in which case he should be arrested like Lenny Bruce.

  • comic630

    What upsets me about this situation is, people don’t know they can buy my CD Still Empty Inside on iTunes or amazon. Also there are way to many of you that have not heard our podcast My Wife Hates Me also on iTunes or riotcast.com  Now with that said, what happened in Colorado?

    • Jorge Garrido

      Liked for the obscure Vos joke. 

  • christopatten

    Whether Dane Cook wanted free publicity or not is irrelevant. People need to stop this knee-jerk reaction bullshit to every joke they hear that doesn’t sound like it would clear for a family channel show. It doesn’t matter which side of the tape you’re on; if the joke pissed you off then posting it and blathering about it is just going to give the comic more publicity, same goes for if you’re needlessly outraged that you’re perceiving Dane’s actions as a publicity stunt. If you think it’s a publicity stunt and you go around shouting about how it’s a publicity stunt you know what you’re doing? You’re making a publicity stunt work.

    • Knelso

      Lol Josh, phrasing comedians as artists. Now THAT is a good joke.

      • Guest

        Right, Knelso. The only comedian “artist” is Dmitri Martin because he draws on stage. 

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=617459752 Josh Homer

        you guys have to learn how comments work and reply to the right one. Comics are artists, look at Carlin he held a mirror up to society. Not EVERY comic is an artist, but the good strive to be. 

        • christopatten

           I agree with your post on two levels, first off I believe you’re right to refer to comedy as art.

          But much more so you’re right about needing to learn how the comments work, I was confused as hell by the replies that showed up on my comment lol.

  • AlwaysPeanuts

    How many people want to shoot themselves 25 minutes into a Dane Cook skit?

    • GUEST

      Too soon.

  • Lee Gold LI

    It is so obvious that Cook was trying to cash in on the attention that Tosh got – it was such a calculated move (telling the joke) so that he would HAVE TO give (tweet) a public apology, all so that the media would mention his name. So sad, such a fail, and I wish I could say I expected better than this from Dane, but I don’t…

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=617459752 Josh Homer

    can we get someone to release an official full list of what comics can and can not talk about, which cities allow what subjects and why, what is the official time we must all wait to talk about a topic, how the jokes can be worded and phrased? Thanks. I think as comics we need all these constraints to help us grow as artists. 

  • Lee Gold LI

    Gee – after seeing all the free publicity Daniel Tosh got, I wonder if Dane Cook did this just to be relevant again…
    … actually I don’t wonder at all. It was OBVIOUS from his calculated response to the Tosh Rape joke (after everyone else’s response) that this too was a calculated move to get attention. Sorry that it was an EPIC FAIL, Dane. He has not been the flavor of the month for a while now. I guess if he wants to be relevant he will have to do what Giraldo and Hedberg did…

    • Guest

      Too soon, man. I expect you to apologize for that.

  • tehslaphappy

     Maybe he made the joke to try to one up Daniel Tosh. Maybe? Nah, that’s just ridiculous.

  • Dianalourdes

    There’s a difference between being in NY and telling a joke about 9/11 to New Yorkers and being in LA and telling a joke to Angelenos about the Aurora shooting. The first one might be cathartic; the second one is just bad taste. Again, comedians can say whatever they want, but they have to put their big girl panties on to own what they say. Finally, I agree that taping a show without consent is just plain wrong. I think a “fan” that tapes a performance without consent is disrespecting the performer. Maybe that is a sign of how “respected” Dane Cook is by his audience.

    • Guest

      I have this GREAT airplane food joke, but I only do it at airport lounges for “catharsis.”  Anywhere else, and you’re right, it’d be in bad taste. 

  • http://www.roadsideattraction.com Phil Johnson

    Sing it brotha!  Every time we there’s a disaster the question of “what good does comedy do?” and “when are we allowed to joke about it?” comes up.  And the general sentiment is always that comedy helps to diffuse the situation and bring everyone back around to focus.  But then when someone does they get lambasted for it.  Only because everyone needs content every day.  It’ll keep happening unfortunately. But we can keep pushing back by doing the jokes as tastefully as we can.

    Oh, and his setup is too long.  The joke needs work. 😉

  • http://twitter.com/steelyken Kenny Kinds

    That’s why i only stick to jokes about the size of a bag of airline peanuts and how black and white people walk differently.

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