Not all celebrities can stay in the spotlight. Unless they have mass appeal and find a way to stay relevant, chances are they're going to fizzle out. It's a fate reserved for lots of ambitious talents who rise to the top. What goes up must come down, after all.
For no other celeb is this truer than in the case of comedian and actor Dane Cook. Doing what only a few comedians hope to achieve, he broke through the mainstream. Cook even managed to crossover his talents into the movies. However, a few bad roles set him back and he's been mostly M.I.A. ever since.
The public hasn't totally forgotten about Cook yet. In fact, we think he's due for a comeback any day now. Most people just wonder what he's been up to. Therefore, we're taking a look at Cook. What exactly is this comic all about anyway? Going over some facts about Cook might even shed some light on what he's been up to all these years. Hoping it will provide insight into what exactly happened to this master of comedy, let's look back at Dane Cook. Some facts are sure to surprise you.
15 His Half-Brother Stole Millions Of Dollars From Him
Some say there are dangers from mixing family with business. That's some advice Cook could've benefited from. According to CNN, Cook's half-brother and manager Darryl McCauley stole millions of dollars from the successful comedian back in the 90s. Ultimately, Darryl and his wife Erika pleaded guilty to the charges. They both served time in prison as a result.
Cook must've been pretty heartbroken to hear his half-brother and sister-in-law would go so far to mooch off his success. Out of everyone, a family is who you should be able to trust the most. While this incident didn't upend Cook's career, it probably didn't help him much either. It's like Cook won the lotto and his family relationships changed as a result. That's a tough trial to go through early on in anyone's career.
14 Graphic Design Was His Backup Career Plan
Although Cook seems like a natural comic, he considered another unlikely career at one time. After graduating from high school, he studied graphic design in college. Apparently, graphic design was a backup plan in case his comic career didn't pan out. Everyone knows he went on to become a popular comedian, but what many don't know is that he ended up using his skills in graphic design after all.
For his release of the album 'Harmful If Swallowed', Cook designed the cover and merchandise as reported by AXS.
The CD cover shows Cook's head over crossed microphones intended to mimic a skull and crossbones. The album would go on to elevate Cook's prominence and even go platinum. We aren't surprised if he makes money from some of his illustrations today.
13 He Broke The Record For Longest Stand-Up Routine
Cook proved that records are made to be broken. The Laugh Factory in Los Angeles is known for its stand-up comedians performing for an insane amount of continuous time. According to Today,
Cook originally broke the record back in 2007 when he performed for whopping three hours and 50 minutes.
The record before that had belonged to Richard Pryor back in 1980.
Then, a little-known comedian named Dave Chappelle happened to break Cook's record. Cook finally settled the matter when he went back in 2008 and performed for a massive seven hours. We can't imagine performing in front of people for that long—let alone even seven minutes. As of this writing, the record still hasn't been broken yet. With a legacy like that, we can understand not needing to prove oneself in the spotlight again.
12 Banned From 'The Laugh Factory' Because His Ego Got Too Big
Even though he broke records at The Laugh Factory, he got in trouble for some of his bad behavior there. Apparently, the broken records got to his head a little bit. At one point—according to NY Daily News—people heard him yelling that he owned the place. A waitress and the club's owner were on the receiving end of Cook's ranting and raving.
The ban happened just a few years ago in 2015. It might explain why Cook hasn't been in the spotlight much recently. He's not even welcome in his own stomping grounds. It's possible The Laugh Factory could lift the ban someday, especially if there's money behind it. We can see why they wouldn't tolerate Cook's behavior if he swore at a waitress. Maybe all will be forgiven at some point.
11 Cook Was Accused Of Stealing Stand-Up Material
As expected from his brazen persona, Cook doesn't always play nice with others. Another fellow comedian Cook is always butting heads with is Louis C.K. According to The Huffington Post, the website Fugly cobbled a video together that showed striking similarities between Cook and C.K.'s material.
Regardless of whether Cook really did steal the material or not, the comedy world's opinion of Cook changed.
After all, a comedian who steals jokes is the worst thing ever in the comedy world (like an athlete that takes performance-enhancing substances). Inevitably, C.K. was interviewed about the issue and conveyed his frustration.
Eventually, Cook went on the WTF with Marc Maron Podcast to clear the air. It must have been incredibly discouraging for Cook to know that the world thinks he stole his material.
10 He Tried His Hand At Movie Acting
Beyond comedy, Cook was able to transcend his primary profession to take on the world of acting. Fans will notice his brief role in the superhero flick Mystery Men where he plays the Waffler—a character that bashes or steams enemies with his Griddle of Justice. Seriously, we're not making this up.
While taking a break from touring with his comedy routine, Cook actually tried his hand at acting. Let's just say, an Oscar nom wasn't in the cards.
He would go on to not only act but also receive writing credits for his work on the films Good Luck Chuck, My Best Friend's Girl and Employee of the Month according to IMDB. He and Jessica Alba were nominated for a Razzie Award as the Worst Screen Couple in Good Luck Chuck—honor or not. He even went on to lend his voice in the Disney animated film Planes. Maybe if Cook had been in some bigger roles his career would still be going strong today.
9 He Auditioned To Play Captain America But Didn't Even Make The Shortlist
Even a Razzie Award couldn't snuff out Cook's acting ambitions. As reported by Slash Film, the popular comedian tweeted in 2010 that he was beefing up for an upcoming audition.
The part was for a major superhero this time (not the waffler)—Captain America. Though it appears that Cook didn't make the cut for even the shortlist, poor guy.
While it's easy to criticize Cook for his failed acting career, we have to give him credit. He really went for a huge role. Cook followed the sage advice of going big or going home. Unfortunately, he just ended up going home. Now his failed attempt at bulking up has been immortalized on Twitter. With talk of the Marvel films rebooting soon, maybe Cook can try auditioning for Captain America again.
8 He Likes To Stear Clear Of Partying Like A Lot Of Celebrities
In spite of the persona, Cook has carved for himself, there's one thing that surprised us. In an interview with GQ, Cook revealed that he doesn't drink or smoke. Most comedians these days are pretty open about their vices and it's accepted that they do it. Therefore it comes as a bit of a shocker that Cook abstains from the party lifestyle.
More than anything, we're really impressed. Being famous—or technically, formerly famous—might make someone more susceptible to these temptations. We're amazed he's able to resist it. Not only does this say a lot about Cook's character but opens the door for his inevitable comeback. If he's not sulking and drinking all day, he might be able to revive his career again after all.
7 Losing His Parents Hit Him Hard
As if critics weren't enough, the comedian has suffered some personal setbacks as well. The Washington Post reported that within 10 months, Cook lost both his mother and father to cancer. Not the best thing to happen to someone who's supposed to make other people laugh.
Understandably, this put Cook in quite the stupor. Apparently, Cook was pretty close to his parents. It's only natural that it would put him into a depression.
We can't imagine going through a tragedy like this and finding the will to move on.
That's exactly what Cook did, though. To make matters worse, this was around the time he found out his half-brother was stealing money from him. It was a rough time for the Cook family, that's for sure.
6 He Starred In A Sci-Fi Flick That Bombed
Cook branched out starring in a science fiction movie called 400 Days. The movie stars Brandon Routh, Caity Lotz and Cook as aspiring astronauts who go underground, training in preparation for careers in space.
As expected, the experience goes awry—as does the film, apparently. Critics panned the film, including a review by Press Pass LA that alluded to the crew seeming unprepared for anything that happened. For many, the film wasn't even a blip on their radars even though it appeared on Syfy.
While it wasn't the comeback Cook had hoped for, it did show he was willing to step into new genres outside comedy. If Cook hopes to revive his career, he's certainly going to have to branch out more. Even though it was a bomb, it's a step in the right direction.
5 He's Starting To Re-Think His Career In Comedy
Cook had a rough year in 2011. He'd lost his parents and found out his manager (and half-brother) stole money from him. That left him in a tough spot—so much so, that Cook even considered retiring at the time.
In a report by The Washington Post, Cook admitted to rethinking his career in comedy. He ultimately went on a hiatus, putting a hold on comedy.
He was—however—still working. He ended up doing work on a show for NBC called Next Caller, though it never saw the light of day.
Ultimately, Cook did return to stand-up, but there was a time where Cook's career looked like it was on the fritz. While many think he's in that place now, there was a time where he was even less in the spotlight.
4 MySpace Actually Helped To Launch His Career
Everyone knows it's hard starting out. This day in age, it's no different for stand-up comedians. Back when Cook was first starting out, he used a popular social media platform to promote himself—MySpace.
What acted as a precursor to today's popular Facebook, MySpace lent a medium for Cook to get his brand out there. Plus, Splitsider gives insight into how MySpace was used mostly by the age demographic Cook appealed to, such as teens and college-aged adults. The fact that Cook used MySpace to elevate others' awareness of him was smart and proves he's something of an entrepreneur.
If he's going to jumpstart his career again, he's going to have to tap into those skills again. We believe he has what it takes—he’s a creative guy.
3 At One Point He Was The Legend Of Madison Square Garden
Cook broke more records beyond The Laugh Factory in L.A. We're talking about records on the other coast. In one of the most iconic venues—Madison Square Garden in New York City—Cook broke more records.
According to AXS, Cook sold out the Garden and went on to be the second comedian ever to do it. Even more, he had two shows that same night.
This is an incredible feat for any performer, let alone a stand-up comedian.
While there are popular comedians today, there are not many who can sell out a huge venue like Madison Square Garden every day. It's even more impressive considering this was back in 2007 when social media wasn't as prominent. Could Cook do it again? He'd have to build up to it, but nothing is impossible.
2 Supporting The Troops Is Something He Takes Very Seriously
Cook showed his support for American troops during a USO comedy tour. The tour went through Kuwait and Iraq to entertain soldiers based there. Cook was happy to join the comedy tour and bring some much-needed support and laugher to soldiers.
The website Alamy shows photos of Cook bringing smiles to soldiers' faces. We admire Cook's willingness to go halfway across the world to entertain military forces for the hard work they're doing.
It's not likely that all the popular comedians today would agree to hop on a plane and do the same. Granted, he was also joined by other comedians Robert Kelly and Al Del Bene, so anything is possible. If Cook's career gets back on track, we hope he does more tours like this one.
1 He Doesn't Write His Jokes Down And Heavily Relies On Improvisation During His Stand-Up Routines
According to Cook himself, he doesn't write his jokes down. As per AZ Quotes, Cook admits he prefers to, "improvise and be spontaneous." While it's harder to imagine going that route, it makes sense for comic masters like Cook.
The only problem here is that he's been accused of stealing material from others in the past.
Giving Cook the benefit of the doubt, we aren't surprised this is his method. His stand-up style comes across as organic and conversational. It appears natural for Cook to let the flow of his comedy come whichever way his mind decides to go. This points to Cook's talent as a stand-up comedian. With this talent at his side, we're confident he has what it takes to rise to the top again.
References: AZ Quotes, Alamy, AXS, Splitsider, Washington Post, Press Pass LA, Washington Post, GQ, Slash film, Deadline , IMDB , IMDB, Huffington Post, NY Daily News, Ranker , The Famous People , Lowell Sun, Today, Eduin Review, AXS, CNN