Dane Cook rang in 2008 by performing an alleged record-setting seven — count ’em, 7! — seven hours of stand-up comedy on New Year’s Day at the Laugh Factory in Hollywood.
As Cook himself wrote on his site: "I never sat down or left the stage. The show started with a small mighty crowd of around 60 and 35 of us were together this morning still laughing and recapping 2007 with laughs galore. It felt fantastic. The longest set I have ever done before that was 3 hours 50 minutes at the LF as well. It’s a historic club with so much positive energy. One of the best locations I have ever had the privilege of performing at. I talked about anything and everything. From tigers mauling people to my parents deaths. Reconstructive surgery to starting my very own race war. Sex, drugs and anything else that my brain served up. I knew everyone in the crowd by the end and now they know me too. I dedicate my record breaking set to all comedians that inspire me past and present."
Um, OK. Why, eggsactly is this a record of note? I know it’s certainly possible from Cook — having witnessed him blaze through more than three hours of all-new material at his Vicious Circle taping in Boston two years ago. He’s not a traditional set-up, punchline kind of guy. Cook’s a storyteller. A storyteller who loves detours in plot and playing with words and making up slang, taking his fans along for the journey. It’s part of the reason some comedians look down on him in the first place (aside from mere jealousy). These stand-ups don’t feel like Cook is telling jokes. In some cases, he’s not. He’s telling stories and the way he tells them makes his fans laugh. Anyhow. Now I’ve gotten sidetracked. Look what you made me do there. Cook took the "record" away from Dave Chappelle. Chappelle is another guy who eats up stage time as if he were a man on Death Row who’d asked for his last meal to be an all-you-can-eat buffet. Chappelle loves taking his time between bits, and when he’s just screwing around on an unannounced gig, often stops several times to ask the audience what they want to talk about to give him new opportunities at material. But still. Even knowing all of this. Why, oh why, would you want to stay onstage for seven hours? And why would you want to put an audience through humor fatigue like that?
And even more of a why, why does this kind of thing always seem to revolve around Jamie Masada, who’s quoted in the E! story saying, "I’m trying to give them a venue to let them work the way they want to, and I respect them because I love comics. I’m watching the greatest art form." Hold on a moment, there. Masada wants to let comics "work the way they want to"??? Isn’t this the same guy, who (let’s put aside the whole taking the kid to Michael Jackson story because it’s not relevant, except as circumstantial evidence that, well, um, consider the source here) made such a huge ordeal about banning the word "nigger" from his stage and fining comedians for using the word after allowing Michael Richards to implode his career on that same stage? Isn’t this the same club owner who tries to get TV time for any entertainment story that’s remotely related to comedy? I met Masada once at his less-than-famous New York City Laugh Factory two years ago. He was more than kind. Said some very nice things to say about me and my comedy after I took part in a funny reporter contest at his Midtown club. So I don’t have any ill will toward him. I just question the need for making his Hollywood club a place where performers will just talk and talk and talk and talk, just for the sake of setting a record.
Speaking of records…
But if you kept reading Dane Cook’s post from yesterday, you’d also have learned that he learned he had sold 62,048 CDs over Christmas.
His latest release, Rough Around the Edges: Live from Madison Square Garden, peaked at No. 11 on the Billboard charts last month and continues to hold steady on the overall charts (not just comedy, but pop, rock, hip-hop, everything), rising from #54 to #43 on the most recent Billboard 200 listings for Jan. 12. Which makes him still the best-selling comedian in records sold for 2007.
Updated! Cook also has eight Webisodes on his site that serve as a much shorter, yet bigger version of his Tourgasm sequel of sorts this fall. Here is the eighth and final installment: