Thursday, December 28, 2006

Why they gotta hate?

Yeah, forgive me for the bad grammar, but there's a point.

I just finished reading a trashing of Dane Cook from three months ago in Salon. It's articles like this that help perpetuate the idea of the elitist liberal.

So what explains Cook's popularity? His comedy is most notable for what it lacks: a critique of the political climate (Dennis Miller, George Carlin, Jon Stewart, Bill Maher), a commentary on our culture (Chris Rock, David Chappelle), a slightly tweaked perspective (Ray Romano, Steven Wright, Jerry Seinfeld), outrageously dirty material (Eddie Murphy, Andrew Dice Clay), or just a goofy, oddball routine (Howie Mandel). Although his delivery can be chafingly smug, Cook doesn't present himself as anything special. He likes video games and chicks and sports and other general-purpose guy stuff. He's not particularly baffled by the world, or all that perceptive, or all that self-aware.

He's a little self-deprecating, a little bit cutesy and a little bit aggressive, but most important, he treats mundane experiences like they're huge revelations: Breakup sex is the best, right? Right! Sometimes you have to lie to get out of stuff you don't want to do. I know you've done it, too, bro!.....But Cook's is the sort of non-threatening humor that appeals to people who, when watching Jon Stewart or Jerry Seinfeld, don't feel like they're in on the joke. With Cook, you're always in on the joke. Even if you've never been in a bad relationship or had breakup sex, you can just flash that "SuFi" and you're part of the club.

The SuFi, in fact, embodies the appeal of Dane Cook. Short for "Superfinger," it arose from a skit about Cook's quest for an upgraded version of giving someone the finger -- with the thumb, middle finger and ring finger extended. The emptiness of the gesture sums up the frat-boy camaraderie among Cook's fans, and his popularity among college students. In college, after all, jokes aren't really jokes at all, they're just code words for shared experiences.

You know, I'm in on the joke when it's told by Stewart, Colbert, Carlin, any one of them. I'm intelligent, and so are many fans of Dane Cook. It's incredibly insulting to make it out to be that A: Dane Cook fans are dumb, B: college kids are dumb and unable to comprehend "real" humor, and C: that Cook himself is dumb.

Yes, I know, it's the writer's opinion, and yes, Tourgasm wasn't all that great, but his two CD's and his DVD's are really good. Tell me, what the hell is wrong with having a comedian who isn't being activist, who talks about REGULAR THINGS that we go through in our 18-25 years? What makes him smart is that he's carved out his own niche. Why should he be like everyone else? And how is Chris Rock (whom I also find very funny) that much smarter in his comedy? He talks about all sorts of things that don't require a lot of thought to understand. Just buy Roll With The New and you'll see.

The whole smug thing is just a parroting of what some other comedians have said. The funny thing is, the people bitching about him are people who never really made it as big stars. A little jealous, perhaps? And why are their complaints relayed practically word for word in this article by the writer without attribution? The whole thing just reeks.

This is why I don't read Salon much anymore: the elitism level is just too high for me.


Post a Comment

<< Home