While the Bill O'Reillys and the Michael Moores of the world passionately illustrate the United States as a nation divided on issues of the war and the economy, comedian Dane Cook sees the country united on at least one issue -- comedy. Despite what the big-ego conservative and the big-and-bearded liberal say, the 32-year-old Cook claims, "Geography makes no difference to me any more. I don't think of one place any different. When I first started, I remember thinking, 'How will I be funny in Texas?' I quickly learned that funny is funny."
Recently named "Hot Comic" by Rolling Stone in its annual "Hot Issue," Cook has gained a growing fan base of faithful followers eager to hear his take on hard-hitting issues -- such as everyone's favorite alternative to the swimming pool, the Slip 'n' Slide, and working the drive-through at Burger King. The Boston native says: "The material comes when it comes. I don't try to think of funny things; I just keep an open mind and funny possibilities hit me. When they do, I take it to the stage." Recently, Cook has taken his material far beyond the stage. With appearances on Comedy Central's Crank Yankers and Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, roles in the films Torque and Stuck on You, and his own CD, Harmful If Swallowed (which has sold more than 130,000 copies), the 14-year veteran of the comedy circuit is busting through the walls of the mainstream like a giant pitcher of Kool-Aid.
Despite the side gigs, being on-stage in front of "people who took time out of their lives to hang out with me and other comedians to see what we are shooting the gip about" is where Cook is most comfortable. Although these days, many performers' success is measured by what they do away from the stage, the comedian says, "The fact that I can go to New York City and sell out one of the top clubs in the country by word of mouth is more rewarding than anything else I can think of."
This October, Cook will hit the halls of academia with Tourgasm, a tour of 20 free shows on college campuses in 30 days. Ramp magazine's "Sexiest Comedian" plans on getting through such a rigorous schedule by simply "drinking lots of water. That is the key to life: Drink liquids." Cook adds, "This is just the first leg of something that could be a huge thing. We are going to give these schools some kick-ass shows." You, however, don't have to worry about those awful SAT scores that made even Broward Community College a reach school in order to catch a kick-ass show from Dane Cook this weekend. He brings his unique brand of physical and random comedy to the Palm Beach Improv. -- Tim Hammill