Dane Cook
Comedy Central
Dane Cook is single-handedly revitalizing stand-up comedy. The Massachusetts-born, California-based comedian is burning up the Billboard charts with the two-disc Retaliation, which debuted at number four (the highest comedy chart position since Steve Martin’s 1978 classic Wild and Crazy Guy) and has been certified gold. Cultivating his massive audience through constant touring and his website, as opposed to landing the standard sitcom, Cook is comedy’s current equivalent to a rock star. Andwith good reason. Retaliation is a masterful piece of work, breathing new life into the genre without straying too far from its roots. Cook covers all the bases here — sophomoric (“Itchy Asshole”), observational (“The Friend Nobody Likes”), storytelling (“The Chicken Sangwich") — and he does it with a frenetic energy that is as much inspired by Bill Hicks and Bill Cosby as it is by Jim Carrey and Tom Green. There’s no message here, but his wicked sense of wordplay and impeccable timing get him more mileage per joke than most comics could ever dream of. If there is one thing that might keep Retaliation from becoming a classic, it’s Cook’s overuse of brand placements and pop culture references. Talking about Tekken’s Eddie Gordo and Swiffers might get a rise from audiences now, but in 10 years it’s more likely to leave people scratching their heads. But that’s for future generations to decide. Right now Cook is this decade’s best comic, and Retaliation is the funniest album you’re going to hear this year.
—Chuck Teed

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