Dane Cook's new CD approaches the peak of
'Retaliation' but doesn't reach the summit.
the multi-platinum success of his double CD “Retaliation,” Dane Cook set
aside his observational humor-to-a-fault stand-up comedy act for roles
in movies of middling quality (although he is actually well-cast now in
“Dan In Real Life“). SNL parodies aside, one wonders if moviemaking
could drain him of his chops, but “Rough Around The Edges: Live From
Madison Square Garden,” in stores November 13, shows he still has them,
although his new act doesn’t feel quite as cohesive.
“Retaliation” certainly had a broad range of subjects, but somehow
Cook’s tone and presentation on that album made them flow together more
easily. The material on “Rough Around The Edges” tends to pinball in
both subjects and style. “Rough” is just one CD, but comes with a DVD of
the very same New York performance on the CD.
For example, to name a few tracks and how they vary, “15 Cents” suggests
a more aggressive attitude for charity TV infomercials; “Benson’s Animal
Farm” takes you back to a phenomenon identifiable for those with 1980s
childhoods; and “Pedophiles” starts a send-up of Oprah Winfrey’s show
and segues into just how many sex offenders Cook finds when looking up
where they may be in his neighborhood.
These three pieces are all very funny but don’t quite top the convulsive
laughter threshold Cook topped with “Struck By A Vehicle” on
“Retaliation.” “Herpolie Urpolies” comes close -- a piece about Cook
telling a friend other reasons why he has symptoms of what’s really
herpes (and he doesn’t realize it).
It could be simply that having heard a lot of Cook now, the novelty of
his delivery has worn off, or maybe it’s the more scattershot nature of
the material, or maybe it’s just something indefinable that’s missing,
but while “Rough Around The Edges” is good, it’s not a classic or a peak
performance for Cook.