The Instigator
GaryBacon
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
radical258
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

Dane Cook's stand-up is overrated and not funny

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 2/18/2008 Category: Entertainment
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 3,974 times Debate No: 2749
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (7)
Votes (15)

 

GaryBacon

Pro

Dane Cook is a stand-up comedian whose popularity remains an enigma. There are plenty of stand-up comics out there that are funnier than Dane Cook. Yet he seems to sell out shows in large arenas and has a large following.

I have been watching stand-up comedy for years, and I simply don't get it. In my opinion, he is extremely overrated and not funny.

(Note: I am only referring to his stand-up. Movies have scripts written by others, and if he were ever given a funny line in one of his movies, that cannot be counted towards his stand-up routine.)
radical258

Con

Dane Cook is a great comic.

There is only one thing that really makes a good comic. That is the ability to make people laugh. That's all it is. It's very simple. A good entertainer of any kind is not defined by the individual opinion, but by the group reaction. For a comic it's whether people laugh. For a musician it whether people dance (or headbang in some cases). For a writer it's whether people actually take he time to contemplate what they are saying.

A great comic makes people laugh. Not necessarily you as the individual, but people in general. Dane Cook has certainly met and surpassed that standard.
Debate Round No. 1
GaryBacon

Pro

Your argument in essence is that Dane Cook is a great comedian because he makes people laugh. The problem I have with this logic is that practically no one would be excluded from a list of great comedians according to this standard.

When it comes to arts and entertainment, practically every artist or entertainer will have some type of audience. You then explain what you feel is needed to make someone great in various fields. You state "For a writer it's whether people actually take [the] time to contemplate what they are saying." There are plenty of people in this world that read and take the time to contemplate what Danielle Steele is saying in her novels. But this does not make her works any less superficial nor does it qualify her as a great writer.

There are artists that merely splatter paint on the canvas. There are many people that will ponder the hidden meaning behind such nonsense and contemplate the emotions expressed in the painting. But this does not make such a person a great artist.

You also state "For a musician [it's] whether people dance (or headbang in some cases)." There are plenty of people that have gone out to a club and danced to the music of Britney Spears. This does not make her a great musician.

What I'm basically getting at is that your definition of greatness excludes no one. Its only factor is whether or not the person has an audience. And regardless of how terrible someone may be, you can rest assured that there will be an audience.

By this logic then everyone would become great. And when everyone is great...no one is!

I will also refer you to the list put out by Comedy Central of the top 100 comedians. This will refer you to a link that shows the names:

http://spydr1.typepad.com...

After reading through all 100 names, you can see that Dane Cook does not appear on the list. This list was voted on by top comedians and verified by the Friars Club. Perhaps there were disagreements on the order, but the comedians present on the list deserved to be there. Dane Cook's absence from this list shows that his greatness of which you speak is lacking.
radical258

Con

It's not a surprise to me that Dane Cook did not get a place on comedy central's list.
There are a few things I Would like to say in response, however.
First, it is quite early in Dane Cook's career. When Lenny Bruce's career began, he was not well liked by the vast majority of experienced comedians.
He is now number 3 on the list you specified.
Second, the list is concerning the top 100 comedians of all time.
This debate, however, is whether Dane Cook is funny or not. Just because he is not the best in the world, it doesn't mean he's not funny.
Whether he's funny or not is simply a matter of opinion.

But, if you want to use technical arguments, then so will I.

Currently, Dane Cook's album Rough Around The Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden is number 66 on the Billboard Top 100 album's list. Also, Madison Square Garden seats over 19,000 for concerts. I highly doubt any comedian could draw a crowd like that if they weren't funny. You might argue that just because it seats that much, it doesn't mean he sold out. Well, in response to that I would say that no one would record a live album for a show that didn't have a gigantic crowd.
Debate Round No. 2
GaryBacon

Pro

In response to the list put out by Comedy Central, you state "First, it is quite early in Dane Cook's career. When Lenny Bruce's career began, he was not well liked by the vast majority of experienced comedians." Dane Cook has been doing stand-up since 1990. It is now the year 2008. That means he has been doing stand-up for 18 years. And in 1995 he began performing stand-up every night to make a name for himself. It may be that Lenny Bruce was not admired by other comedians initially, but I don't think it took over 18 years for others to accept him.

Nevertheless, there are other factors that make Dane Cook someone that is not funny. Namely, stealing other people's jokes which shows his inability to write jokes for himself. Anyone that can be considered funny in the world of stand-up comedy should be able to write his or her own jokes. On Dane Cook's album Retaliation, there was a huge controversy concerning some of the material. Many fans of Louis C.K. (a funny comedian that I've had the pleasure of seeing perform live) were outraged that Dane Cook stole not one, but THREE jokes from Louis C.K.'s album Live In Houston.

Louis C.K. acknowledged that the jokes were originally his, but never sued Dane Cook for it.

But the plagiarism does not end there. On September 30, 2006 Dane Cook appeared on Saturday Night Live. The jokes he told during his set were not his own. They were actually written by Demetri Martin. Demetri Martin has some fairly clever stand-up (although I think he draws his act out a bit too much). Martin's album entitled These Are Jokes was released on September 26, 2006. Perhaps Dane Cook figured that the jokes were so new that no one would catch on. But albums, copyrights, and release dates cannot be altered. There is no doubt that Dane Cook stole from Demetri Martin as well.

His new joke about the flute player in the war is actually also an old joke that I've heard before. I believe in its original form it was about the drummer boy, and Cook tweeked it a bit so that the joke revolves around the flute player. I wish I could remember who it was originally. I believe it was the comedian Joseph Evans Brown, but I haven't been able to confirm it.

Regardless, the main point is that a comedian that has to steal material in order to make others laugh is not considered funny.

You mention his album being on Billboard's top 100 list and the fact that it was performed at Madison Square Garden which is a large arena. I am not debating that people buy his albums and that people go to his shows. In fact, if they didn't my argument would be entitled "Dane Cook's stand-up is not funny." But I acknowledge that he does have a large following and that his albums sell. It is because of his widespread popularity that I also consider him to be overrated. And I am not the only one who feels this way. Here is a link to an article from Rolling Stone magazine by Rob Sheffield:

http://www.rollingstone.com...

I have seen other comedians that have the same type of actions and excitement that Dane Cook has, but they were funny while Dane is not. One example of an excited energetic FUNNY comedian is Lewis Black.

Now I've thought long and hard about what the problem is with Dane Cook's act, and I think I've figured it out. With other comedians the actions and the punchlines are in sync. With Dane Cook this is not the case. His actions are moving along at 100 miles per hour while his punchlines come at the rate of 20 miles per hour. (Yes, I know that you cannot actually measure the speed of actions and jokes in this manner. But intelligent people should be able to get the gist of what I'm saying). This discrepancy causes the jokes to be unfunny.

In conclusion, the sale of albums and large amount of people that purchase tickets for Dane Cook's shows is the main reason why he is, in fact, overrated. A comedian that is forced to use other people's jokes and pan them off as his own is not funny. It is an admission, if not to others then at the very least to himself, that he is incapable of writing his own material. And someone without this ability can never be considered funny.
radical258

Con

While I don't deny that a few of Cook's routines are less than completely original, that doesn't make him not funny. I have said repeatedly that whether someone is funny is strictly a matter of opinion, and nothing more; but yet again, I will have to combat technical arguments.

When I said "early in his career," I meant his career in major network entertainment, as opposed to small club performances. I apologize for my lack of clarity in that statement.

But, if, as you so cleverly stated, he has been doing standup since 1990, I'm pretty confident he's written at least a few routines alone.

By the way, I am a big Lewis Black fan. Good liberal.

You said that, "A comedian that is forced to use other people's jokes and pan them off as his own is not funny."
That is almost correct. You keep using the term funny as if it is a statement of fact. IT IS NOT. Funniness (I guess that would be that correct term) is a quality defined by the individual, not by the scientific method. For example, one might say a joke that is directed towards a particular ethnic group. Let's use the Judeo-Christian faith for example. A great comedian by the name of George Carlin (again, a good liberal) once did an entire routine about how he didn't think religion was rational and used this comment: "I don't pray... because I wouldn't presume on a friendship. People are praying trillions and trillions of times a day just for a a few new things a like a new car or a better job. And most of this praying takes place on Sunday: His day off." Now I, being an Atheist, found this joke incredibly funny. A priest or the Pope, for example, probably would not like it so much. Again, funniness is a quality defined by the individual.

Please tell me that you understand my point about opinion; because I'm not going to to lie. You are shattering me with the technical arguments. The opinion thing is basically all I've got here, but completely derails your "funny" arguments.

To basically sum it all up, what I really am trying to say is that the very idea about having a statistical debate about something that is purely centered around opinion is irrational and a waste of time. I realize I didn't really stress that point earlier but it had just occurred to me a few moments ago.
Debate Round No. 3
7 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 7 records.
Posted by GaryBacon 8 years ago
GaryBacon
Well both I'm always right and Rich Ruiz are entitled to their opinions. However, it would be nice if people voted by actually reading the debates rather than previous biases on the topic.
Posted by Im_always_right 8 years ago
Im_always_right
On my Ipod, Dane Cook is what I listen to most. Yes I listen to the same 40 jokes over and over, for about 6 months now, but I still find myself chuckling. In my opinion, Dane Cook is one of the best, along with Frank Calliendo.
If this was a debate about Lewis Black funny or not, something might change my mind. But, I guess I'll have to hang out in the CT'04, throwing jolly rancher watermelon treats in the back, stabbing anybody in the jaw that says sour apple.
Posted by Rich_Ruiz 8 years ago
Rich_Ruiz
well me being a stand up comedian myself . I can say that dane cook is a comedian that is hilarious its just who is some people are born funny they dont have to try and others have to or think they can be taught and thats is so wrong because you either have it or you dont!...his stuff is observational/ new age and being an improv comedian also it all together is him and thats hilarious... there alot of comedians that are not funny like andy kindler, louis ck , jon reep,joe rogan , ant , bill belhamy, stupidity is not comedy and these "comedians" are stupid they are not funny when they are not performing the only one have not met is louis ck ..
Posted by HCPwns95 9 years ago
HCPwns95
Depends on what type of comedy you like. Some people like him, some people don't. He has his own style. If you don't like it, don't listen to him.
Posted by Hypnodoc 9 years ago
Hypnodoc
I like the mention of Lenny Bruce.

I will say that Dane Cook is a Hack PERIOD END OF STORY

For the non comics a Hack is someone that steals material from others and passes it as their own. I have seen him pass off jokes by Lenny Bruce, as well as some early Carlin and a few others. Anyone that studies and enjoys comedy should pay homage to the person that writes and performs the material when it is new. Hacking is the most dispicable thing in comedy. That is why no comics like Dane Cook.
Posted by Yraelz 9 years ago
Yraelz
Hmmmm, I think he has a couple cool acts. Be interested to see how this turns out though.
Posted by Kleptin 9 years ago
Kleptin
It's true, Dane Cook is seriously overrated.
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Vote Placed by Off_the_Wall.Paul 5 years ago
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