Review: Dane Cook’s ISolated INcident

bill bodkin shows his love for the comedian’s new dvd …

I’ve been a Dane Cook fan for about four years . Ever since my boss’ wife let me borrow his early albums, I have grown to love the hyperactive hyperbole that this Boston-based comedian throws out on stage with swagger, gusto and Energizer Bunny-like stamina. His material is made up of stuff I can relate to, and despite his rock star persona, he seems like a guy you can hang out with. And in terms of comedy, I love that. It doesn’t matter if it’s experimental comedy from Zach Galifianakis, the dark yet dorky comedy of Patton Oswalt or the simply absurd and quirky humor of Jim Gaffigan — if I feel like their material is speaking to me, I love it.

However, most of my friends, whom I share comedic sensibilities with, do not find him funny and for good reason — most of them are staunchly entrenched in the world of alternative comedy, an arena Dane Cook is not regarded highly in. Their major criticism is that Cook’s style of telling jokes — fantastical storytelling — is deemed as “not funny in the least.” When I try and say, “Well, that’s how I tell jokes,” I’m met with disapproving silence … wah wah waaaaaah. They also find his subject matter to boring and “only catering to drunk frat boys.” And after seeing him at Madison Square Garden in New York two years ago, I can say the majority of the crowd were inebriated frat boys and their overly made-up girlfriends. Their gripes are legit — they do not connect with what jokes he’s telling.

But this blog is not about whether Dane Cook is funny or not — it’s my recommendation to you, that whether you are fan of Dane Cook’s or not, you should really check out his new DVD, Dane Cook: ISolated INcident.

The Black Album: Dane Cook opens up to the world on his latest release

It’s is extremely interesting. This is not your typical “SuFi,” “Dane Train” style of Dane Cook comedy special, filmed in a mega-stadium. This is a stripped-down, almost “unplugged” stand-up special with Cook performing in front of an intimate crowd in Hollywood.

The stripped-down feel is in full-force throughout the set. Gone for the most part are fantastical observations about parking decks or exaggerated versions of relationships. In their place are real-life tales of the loss of both his parents to cancer, insanely intense hate mail, painful relationships and dealing with being “Dane Cook.”

While the set still is rife with knee-slapping jokes and lascivious humor, the brutal honesty that Cook brings to this set is remarkable.

You are literally watching a turning point in his career- for better or for worse.

I can see a lot of Cook followers being turned off by this DVD. It’s not typical Dane humor. For me, I’m impressed that Cook “went there.” He really took all his pain and emotion and laid it out in a humorous way. Some might see this as a petulant and ego-driven catharsis, but I see this as maturation. This guy can easily pump out five more albums of the material that’s made him famous. He can tell “the greatest hits” jokes that the crowd at the Garden chanted for during his set two years ago. But he didn’t. He went with honesty and he went with stuff he’s been dealing with. He finally has shown us without the hype, without the hoopla, who Dane Cook the artist really is or at least what he has to offer us.

If you’re interested in seeing what he’s become, rent Dane Cook’s new special and keep an open mind. You may just become a fan.

Bill Bodkin is the gray bearded owner, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Pop Break. Most importantly, he is lucky husband, and proud father to a beautiful daughter named Sophie. He can be seen regularly on the site reviewing The Walking Dead, Doctor Who, and is the host of the site's podcast, The BreakCast. He is a graduate of Rutgers University with a degree in Journalism & English. Follow him on Twitter: @BodkinWrites