How Dane Cook Can Salvage His Career
By Kipp Tribble Posted Dec 24th 2009 04:00PM
Once a budding superstar and MySpace mega-sensation, Dane Cook seemed poised to be the guy who could do it all: rock the comedy stage, action movies, nail some drama, and of course, make us laugh. We liked him way back when he was The Waffler in the underseen 'Mystery Men' and have followed his comedy ever since. He has earned many comedy comparisons, but still has an originality all his own that had Hollywood -- and us -- ready to embrace Hurricane Dane. Then somehow, someway, the Court Jester of Comedy derailed. We certainly don't take pleasure in it, because we love us some Dane Cook. We just want to see him get back on track and are here to help.
Just Say No
We know it must be tempting to say yes to everything that comes your way when you break through. It's called Ben Affleck Syndrome and it's understandable after years of struggling to 'make it'. Regardless, many of Dane Cook's starring vehicles have made us cringe -- 'Good Luck Chuck', 'My Best Friend's Girl', 'Employee of the Month' -- not necessarily because of him, but from the ridiculous scripts, directing, supporting casts, etc., etc., etc. We want Cook to start turning some of this garbage down, because there has to be better scripts out there for him. We hope that the aforementioned Crap-tilogy is out of his system and he is now being more particular in his choices.
Be the Second Fiddle
Our favorite Dane stuff is when he plays the second or third banana. 'Mr. Brooks' saw him expose dimensions we'd never seen before. Freed from having to carry a film (and armed with a smart script), Cook was able to step it up a notch and perform at a level we knew he could. The same thing happened again when he joined the ensemble of 'Dan in Real Life'. While most of the focus was on Steve Carell, the film still showcased a solid performance by Dane. He was hilarious in 'Waiting' and the aforementioned 'Mystery Men'. Seeking more supporting or ensemble roles would keep him on the right career path and luckily, his next film, 'Answers to Nothing', seems to be...well, the answer. It's an ensemble drama in the mold of the Oscar-winning 'Crash'. According to imdb.com, Dane is listed at the top of the cast, but it is definitely being hyped as a group effort.
Keep Taking the Stage
Dane is electric on stage. He made a name for himself on the college circuit and with his reality concert series 'Tourgasm', but his fans aren't just the youngsters. They range from young to old. Many comedians that start getting role after role stop taking to the stage -- or at least the performances are few and far between. Guys like Michael Keaton, Steve Martin, Robin Williams, and Adam Sandler are almost strangers to the stage compared to their early days. Cook needs to take a page from Eddie Izzard and Sarah Silverman and at least bring his comedy to a live audience once or twice a year. It'll keep him grounded, fresh, and we get to see the real Dane. It's that audience who made him anyway, right?
Think Like Jim Carrey
Jim Carrey hasn't grabbed the acclaim he richly deserves, but it's not for a lack of trying. It was a mere 2 1/2 years after he broke through with 'Ace Ventura' before he tackled 'The Cable Guy' and soon went on to 'The Truman Show' and 'Man on the Moon''. As a synergetic transition, Dane Cook recently commented about playing The Riddler in Christopher Nolan's next Batman film -- like Carrey did in 1995 for the Joel Schumacher-directed 'Batman Forever'. Dane Cook may not be the rubber-faced physical comedian that Jim Carrey is, but he has a similar quirky appeal. Carrey has been able to build his career by cashing in on that quirkiness and Dane's rise shares that.
Date a Hottie Celeb
Okay, call it a cliche, but hooking up with someone who happens to be in the spotlight, too, will double your chances of keeping your buzz abuzzing. It's safer than getting arrested for some late night shenanegins. Even K-Fed was able to score an acting part or two and a record deal by hotching his wagon to the Britney train. We're certainly not saying that dating a celebrity/model/actress/singer/personality is the recipe for a meaningful and long-lasting relationship, but we are saying it could give Mr. Cook's career a shot of adrenaline. These days, y"ou are only as good as your last film" could very well be interpreted, "you are only as good as the person you are dating."
Start Producing More TV
This new invention called television seems to be catching on. We loved Dane Cook's series, 'Tourgasm', which he was also the executive producer. Other stars have built clout in the industry by having their minions produce shows and then slap their name on it. Dane should take note. It may not keep him front-and-center, but it keeps him in the minds of the industry, and therefore, relevant. Sandra Bullock did it with 'The George Lopez Show' and Mark Wahlberg has been behind 'Entourage' from the beginning and now has 'In Treatment'. If Cook started putting his name on a slew of shows, it will put him in a better position to control his career and subsequently, or emoney in his pocket.
Work Out With Ryan Reynolds
Anyone remember the Ryan Reynolds of old? We're talking the guy from 'Two Guys, a Gril, and a Pizza Place' and 'Dick'. Gangily and doughy combined. He somehow managed tobe skinny and have a belly on him at the same time. He made us laugh, sure, but he found a whole different side to his career when he started pumping iron. ' Blade Trinity', 'Amityville', and the 'X Men' stuff would have never happened had Reynolds just remained another slightly out-of-shape funny guy. Dane Cook has certainly always been in decent shape and got uber-lean for 'Good Luck Chuck', but we're thinking packing on a couple pounds of muscle and maintaining the leanness will open him up for several more roles he may not be on the list for right now -- and we're not talking a smallish role in 'Torque'. Side note: Ryan and Dane were both in the movie 'Waiting together', so maybe that means Justin Long should also aim to become the next action star.
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