22 May 2009

Comedy Review: Dane Cook- Isolated Incident


A-

No other comedian in the world has to endure as much love and hate as Dane Cook. The Boston born funnyman rose to prominence in 2003 with the solid debut album “Harmful if Swallowed”, a slice of audio comedy that established Cook’s brand of observational absurdity and earned him legions of fans. It by turns garnered him much hate and whilst further albums have molded to an equally decent standard , thanks to allegations of joke theft and some unimpressive film roles Cook continued to divide the masses like marmite. I personally really enjoy his crazed and energetic performances, his material is usually sharp and his physical skills as a comedian add to the appeal. Industry purists might feel that he’s overly dependent on Jim Carrey light Shtick, but that’s about to change with Cook’s latest efforts “Isolated Incident”. It’s an album still rife with the comic’s over the top edge but also in a slight departure from the norm, a more personal and political touch as well.

A lot of people have mounted attacks on Cook for performing to huge crowds in an attempt to cover up his patchy material, but with “Isolated Incident” Cook has formed the perfect rebuttal. Performing to no more than 400 people rather than the thousands he’s used to, Cook presents some of his funniest material yet and even shows a higher degree of improv and interaction skills. The delightful cherry bomb routines are still here, fuelled by vulgar and crazy punch lines, but this time he also takes a minutes at a time to draw comedic hilarity from both his and America’s trials and tribulations. “Isolated Incident” uses the tragic death of his parents and the plethora of hate that has emerged in the past two years to awesome effect, shoving potential laugh fodder at the listener like there won’t be a tomorrow. You can still sense the manic energy and riffing that has been both his ultimate weapon and kryptonite in the past, but mixed in with fresher material and a host of fresh and deeply hysterical gags.

The election of Obama is addressed early on and mixed in with a running joke to good effect, whilst other highlights include tracks named “Vernacular” and “Haters”. The CD is packing 27 tracks of numerous lengths and boasts little in the way of duds, “Role Play” slows things down a bit toward the end but in truth it’s a minor fault. Cook’s fans should eat the more personal performance up; “Isolated Incident” will only go on to widen his appeal. If one of his albums was to go fourth and convert a few haters this is the most likely candidate, Cook addressing several of the more logical complaints pitted against him in recent time. I’m not a comedy enthusiast but I am a fan, and whilst I’m not going to deny my liking for Cook, this is a funny album no matter which way you play it.

A DVD documentary is also included with the comedy CD.



A review by Daniel Kelly, 2009

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