In the 2000s, Dane Cook was a sensation. He had Comedy Central and HBO specials, he hosted Saturday Night Live, he got movie roles, he recorded double-platinum comedy albums, he made $20 million per tour. He was "the most successful stand-up [comedian] on the planet." Then things started going wrong. Some accused Cook of not actually being funny. Louis CK accused him of stealing jokes (allegations he's always denied). His parents died within months of one another. His half-brother embezzled $18 million from him. He started working on his issues, going to therapy—but even then, he had headline-making missteps, like an ill-advised joke about the Dark Knight theater shooting. He had a brief comeback, going on tour in 2013 followed by a Showtime special and a couple movies, but he's been mostly unheard from for five years now. That's about to change, per the Hollywood Reporter.
Yes, Dane Cook is back. He's going on tour this year, with some dates nearly sold out, and he also has some things to say about those aforementioned troubles. As for CK, he's of course experienced some issues of his own since coming out against Cook: "Nothing Louis did to me is anywhere near what happened between him and those women," Cook tells THR. "Yeah, it sucked what happened to me, but I knew what I did and didn't do." As for why there was such backlash against him in general, THR spoke to others in the industry who suggest other comedians simply didn't understand why Cook was able to sell out venues like Madison Square Garden. "Dane's success was so huge people were jealous in droves," says Denis Leary. And then there was the fact that Cook was more savvy to the marketing tactics of his time than other comedians, figuring out how to leverage social media—in its earliest days—to his advantage. "Dane was a pioneer in using the internet," says one fellow comic. THR's full story has more. (More Dane Cook stories.)