Well, writing about this during this whole Rush Limbaugh–Sandra Fluke kerfuffle is interesting, and here is why: It’s been reported that as part of his deal with NBC, comedian Dane Cook will star as a “brash alpha male DJ” at a radio station who finds himself in a wacky odd-couple pairing with a new feminist co-host, who will be played by Collette Wolfe. And considering how Cook has been tackling delicate issues of sexuality as of late, this … might be … interesting. Okay, it’s going to be scary. Let’s talk about how scary this is going to be.
I’ll be honest: I am a fan of Dane Cook. I think he is going through, well, a “rough phase” in his career right now, not really finding a good way to start his movie career, doing really nasty-sounding material during his standup that was probably just meant to “push the envelope,” but instead came off as really, really disgusting and sexist. I can’t say I’m a fan of that. It makes me really sad, actually. I met Cook at a standup show once, and he was cool. It wasn’t a long conversation, certainly couldn’t gauge the guy’s real personality in that time, but he was excellent to his fans and definitely not overtly sexist.
And yes, there is an obvious “bro” slant to Cook’s comedy, and I won’t sit here and deny that. And true, he has come under fire for allegedly stealing jokes from other comedians. He also has a generally horrible reputation among comedians. So, okay, there are definitely some issues with Cook as a comedian, possibly as a person. But I’m sorry — I cannot listen to “F*ck Bees” while driving. I still laugh way too hard to be responsible, to this day.
That said, how is a female fan of Dane Cook supposed to react to news that he is going to play someone who will “have a problem” with his new feminist co-host? No really, here is a character description for the guy he’ll be playing on the show, entitled Next Caller Please: “Cam, the disheveled, unshaven, hung-over and purposely detached magnetic grouch who doesn’t like that his co-host is a woman.” Many will now say, “Oh — so, he’s playing Dane Cook.” As far as a premise goes, it’s a device used pretty often: the odd-couple pairing. “Will they ever get along??” and then hilarity ensues! And, if they are of the opposite sex, they fall in love. And having a Howard Stern-like personality facing off with a Rachel Maddow-like personality might be interesting to watch — if it’s done right.
Here’s what I think: I don’t think Dane Cook is actually the douchebag he is onstage. I think he’s trying to be edgy and make waves, and he fails, crossing the line into “I just don’t want to hear that, it’s gross, eww, seriously, please stop now” territory. Example, from the aforementioned standup show, and watch out, it’s gnarly: “‘chainsaw-f*cked’ a ‘disgusting whore’s c*nt.’” I honestly didn’t even know what to put an asterisk on, because it was all pretty gross. So, he went off the rails at that show. It was not the first time. It was definitely not the first time an established standup comedian ever went off the rails. But this is a scripted sitcom for NBC. On one hand, it means Cook can’t veer too far from the script without seriously reigning it in. Even if his character is a chauvinist, how far will he really be able to go on network TV? And would his character even be able to get away with it and go unanswered by his feminist co-host? It might be exactly what Cook needs to redeem his bad, bad reputation.
On the other hand, this could be a seriously obnoxious, infuriating show (see Work It), badly written from the start, and even worse — Dane Cook is in it. Unless NBC gets some seriously genius writers on this, it’s going to be a disaster, especially if they give Cook too much input. Because here’s what he’s good at: storytelling, silliness, using the space while performing onstage. Here’s where he’s questionable: acting, talking about sex for too long (because of the territory he eventually enters), and, apparently, working well with others.
Oh my god, this might have been a horrible idea after all. Unless, like I said: genius, amazing writers. Can they get Aaron Sorkin, Tina Fey, and Paula Pell on this? Maybe Donald Glover, who used to write for 30 Rock? Because that’s the only way this will end up acceptable.
Maybe the pilot won’t even be picked up. Let’s start praying immediately that whatever will be best for the world will occur.
(via The Hollywood Reporter)