“I never wanted to be pigeonholed as one style of comedy. I want to be the kind of person you have a random back-and-forth with at a party. So that if you go to my show, I could take irreverent, I could take subtle, I could take slapstick - pretty much anything I could think of that would be entertaining - and my audience would be with me.” Dane Cook
American stand-up comedian and film actor Dane Cook first impressed TV audiences with his performance on Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend” in 1998. It was not until he was given a solo shot on “Comedy Central Presents: Dane Cook” in 2000 that the Boston native hit the big time. Entering the stand-up circuit in 1990, Cook has since amassed an avid fan base, proved by his consistently sold out acts at venues like Carnegie Hall, Continental Airlines Arena and The Theatre at Madison Square Garden. He has released four comedy albums. The second album, “Retaliation,” (2005) became the most booming comedy album debut in 28 years and went double platinum.
As an actor, Cook is known for starring in the movies “Employee of the Month” (2006, with Jessica Simpson), “Good Luck Chuck” (2007, with Jessica Alba) and “Dan in Real Life” (2007, as the brother of Steve Carell). He also appeared in “Mystery Men” (1999), “Torque” (2004), “Waiting…” (2005) and the Kevin Costner vehicle “Mr. Brooks” (2007). Cook won a Pixie Award for his role in the short “Spiral” (1999), which he also wrote and produced.
The recipient of ShoWest Convention's Breakout Performance of the Year (2007) recently could be seen in “My Best Friend's Girl” (2008), opposite Jason Biggs and Kate Hudson. He also served as producer.
Cook is romantically involved with Raquel Houghton, the lead singer of Valli Girls. Together since 2004, the couple currently lives together in Los Angeles.
Al and the Monkeys
Childhood and Family:
The son of George Cook, a former radio personality, and Donna Cook, a homemaker, Dane Jeffrey Cook was born on March 18, 1972, in Boston, Massachusetts. He was raised in Arlington, Massachusetts, in an Irish Catholic household. The second youngest of seven children, Dane has one older brother, four older sisters and a younger sister.
In Arlington, introverted Dane attended Arlington High School. In order to overcome his shyness, he entered drama classes and got the leading role in the school production of “Grease.” Before long, he discovered his true love, improvisation and sketch comedy. Dane, who used to perform stand-up for his family as a child, would spend his free time enjoying every comedy special and stand-up album he could get his hands on, among them the humorous works of such icons as Bill Cosby, George Carlin, Eddie Murphy, Jerry Lewis and Richard Pryor. At the time, the active teen supported himself by working at Burger King, where his father was a manager.
Dane completed high school in 1990. He then embarked on his professional career as a comedian with Al and the Monkeys.
Good Luck Chuck
Nicknamed The Enunciator or DC, Dane Cook was inspired to pursue a career in comedy as a 7th grader after watching Martin Short playing Ed Grimley in an episode of “Saturday Night Live.” The fan of Bill Cosby, Robin Williams, Bob Newhart and Johnny Carson, among other comic stars, launched his career in 1990 after graduating from high school by joining Al and the Monkeys, a three-man improve troupe whose members also included Robert Kelly and Al Del Bene. They performed together for four years before splitting up.
A regular performer at local clubs in Massachusetts, Cook left his hometown to try his luck in New York and finally settling in Los Angeles. During those struggling years, the attractive comedian assumed small roles in television shows like playing Kyle in five episodes of the short-lived ABC series “Maybe This Time” (1995-1996) and Elliott in one episode of the Brooke Shields’ vehicle “Suddenly Susan” (1998). He also appeared in such films as Klaus Hoch's thriller “Flypaper” (1997, with Lucy Liu) and Caroline Thompson's “Buddy” (1997, starred Rene Russo and Alan Cumming).
Cook's huge comedy break arrived in 1998 when he landed a spot on “Comedy Central’s 'Premium Blend',” which led to the long-running partnership between Cook and Comedy Central. He then performed in Comedy Central's “Comics Come Home” in 1999 and eventually headlined “Comedy Central Presents: Dane Cook” in 2000. The episode became the highest rated show on the cable channel hit and went on to run years later. Additionally, it served as an introduction to Cooks' hallmark move, the “Super Finger.”
With his newfound fame, Cook received a small role in the Kinka Usher-helmed “Mystery Men” (1999), opposite such luminaries as Ben Stiller, William H. Macy, Hank Azaria, Geoffrey Rush and Greg Kinnear, and a costarring role opposite Dennis Rodman in the indie-action “Simon Sez” (1999). He also released the short film “Spiral,” which he produced, wrote and starred in.
Cook next starred as Terrell Chasman in “L.A.X.” (2002), opposite Steven Martini and Sticky Fingaz, supported Michelle Yeoh and Ben Chaplin in the Peter Pau action “The Touch” (2002) and appeared as Blotto Pugilistum in the comedy series “The Man Show” (also 2002), hosted by Adam Carolla and Jimmy Kimmel. It was also in 2002 that the good-natured performer launched his website.
2003 saw Cook appear in the made-for-TV movie “Windy City Heat,” playing Roman Polanski, and the Farrelly brothers comedy “Stuck on You,” starring Matt Damon and Greg Kinnear. He made his directorial debut with the 20-minute-short “8 Guys” (also 2003), which he also wrote, but it was his first comedy album, “Harmful If Swallowed,” which was released on July 22, 2003, that brought him back to the limelight. The album rose to No. 67 in the U.S. and sold over one million copies.
Cook's popularity continued to grow thanks to his supporting roles in such movies as “Torque” (2004, starred Martin Henderson and Ice Cube), the Rob McKittrick comedy “Waiting...” (2005, opposite Ryan Reynolds, Anna Faris and Justin Long), the Chris Evans/Jessica Biel romance “London” (2005), as well as his hosting gig on the popular “Saturday Night Live” in December of 2005. His sophomore album, “Retaliation,” also brought the multi-talented Cook a number of recognitions. Released on July 26, 2005, by Comedy Central, the album debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, which became the highest charting comedy album after Steve Martin's “A Wild and Crazy Guy” in 1978, and went gold within six days of its release. As of April 2008, “Retaliation” has been certified double-platinum.
Still in 2005, Cook joined three other comedians, Jay Davis, Gary Gulman and Robert Kelly, to perform in a nationwide comedy tour of twenty shows in thirty days. The tour was documented and broadcasted weekly as a documentary series on HBO. Debuting on May 6, 2006, “Tourgasm” gave Cook the opportunity to direct episodes and serve as executive producer in addition to being a performer. His first HBO Special, “Dane Cook: Vicious Circle,” premiered on September 4, 2006. Cook also served as writer and executive producer.
Returning to the big screen, Cook took on the starring role, opposite Jessica Simpson, in the comedy “Employee of the Month” (2006). The following year, he costarred with Kevin Costner and Demi Moore in the mystery “Mr. Brooks,” directed and written by Bruce A. Evans, starred as Charlie Logan in the comedy “Good Luck Chuck,” from which he netted a Razzie nomination for Worst Screen Couple, shared with costars like Jessica Alba, Hayden Christensen and Ioan Gruffudd, and was cast as Mitch Burns in the Peter Hedges-helmed “Dan in Real Life,” opposite Steve Carell and Juliette Binoche. With three significant roles under his belt, Cook was handed the 2007 ShoWest Convention Breakout Performance of the Year Award. He also won a 2007 Teen Choice for Choice Comedian.
Cook's third album, “Rough Around The Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden,” was released on November 13, 2007. It debuted at No. 11 and sold about 90,000 pieces in the first week of release.
Recently, Cook starred with Kate Hudson, Alec Baldwin and Jason Biggs in “My Best Friend's Girl” (2008), playing the air purifier call-center supervisor Tank Turner. The comedy/romance debuted at No. 3 at the box office and grossed $8.2 million.
ShoWest Convention: Breakout Performance of the Year, 2007
Teen Choice: Choice Comedian, 2007
Pixie: Best Actor in a Feature Film, “Spiral,” 2000