If Dane Cook’s description of himself proves true — he doesn’t drink, doesn’t do drugs and prefers hanging out at home over club hopping — he won’t be going to the slammer any time soon like other young Hollywood stars did this summer.
The comedian, whose movie “Good Luck Chuck” debuts Friday, has soared to fame in recent years as a subversive voice of a young generation. He is steeped in the ways of the Web and wary of Hollywood’s here today, gone-to-jail tomorrow stardom.
“I can be very introverted and very shy. I never felt like I needed to be the guy at the party who had to stand on a table and get attention,” Cook told Reuters.
At 35, he is not even that young in a business that worships youth. “I’m a 17-year veteran of stand-up. I wanted everything at 25, and now I thank God it didn’t happen so fast,” he said.
The Massachusetts native only seems young due to his exuberance, spiky hair, preferred dress of jeans and T-shirt, and recent arrival in the halls of Hollywood fame.
He began his stand-up routine, which can be simultaneously dark, violent and culturally insightful, in the early 1990s. He paid his dues in clubs. In films, he took roles such as the “fair cop” in the not-so memorable 1997 film, “Buddy.”
But in the late 1990s, Cook began posting routines online and built a huge following among college-aged kids. His MySpace page boasts over 2.1 million “friends,” and then there is the SU-FI — his defiant, middle-finger gesture doubled into a “superfinger” — which has made its way into pop culture.
On the riseSeeing a rising star, HBO backed a television series, “Tourgasm,” documenting Cook’s and three other comics’ 2005 tour, and Lionsgate signed Cook to star opposite Jessica Simpson in the 2006 comedy, “Employee of the Month.”
Cook reckons “Good Luck Chuck,” also released by Lionsgate, caters to his fans’ desire for rude, sexual humor delivered in a rather innocent story.
In the movie, the ex-girlfriends of Charlie Logan (Cook) always marry the man they date after him. When word gets out, women swarm to Logan only to dump him quickly.
When Logan falls for a penguin specialist (Jessica Alba) at a local zoo, he does not want to date her because he does not want to break up and then lose her forever to her next man.
“Good Luck Chuck” is no award-winning film, and neither was “Employee of the Month.” The latter was panned by critics and took in only $28 million at U.S. and Canadian box offices, but for a movie costing $12 million, it likely turned a profit.
Moreover, it sparked talk of a romantic link to Simpson, which only boosted Cook’s celebrity.
Cook shrugs off fame and says he achieved his goal when he performed his HBO show live to a sold-out, hometown crowd.
“I did everything I promised my family. It’s been lucrative. I’ve been smart with my time and my money,” he said. “I don’t feel like I have a lot of pressure to be No. 1.”
But Cook is reaching for new heights, moving from ribald comedy to dramatic acting, as in the recent serial killer film “Mr. Brooks.” In late October, he opens opposite Steve Carell in a movie mixing comedy and drama, “Dan in Real Life.”
“I’d like to be a person who can entertain you in many different ways,” he said.