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dane cook

Dane Cook’s latest release, Rough Around the Edges: Live from Madison Square Garden, the follow up to his multi-platinum Retaliation, comes across as mixed bag of tricks that, in the end, disappoint. This isn’t to say you won’t laugh at any of the jokes on the disc, but there isn’t  that one joke, or one hook to make it an immediate celebratory album like Harmful If Swallowed and Retaliation. Where Harmful had the memorable BK Lounge and Video Horizons, and Retaliation had people defecating on outerwear, Rough‘s material never approaches that level.

Cook’s type of observational humor, akin to Denis Leary and George Carlin, is immediately accessible to just about anyone, sure the older generation may thing its vulgar and crash, but the these are the jokes of an everyman, someone you can relate to, which usually gives them a much bigger punch. Here, more often than not, you’ll have a smile on your face if not much else.

Memorable tracks include “15 Cents“; as the albums real stand out performance relating to the starving people in third world countries and the old white guys who attempt to get you to help. “Benson’s Animal Farm“; continues the tradition of early life memories and has the funniest build up and punch line, but is still predictable.

There’s complete throwaway tracks like “Copy Machine“; which makes light of how they made copies hundreds of years ago with a bunch of educated church employees. Then there’s the morbid “Regrets“; which just never approaches any level of funny.

War Flute“; gives a memorable mental aside of a flute and drum player during war time which basically boils down to what we’re all thinking anyway. “A Condom?“; relives every guy’s greatest fear about scoring the hottest chick at the bar, only to realize you might be missing something incredibly important. The rest of the tracks hold chuckles and laughs here or there, but nothing like the tear-inducing belly laughs we’ve come to expect after many of his previous work has entered into the American lexicon.

Dane Cook has been accused of a lot of things over the years, and whether you believe it or not, he’s still an admirable, funny comedian who has the ability to make the girls swoon and the guys laugh out loud. You can’t say that about just anyone. Still, for his third outing after two platinum discs and successful movies and DVDs you would have just expected more. The good thing with comedy is you’re never down, nor out, and the world is ripe with material, let’s just hope Dane finds some of that earlier magic and treats us to it once again.