In an attempt to keep this site from becoming Snopes for joke stealing, I recently ignored a little allegation that Dane Cook was performing an abortion joke from Doug Stanhope’s act. Stanhope himself shared the claim in a MySpace blog post. A fan by the name of Jenny told Doug:
“I went to a show at the Melrose Improv last night, and this surprise guest comic gets onstage and starts doing this long bit about how he had to take this girl to get an abortion and how ridiculous the experience was, and then started talking about going to Heaven, and how he’d be so happy to see his grandma in Heaven, but when he got to Heaven, there was this little pissed off guy giving him shit and it was his abortion, furious at him.
And the comic was fucking Dane Cook.”
Anybody can type up an email and say they saw this comic performing some other comic’s bit. No credibility here. And Stanhope doesn’t really give it much credit either, judging for his response:
Good work, Dane.
I’m glad someone remembers how my bits go.
There’s nothing indignant about it. He uses it as a setup for a joke about his own performing style. He’s completely flippant.
But folks who really hate Dane love any more evidence they can find that he is the thief. Even the most tenuous of accusations get treated as gospel. Nevermind that joking about taking a girl to get an abortion is completely outside the wheelhouse of Dane Cook’s comedy. The same comedy that a lot of these detractors would define as frat-friendly or toothless. You can’t have it both ways.
I didn’t want to bother with this until I saw a comment on one of my previous joke stealing posts that stated this as a fact. It’s not a fact. It’s just words someone put on the Internet.
Need more proof that these arguments are getting to be bullshit?
Listen to Doug Stanhope from his “Just For Spite” show from earlier this year in Montreal. My good friend Julie Seabaugh happened to tape the show. Doug went off on an extended riff about why these arguments have gotten dumb (at one point mentioning that just because someone else does a joke about abortion, doesn’t mean they’re stealing). Then in a more self-damming way, replies to an audience member query about why Dane Cook sucks.
(Note: God damn, that’s a good Dave Attell impression)
Update: A reliable source at that Melrose Improv show tells me that Dane Cook did perform a joke around abortion. A recent “Danecast” does mention that he’s got a new approach - working out material coming from “dark times” and “personal, family issues.” And there’s a little gossip out there (I don’t link to that stuff, but it’s easy to find if you type the right words into Google) to suggest that Cook’s personal experiences would make this joke fair game. If you lived it, it’s yours.