The Louis C.K. / Dane Cook Summit

Filed Under Stand-Up Comedy

So this is almost nigh…

I’ve seen speculation that this meetup will address the joke stealing controversy, but I’m not so sure. Louie can be such an odd, surreal show that this moment could be about almost anything else. It could be at worst like the Letterman/Leno Super Bowl commercial… an opportunity for a good joke that neither comic can pass up. Louis C.K. has recently expressed mixed feelings about the accusations, so even doing the show is a little bit of an absolution for Cook.

I’ll be watching like all of you to find out.

Update: And I was completely wrong.

What’s really great about this episode is that it makes Dane Cook the aggrieved party – hardly what anyone expected. You’re put inside Cook’s mind as a person who knows his innocence and finds the stellar success he achieved in 2006 used, in part, to convict him. Both comics make great points here… C.K. asserting that Cook may have unconsciously absorbed his material in the constant need for fuel that a career like Cook’s requires. Cook pointing out that C.K. allowed him to be taken down without full-throatily making the accusations himself. (Whatever you say about Joe Rogan, he’s had the nerve to accuse Carlos Mencia publicly from the beginning, letting everyone know where he stands.)

Cook, near the end, points out how universal it is to have an itchy asshole. And Louis C.K.‘s brilliant joke that follows is wonderful. But C.K.‘s suggestion of how to avoid an itchy asshole is just as much an acknowledgement of how common an itchy asshole is in the human experience. A neat little way for C.K. to absolve Cook for at least one of the jokes, even if there’s no way either could entirely see eye to eye on the other two jokes.

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Posted by Raymond J Down Jr on 08/05  at  12:27 AM

I always found the ‘Naming Your Kids’ accusations to be the weakest of the three arguments.  Back in high school, long before Louis or Dane were known comics, I was always telling my friends about the weird names I could give my kids.

With a last name like ‘Down’ I joked about how a name like Mark Down would be perfect for a kid working in car sales or retail.  Or how they could not grow up to be cops, since they would be Officer Down.  I had a long list of inappropriate names.  So did my friends.  It is an old joke, dating back to… lord knows how long… vaudeville?  Earlier?

The ‘deliberate’ theft accusations always felt like a witch hunt, the guy is too popular, blah blah.  None of the ‘evidence’ seemed as solid as the Mencia / Cosby joke.

Posted by peez on 08/08  at  12:15 PM

I also always made jokes about how to name my kids long before i heard any standup about it.

Posted by Veracity on 08/16  at  03:32 PM

Louis C.K. is one sick bastard. Gotta love his dark humor, hard to watch but awesome nonetheless.

Posted by nfindlin on 08/29  at  06:05 PM

Louis C.K. is the best comic around…end of story. Though Dane Cook has become very popular after his last few live albums I fully believe he is a joke stealer. The naming joke is Louis’s. I don’t care how hard it is to stay at the top, you still need to do things the right way!

Posted by nwilson on 09/04  at  02:50 PM

Joke stealing is such an important issue in stand-up, but there’s a razor’s edge to walk here. 

On one side, you’ve got the interest of the creator/artist who had the wit and good fortune to put it out there first - and s/he should get recognition, if not compensation. 

On the other, you’ve got the dangers with copyright law that we see choking creativity in the music industry.  Do we want to have every joke enforceable by law?  Who will legally “own” (and get paid for) a joke, the author, the publisher, the club?  It’s a dangerous line to cross.

The impulse to police ourselves is a good compromise, but there’s a lot of gray area. 

Outright thievery should be swiftly dealt with (like Madsen/Oswalt), but IMHO, if it’s a common human situation (itchy asshole), or the joke is short and WAY too easy (Mencia’s border fence), let it go man.

Posted by Johnathan Niles on 10/19  at  11:13 AM

Cook sometimes makes me laugh like a madman, particularly his his crying to his Dad routine, but Louis CK has the most vivid views on normality.

Posted by Mario  on 10/20  at  04:32 PM

Freedom of speech… You can change a jokes premise, delivery or a few key words and make it your own. “Remix”. But if you blatantly steal, e.g., Mencia, just because you’re lazy or don’t care then that is not cool. If you lip sync a song and get caught you are banished and people loath you. (Milli Vanilli). Although unlike music, you must listen to the details of a joke for it to work. So hence, if you steal a joke verbatim then you might as well be lip syncing it.  It is something that must be self policed by the culture. Audiences are becoming more educated about comedy and sometimes will note that they have heard a similar joke somewhere else. Since the Rogan vs. Mencia incident the general comedy audience has been more attuned to joke stealing. I think it will work itself out, those who really care about comedy wouldn’t purposely steal a joke, just as most chess players don’t cheat at chess. The comedians who do dare to steal will be found out and they will most likely never make it either way. Mencia is the anomaly.

Posted by Welsh Comedian on 12/14  at  04:13 AM

Same as everyone else really, comedy starts at home sometimes you don’t even recognise it.

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