Love him or hate him, Dane Cook is the biggest touring comedian around.
His rsum is filled with platinum comedy albums and sold-out arena tours. His new CD/DVD release Rough Around the Edges: Live From Madison Square Garden hit stores last month. This week, Cook will play two shows at the Wells Fargo Theatre in Denver. They'll both come on Dec. 8, but it's still quite the coup for area Cook fans. Denver's one of the few cities to be graced with more than one performance by the superstar comic on his current tour.
Yet despite Cook's mainstream success, and the obvious demand for his appearances, the Boston native has become the most divisive figure in stand-up comedy in decades. Whether it's his peers taking shots at him in the media or Saturday Night Live which he guest-hosted last year making fun of his recent Major League Baseball playoff commercials, the Cook haters are loud and proud.
"There is certainly some backlash, but I think some of that understandably just comes with success," Cook says over the phone from New York City. "But I will say, controversy, I find, is good for business. What it's really done is elevated me to a level where, like me or hate me, people are talking to me. I don't think they care about the superfluous lies and crap that ends up being out there."
"Out there" is where Cook has been over the past two years. Not only did his 2006 HBO reality series Tourgasm expose him to new audiences, but the performer has now officially jumped into an acting career that includes starring roles in the feature films Employee of the Month, Mr. Brooks, Good Luck Chuck and the current release Dan in Real Life. He also has upcoming roles in Horton Hears a Who! and Bachelor No. 2.
In fact, for a moment there, he seemed to be making the Robin Williams- and Steve Martin-jump from the comedy stage to the silver screen. However, Cook's stand-up gig is either too appealing or lucrative or both. So now he's back on tour.
"Although I was back-to-back in doing the films, and everybody was telling me I should take a break and take a rest, I could think of no more incentive than to get out there and share the success," Cook says. "I'm still a comedian/actor comedian first and all the new material has to get out there somewhere. So I figured, why not get out there and put on a huge rock 'n roll comedy show across the country?"
Fans will be interested to know that not only are there new jokes in his set he went into great over-the-phone detail about a new condom bit that was quintessential Cook but he's pulling out some of his greatest hits, including material from 2003's Harmful If Swallowed and 2005's Retaliation.
"People might get everything from "Not So Kool-Aid' and "Creepy Guy at Work' to "Let's Do This, I'm a Cashew,'" Cook says, referring to some of his more popular bits. "It's no-holds-barred at this point. I want to give the fans what they've been asking for."
Wells Fargo Theatre, 700 14th St., Denver
Saturday, Dec. 8, 7 p.m. and 10 p.m.
Tickets: $30-$100; visit ticketmaster.com.