It’s a story we’ve heard rumblings off for the last few days. That story is that Dane Cook has been permanently banned from The Laugh Factory in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Cook has been a constant at the club for a long time, performing there and drawing crowds during the club’s lean years and remaining a fixture ever since. Basically helping keep things afloat during the lean years. Because of this, he had a special relationship with the club and its owner Jamie Masada. The club repaid Cook with plenty of time on stage and what seemed like permanent promo on the club’s exterior amongst other perks. In many ways, it was the house that Dane Cook built, well at least for the last decade or so.
When a comedian achieves a certain level of status, they’re often able to show up to clubs and get stage time whenever they want. Bumping other, lesser status comedians on the lineup back a few minutes, sometimes even longer. It’s a practice the comedy community has embraced forever, and for the most part just a part of the way things work. While it’s a courtesy for clubs to offer this to comedians, it can be abused. Therein seems to be were Dane Cook’s problems began.
According to many anecdotes over the years, Dane began to abuse his bumping power and became fairly common for Cook to bump comics at his home club on a regular basis, often taking significant chunks of stage time away from other comics with long stretches on the stage. He even set a few records for longest stand-up sets at the club a few years back. All of that seemed to have come to a head lately with this most recent incident.
Admittedly, the details of the story are fuzzy so let’s walk through what we’ve heard.
– The Laugh Factory was hosting a show.
– Said show might’ve been a benefit and featured other high profile comedians (see how this story is already getting fuzzy?)
– Managers of The Laugh Factory informed Cook in advance that he should not stop by the club because they would not be able to accommodate him that night – or – Dane dropped in not knowing there was special event going on. (And we’re in the weeds.)
– Dane took to the stage and began to run long
– Management gave him the light (a practice not common with bumping).
– Dane became furious and had a tantrum on stage.
– Said tantrum moved to off stage with the management, or it was a waitress.
– Dane became vulgar with the manager/waitress and owner Masada stepped in.
– The argument with Masada became more intense. With Cook loudly shouting “I own this place.” Which some thought was a literal interpretation.
– Madasda then banned Cook from the club for 1 week, 1 month, 6 months, permanently. (Facts are important).
– Dane’s face is no longer sprawled across the side of The Laugh Factory.
– Dane’s been appearing more often at other clubs in LA since the incident.
And those are the basics of the story. As we’ve stated, there is a lot of hearsay to this. Also not present is social evidence. If things got as heated as reported, somewhere, someone present would’ve put out something into the social sphere by now. If not Laugh Factory staff, what about audience members? But a quick search of social media shows that until yesterday, there’s no mention of this on Twitter. With all current buzz the EW reported on an anonymous source yet this story has been swirling amongst the comedians and podcasts for at least a week.
That is what we currently know, and frankly we might not be any closer to an actual answer. None of the camps involved seem to be talking.