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Dane Cook joke about theater shooting just isn't funny, some say

July 27, 2012|By Rene Lynch

Dane Cook is under fire Friday for joking about the Aurora, Colo., shooting less than one week after a gunman opened fire in a screening of "The Dark Knight Rises," killing 12 people and injuring 58.

It's the reaction to the comedian's joshing that's perhaps most noteworthy. The problem with Cook's joke doesn't appear to be that it's too soon to joke about the massacre. It will probably never be OK to joke about a massacre.

The joke just wasn't funny, according to online reaction to Cook's quip. 

It was dismissed by many as just one more unfunny joke by an unfunny comedian responsible for many unfunny movies. And that might be the most stinging reaction of all for a comedian.

Examples from Twitter:

"If you want to tell "offensive" or "shocking" jokes, at least make sure they're funny."

"If I wanted to hear a Dane Cook joke about movies, I'd look up how much money theater owners lost showing 'Employee of the Month.' "

Perhaps the lack of outrage is not surprising. Americans have been through the routine many times before: tragedy, followed by someone crossing a line in bad taste, followed by a swift punishment of said offender.

Case in point: Gilbert Gottfried joking about the Japanese earthquake and tsunami, a misstep that cost him a gig voicing the Aflac duck.

Cook made his comments Thursday night at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles, according to a video clip making the rounds. The video bleeps out the cuss words, but you can still make them out, so watch at your own discretion.

As part of his routine, Cook makes reference to the gunman, and then rails on the movie.

"Yeah, spoiler alert," Cook goes on to say. "And I know that if, you know, none of that had happened, I'm pretty sure that somebody in that theater, about 25 minutes in ... probably was like, 'Ah ... shoot me."

Audience response goes from groans, to laughter, hoots and claps.

Obviously not everyone is failing to laugh at Cook's comments.

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Join Rene Lynch on Google+ and Twitter. Email: rene.lynch@latimes.com

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