I read an interview with David Cross in pitchfork.com today and he had some comments on Cook that I think are bang-on accurate:
I don't have any rivalry with Dane Cook. I've been on record as saying I don't think he's nearly as bad at stand-up as everybody says. He doesn't suck. What I find distasteful is his constant self-promotion, which just smacks of a wounded little kid, like: "Look at me! You guys think I'm funny, right? Hey, I've got a million Facebook friends! That makes me good, right?" That's what I don't like. And he steals material. He's just that guy right now. Ten years ago it was Carrot Top. Ten years before that it was Andrew Dice Clay. There'll always be a very successful comic who you're like, "Really guys?" But to say that he's not funny or a bad comic is disingenuous.Take a look at this era of Dane Cook and you can see what he had going for him. It would still be a few years before he really hit it with mainstream audiences, but you can see why he was popular.