Dane Cook gets the hook at Yuk Yuk's (The Province)

Dane Cook gets the hook at Yuk Yuk's

Cut Short: Night's headliner, chain's CEO split over whether it was right call

The Province, July 25, 2006

One of, if not the, hottest names in show business right now is Dane Cook.

The 34-year-old standup comic was named one of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in 2006, he sells out stadiums in the U.S. and is one of the few standups to have hosted Saturday Night Live without a series or movie to promote.

But all comics are created equal, it would see, to the Vancouver Yuk Yuk’s.

In town for six weeks filming a movie with Jessica Alba, Cook requested a guest spot at the Burrard St. comedy club on Saturday night.

Originally scheduled to go on for 45 minutes following an abbreviated set by scheduled headliner Peter Kelamis, Cook showed up and requested to go on early, before Kelamis. The club agreed, on condition that he shorten his set to 20 to 30 minutes.

After 33 minutes, and approximately five minutes of the warning light flashing him to wind up his act, Cook wasn’t appearing to slow down, so the club blared music from the speakers and cut his microphone in an effort to get him off the stage.

This action rarely happens, even on amateur nights.

Stunned, Cook appeared like he wasn’t sure if there was a technical glitch and, when the music stopped and his mic came back on, he continued his set. Five minutes later, the scene repeated itself. This time, Cook stuck his head behind the curtain, then turned back around to the audience, dropped the mic to the floor and walked off the stage.

The show then ended prematurely shortly after midnight and scheduled headliner Peter Kelamis, one of the top comics in the country but with nowhere near the star power of Cook, wasn’t able to perform.

Says Kelamis, “It was the most arrogant thing that I’ve ever seen in my life. Hands down. He knew a headliner was coming on after him… and he couldn’t have cared less about it. And throwing the mic down at the end was probably one of the most childish-looking things I’ve ever seen a performer do.

“In 18 years of comedy and my lifetime of witnessing comedy I’ve never seen a headliner get bumped time-wise from a show due to somebody doing what he did.”

Messages left with the local Yuk Yuk’s manager were not returned, but the comedy chain’s founder and CEO, Mark Breslin, sided with Cook.

“The tradition is stardom trumps everything,” said Breslin on the phone from his home in Toronto. “It’s the novelty factor and the fact that how often are these people even around? It’s too bad when somebody’s expecting to go on but you’ve got to be a big boy and suck it up.”

Breslin, who isn’t involved with the day-to-day running of individual clubs but still has his hand in booking the shows and oversees the local licencees (or franchises), sees no reason why the evening couldn’t have gone late since it was the last show of the night. When asked about the liquor laws, he replied that they still could have stayed until 2 a.m.

Breslin says he was doing damage control in Los Angeles all day Sunday with Cook’s manager.

“I’m on Dane’s side totally, 100 per cent,” said Breslin. “My guy screwed up. Period.

“I’m going to be spending a lot of time trying to mend this fence, both with Dane and with his manager…. Dane’s probably going to get the biggest fruit basket I can find.”

Cook’s publicity office said he was “unavailable for comment” yesterday. It’s safe to say, though, he hasn’t received that kind of treatment in a long time, if ever. Nor, it must be said, has Kelamis.