Cook lat­est of raunchy comic crop to fly clean

Winnipeg Free Press - Section G - - ENTERTAINMENT - By Ran­dall King

IF you have ever seen Dane Cook in con­cert, you will un­der­stand there is a sub­stan­tial di­ver­gence be­tween the co­me­dian’s raunchy on-stage per­sona and a be­nign an­i­mated Dis­ney char­ac­ter named Dusty Crophop­per.

But if Cook’s vo­cal work as the star of the up­com­ing Cars spin-off Planes seems like a dis­con­nect, you would do well to re­mem­ber that ki­dori­ented cul­ture is filled with such prece­dents.

Ge­orge Car­lin, the man who gave us the clas­sic com­edy bit Seven Words You Can’t Say on Tele­vi­sion, played the minia­ture Mr. Con­duc­tor on the PBS kids show Shin­ing Time Sta­tion. Ed­die Mur­phy, an even raunchier stand-up comic, is still

Star­ring the voices of Dane Cook and Teri Hatcher

Open­ing Fri­day, Aug. 9 pri­mar­ily known to kids and teens as the voice of Don­key in the Shrek movies.

Look at the 1992 Dis­ney movie Aladdin, which fea­tured not one but two oft-of­fen­sive standup co­me­di­ans — Robin Wil­liams and Gil­bert Got­tfried — play­ing nice for the kid­dies.

Cook, 41, was es­pe­cially in­spired by Wil­liams when Dis­ney hon­cho John Las­seter sug­gested Cook’s vo­cal grit would be per­fect for the role of a hum­ble crop-duster who en­ters a cross-con­ti­nent race against an ar­ray of in­ter­na­tional rac­ing air­craft in Planes.

“Robin Wil­liams could have con­tent that was re­ally ir­rev­er­ent and out there, but he played the Ge­nie in Aladdin, which will be for­ever one of the per­for­mances that made me want to voice some­thing in an­i­ma­tion,” Cook says. “He had such great heart but at the same time, it was so wild and fan­tas­ti­cal and in­ter­est­ing.”

Cook says do­ing a voice in a Dis­ney movie is, in a way, a part of a ca­reer con­tin­uum that con­nects him to his con­sid­er­able fan base who have stuck with him in his 23-year ca­reer in com­edy.

“I had re­ceived an email some years ago from a fan (when) I had been talk­ing about some pretty tough things that had hap­pened to me on stage (af­ter) I had lost my par­ents to can­cer and I was start­ing to find ways to find hu­mour in this trau­matic sit­u­a­tion,” he says.

“Some­body wrote me an email four or five years ago that said: ‘I felt like you were talk­ing to me in high school, I felt like you were talk­ing to me in col­lege and I feel like you’re still talk­ing to me now.’

“And it was re­ally an epiphany mo­ment,” Cook says. “I re­al­ized I had grown up with a gen­er­a­tion of fans, and now that gen­er­a­tion has chil­dren. And so how can I still com­mu­ni­cate with my fans and give them some­thing that they can give to their kids?

“This is ex­actly, at this point in my life, what I was hop­ing to be a part of,” Cook says.

He could even bring a more ma­ture per­sonal per­spec­tive to a story about a crop-duster who de­fies naysay­ers and re­al­izes his dream of be­ing a racer. Cook says he is ac­cus­tomed to hear­ing from de­trac­tors about his lim­i­ta­tions.

“I don’t take those things as per­son­ally. I’m 41. I’m in Act 2 of my per­sonal and pro­fes­sional life,” he says.

“Some peo­ple don’t last very long in this in­dus­try so I feel very lucky to still be par­tic­i­pat­ing in things like this and have fans that still want to jour­ney with me.

“So I don’t fight it too much. If it comes to me, it was meant to be mine,” Cook says. “And if it doesn’t come to me, I’m not go­ing to be as an­gry that it’s not mine.”

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