Originally Posted by Darth Kenshin
I don't think anything is necessarily off limits in comedy, but Cook (not that I'm too familiar with his work) never seemed the type for offensive humor. I thought he was just... I don't know. Weird?
I don't know how relevant time is. Chris Rock's Bigger and Blacker special aired on HBO on July 10, 1999. I'm not sure when it was actually taped, but clearly, it was less than 4 months after Columbine. And the bit he did on Columbine was HILARIOUS.
Then again, maybe I'm just ok with it because it was actually funny. "What ever happened to crazy?"
I kind of think that the difference with Rock's bit and Cook's bit is that Rock just says things that are funny. It's a lot like most of the best comedians, with some exceptions in their acts. They talk and what they say is funny. The difference with Cook and this joke, is that he sets it up like a joke. How he talked about the shooting to lead in to a punchline was the equivalent of saying something like "A Pollock and a Jew walk into a bar." You know, so people were groaning before he ever got to the punchline. Had he just slipped the whole thing in there in a line, people would have groaned, but there wouldn't have been the whole preconceived, "Ah shit, here we go" going into it.
Rock's bit (2 months after Columbine), he starts being funny before he makes the reference to the tragedy. And I think that's the big difference. He is saying a lot of things surrounding the tragedy, and it's all funny. Rock was actually talking about "kids today" and using Columbine as his example. Whereas Cook could have done a bit on Dark Knight Rises and then made the same "shoot me" joke, and it probably would have worked AND come off a lot better. Instead, Cook is talking about the shooting, and then uses it as a punchline for what is essentially a joke about The Dark Knight Rises.
If Cook had stolen Rock's joke, it might have been like, Yeah there was that shooting in Columbine. All those kids got shot. Wow, then they shot themselves. Kids are crazy today. If I get on an elevator with kids, I'm going to be like "watch out!"