Before the New York Times reported on multiple sexual-misconduct allegations against Louis C.K. in 2017 that the comedian admitted were true, the biggest confirmed drama surrounding C.K. was between him and Dane Cook, who is featured in a new profile in The Hollywood Reporter today. Cook was accused of stealing C.K.’s jokes as early as 2007 — which he has denied multiple times, like during his 2010 interview with Marc Maron on WTF — and it all culminated in Cook’s appearance on a 2011 Louie episode where the two had an onscreen confrontation about it. “I think he knew that he could be more popular talking about why I shouldn’t be popular,” Cook told The Hollywood Reporter about the accusations. “It helped him, it really did. It was like he was on a press tour because of it.”
Cook went on to say that several reporters reached out to him in 2017 when the Times report on C.K. was published, but he decided not to comment at the time. “People were like, ‘What do you think about this guy?’ But I didn’t speak out,” he said. “All I can say is that nothing Louis did to me is anywhere near what happened between him and those women. Yeah, it sucked what happened to me, but I knew what I did and didn’t do.”
In a 2014 Splitsider interview, Cook explained the joke-stealing accusations more deeply. “The reason why there wasn’t any kind of closure before [C.K.] asked me to come on the show was that I knew — I put my head on my pillow at night and I knew that the realistic truth was that Louie and I both love Steve Martin, and Steve Martin had a bit on his album about naming his kid a crazy weird name. Over the years I’ve probably seen a handful of comics have a different variation of that, and then both Louie and I had our take on a concept, and that’s very different from what we’re talking about with plagiarism where it’s exact verbatim,” he said. “And I think as you’re seeing more and more people having these side-by-sides after what happened with Louie and I, I think people are realizing more and more that that’s just kind of the way of the world when it comes to entertainment. Every couple years there’s four more Dracula movies that come out and then like a year later three tornado movies; there’s a weird universal energy that gets people thinking in and around the same ideas. It doesn’t mean comics are taking from each other, it just means we’re all present and talking about the things we see around us right now.”
The Hollywood Reporter also notes that Cook “does twist the knife with a C.K./karma joke” in his current act, but for now you’ll have to catch him on his Tell It Like It Is tour to hear it.