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Dane Cook: "I loved Jerry Lewis growing up"

Jerry Lewis footprint ceremony at Chinese Theatre April 2014
Jerry Lewis footprint ceremony at Chinese Theatre April 2014
debbie lynn elias

As the voice of Dusty Crophopper in Planes and now Planes: Fire & Rescue, Dane Cook fulfills the dreams of so many kids who, like himself, can’t contain their excitement on meeting or hearing the voice of their “hero” talking to them. On meeting his young fans, Cook speaks to them as Dusty and watches smiles spread across their little faces, a joy that he knows all too well. For Cook, who grew up listening “to comedy albums and then finally got to meet Bob Newhart and hear Bob Newhart’s voice talking to me”, the experience was unforgettable. But it’s Jerry Lewis who is at the top of Dane Cook’s list.

“I loved Jerry Lewis growing up. I just admired him and used to act out Jerry Lewis stuff. I had the opportunity to go to his documentary, Method to the Madness [of Jerry Lewis], a couple years back. He was there and at the end of the screening he went up to the podium to thank everybody for coming. I’m just sitting there with a buddy of mine and [Jerry Lewis] starts to talk. Then he stops himself and he goes [imitating a silly Jerry Lewis voice], ‘Where’s Dane Cook?’ And it freaked me out. I remember feeling like my heart locked up. And he said it again. ‘I’m looking for Dane Cook.’ His daughter, who is a fan of mine, had told him I was there. To hear my name to come out of Jerry Lewis . . .!”

Cook beams with both a child-like glee and humble respect, as he gets to say, “I’ve been friends with Mr. Jerry Lewis ever since. It’s been a wonderful couple of years getting to know him. . . . He can be kind of that thing about some comics where there’s a little bit of danger to them, a little bit of scary in there. How do you do what he did unless you’re crazy enough to believe you can?”

With an ever growing friendship, Cook has “made it a point to go to several of [Lewis’] performances in the area”, including the handprint and footprint ceremony at the TCL Chinese Theatre during TCM Classic Film Festival this year. “I admire what he’s done and I hope I can even do one tenth of what somebody like Jerry Lewis has done in his career.”