Use That Superfinger To Change The Channel

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Memo to NBC: NO, REALLY, THAT WON'T BE NECESSARY.

Before we begin, a small personal/programming note. Today, Mass Effect 3 is released. That means that, for the next two to three weeks, every single column you see here will be a heartrending tale of personal sacrifice - the personal sacrifice I will be making to get that column to you instead of playing Mass Effect 3. They should be treated accordingly.

And speaking of personal sacrifice, let's talk about Dane Cook for a while.

The last time Dane Cook made headlines, he was auditioning for Rush Limbaugh's job in front of an unappreciative comedy club crowd, working out new material about chainsaw-fucking a whore's cunt. I guess Dane had been playing a lot of Street Fighter that week. On the upside, at least Dane isn't designing his own uniquely-shaped line of transvaginal ultrasound probes, so thank heaven for small favors.

I mean, it's getting to the point where you wonder if Dane Cook hates women almost as much as the rest of us hate Dane Cook. He's not filling the arenas anymore. His movie and TV show work has dried up - he's been in one episode of Hawaii Five-O and three movies nobody's heard of in the past three years. And where do culturally irrelevant stand-ups go to die? Yes, that's right, an NBC sitcom.

It's funny, because NBC somehow manages to produce three of the best comedies on television today, and can't get anyone to watch them, so they fill the rest of the schedule with Whitney Cummings and an all-new Fear Factor where they have to edit out the animal semen. And apparently, cutting the animal semen out of Fear Factor left them below their animal semen quota, because they're giving Dane Cook a sitcom.

But not just any sitcom, no! It's called... wait for it... wait for it... "Next Caller Please".

Let's quickly run down what this show is not. Cook is not dressing as a woman and playing a telephone operator from the 50s. He's not doing tech support in India - I'm pretty sure they already cancelled that one. He's not a medieval doctor* or the world's politest police booking officer** or even a gay prostitute-in-training being instructed that he should try to please his next gentleman caller.

No, instead, Dane Cook is going to play an unfunny radio shock jock who takes callers on the air. The unfunny's not intended to be part of his character, but it will be. And, as an "alpha male", Cook will be butting both his large and small heads with his producer, who is an "NPR-style" feminist.

Be still, my beating skull. I need to talk to my cable company and find out if my DVR includes the technology that will keep me from ever seeing this show, ads for this show, news stories about this show, or even snarky references to how bad this show is on other, better shows. They can call the feature "On A Complete Lack Of Demand".

I know it's easy to shit on Dane Cook, but dammit, it wouldn't be this easy if he didn't MAKE IT THIS EASY. Remember that NewsRadio episode where Phil Hartman goes to the gym, and Ben Stiller is selling him a gym membership, and Ben Stiller is shown to be an out of touch douchebag because he keeps using the words "shock jock"? That phrase was old when the episode aired. Sixteen years ago. Back when people still listened to the radio. Sure, they're "updating" it to make Cook be on SATELLITE radio, but you know they just dusted off a script from a Howard Stern sitcom from '98 and wrote in the word "satellite" in crayon where necessary.

About the only positive thing you can say about this topic is that the idea of an "alpha male" versus a "feminist boss" is still topical, but that's more of a sad cry for help from our society than an actual upside to this show.

*"Next Cholera, Please"

**"Next Collar, Please"