Have you heard the one about a comedian making a joke about a tragedy—say, a theater shooting that left 12 dead and more than 50 injured—less than a week after the event? Yeah, the initial joke wasn’t funny either. And now the comedian, Dane Cook, has apologized for his premature attempt at comedy.
Cook debuted his Aurora, Colo., material at the Los Angeles Laugh Factory on Thursday night, July 26, and by Friday morning the Internet was abuzz, discussing his choice of content.
By Friday afternoon, 2:38 p.m. to be exact—less than 24 hours after he had spoken the words that left some people aghast—the comedian took to Twitter for an apology:
“I am devastated by the recent tragedy in Colorado & did not mean to make light of what happened. I made a bad judgment call with my material last night & regret making a joke at such a sensitive time. My heart goes out to all of the families & friends of the victims.”
The initial reaction to Cook’s set was mostly positive within the theater, although the backlash quickly erupted once the audio went public. In the bit, he first calls The Dark Knight Rises movie “pretty much a piece of crap” and then says that if the shooting hadn’t happened that “somebody in that theater, about 25 minutes in, realizing that it was a piece of crap, probably was like, ‘Ugh, f—ing shoot me.’”
Cook has more than 2.8 million Twitter followers, and his apology has been retweeted about 270 times—far fewer than the number of tweets and comments berating the comedian after his initial remarks.