It takes a very funny man to sell out Madison Square Garden, and standup superstar Dane Cook -- his Hollywood career notwithstanding -- is a funny man of the highest caliber. He's crass, observant, clever, and handsome, wooing women even as he commiserates with their boyfriends over explicit topics like condoms, sexual diseases, and modernized strip clubs. In short, he's a comedian who appeals to everybody, from beer-chugging frat boys to modern women, from hip parents to wide-eyed youngsters, from the nosebleed section to the very front row. Rough Around the Edges delivers more of the patented Cook formula, which is to say it covers sexually charged topics in a frank and energetic way, complete with amusing imitations and microphone-popping sound effects. As before, Cook takes to his job like a rock & roll frontman, and the accompanying DVD shows him strutting around the stage with bravado, sometimes dropping to his knees or crawling along the floor to heighten the mood. There are no pyrotechnics here, no confetti cannons, nothing that would normally captivate the audience at a Madison Square Garden event -- but who needs spectacle when you've got a killer impression of Oprah? You can hear this energy on the CD, too, even if you can't see Cook acting out the part of "the guy that plays the flute" in the Civil War ("That flute guy was up front, like 'Holy sh*t, I need a bayonet on the end of my flute!'"). The show's latter half is devoted almost entirely to sex, with the comedian relying on something akin to shock tactics for laughs. The jokes are still funny -- particularly the X-rated "A Condom?" and its related follow-up, "Come to Fruition" -- but the "Oh my god, did he really just say that?!" incredulity wears thin after half an hour, which is fortunately the point where Cook chooses to conclude his set to thunderous applause. In fact, the applause is given as much CD time as some of Cook's jokes; it goes on for two minutes, perhaps to emphasize the fact that Cook has effectively rocked a super-sized arena whose capacity is often better suited to world championship boxing and U2 concerts. The whole conclusion comes across as a bit self-impressed, but the audience nevertheless eats this sort of thing up -- and, in their defense, it's hard not to.
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AllMusic Review by Andrew Leahey
Track Listing - Disc 1
Track Listing - Disc 2