Maybe Dane Cook didn’t expect much backlash for refusing to live-stream his Boston Strong concert performance. But a comedian who claims to understand the spirit of Boston — not to mention the spirit of the Internet — should have known better.
Cook took to the TD Garden stage on Tuesday night in a benefit for the One Fund, along with the likes of Aerosmith, the Dropkick Murphys, and Lenny Clarke. But Cook, an Arlington native, was the only performer who wouldn’t allow his act to be shown live over the Internet. During his performance, viewers saw a static screen. He later explained, in a posting to his 3 million Twitter followers, “I didn’t want any of the new material to hit the airwaves yet!” Righteous anger ensued on Twitter and beyond, as Bostonians blasted Cook for putting his career ahead of local spirit. (Some of his critics insisted that he probably wasn’t funny, anyway.)
Cook thus far doesn’t seem remorseful. A handful of people have suggested — in his defense — that he was trying to protect material that was still in development. But one faux-cheery tweet doesn’t fully explain Cook’s motivation, or help his cause. At the least, he looked uncharitable, creating an unfortunate distraction from a positive event. At worst, he lost himself a region’s worth of fans.