There are some things—Walkmans, frosted tips, and cargo shorts, to name a few—that are best left in the early 2000s where they belong.
Dane Cook is, ostensibly, part of this group. The 46-year-old washed-up comedian hasn’t done anything noteworthy since the days when puka shell necklaces were in vogue—instead spending his time making misogynistic, distasteful jokes (including one mocking victims of the 2012 movie theater shooting in Aurora, Colorado) whenever he does perform at a venue.
But as unlikely as it may sound in 2018, Cook is back making headlines—this time after details of his new relationship became public, following a Q&A session on Instagram. ICYMI, Cook’s currently dating 19-year-old Kelsi Taylor, a self-styled singer-songwriter who’s 27 years his junior.
According to Cook, he met the young singer at a game night he hosted at his place. From there, “We were friends for a while & soon after fell in like with each [sic] and then upgraded to love,” the comedian said in an Instagram story from Monday. When asked by a fan if their families approve of the relationship, Cook wrote, “I love her family and we are pretty close and do dinner and hang. My family pretty all died years ago but @_courtneycook_ my sister like [sic] Kelsi a lot.” Neither family seems to have an issue with the couple’s 27-year age gap.
Cook was liberal with his praise for Taylor, saying, “Kelsi is smart, kind, creative, loyal & honest.” He added, “As for me I think Kelsi would says [sic] I’m tolerable. Lol.”
This would all be well and good, if the age difference between Cook and Taylor (and the circumstances surrounding their meeting) weren’t so unsettling. The two have been dating for a little over a year now, which means, in theory, that their relationship began when Taylor was merely 18, and Cook, 45. As Cook explained, they first met at a “game night” at his home, which begs the question: what kind of circles does a teenage girl have to run in to get invited over to Dane Cook’s house?
Cook was quick to emphasize, however, that the two were “friends for a while” before they began dating. It’s unclear what, exactly, a teenager and a comedian old enough to be her father have in common, but apparently the chemistry between Cook and Taylor (if you could even call it that) was strong enough to lead to a relationship.
When asked during the Instagram Q&A, “What advice do you have to those in age gap relationships?” Cook cheekily replied with, “The only thing you have to do is plan that your deaths will be somewhat far apart.” He answered a similar question a few weeks ago, saying, “At the end of your life you won’t care how old anyone was or is. You will remember who loved you. Age means zitch it’s a number that has no measurement of what makes your character.” [emphasis mine.]
Cook’s rhetoric is questionable at best and predatory at worst—and this coupled with the fact that Cook and the much younger Taylor were allegedly “friends” before sounds pretty suspicious. Sexual predators frequently “groom” potential victims for months, if not years, at a time, forming a connection and gaining trust before initiating exploitative relationships.
It’s unclear how old Taylor was when she met Cook—and although she’s technically of legal age now, the 27-year age gap between her and her comedian boyfriend has left a lot of people feeling unsettled.
Taylor, for her part, seems happy in the relationship. She frequently posts Instagram photos with Cook, calling him “my man” and “the light of my life.” In a photo from their one-year anniversary, in which Cook looks positively geriatric next to a smiling Taylor, she wrote, “Spent the day yesterday celebrating our love and I couldn’t be happier. I have the most amazing guy by my side with the sweetest of hearts. I love you with all of mine.”
Cook is just the latest in a long-line of gross male celebrities to “find love” with a significantly younger partner. While it’s quite possible that Cook and Taylor do have a genuinely healthy, balanced relationship, reading Cook’s behavior as anything less than creepy is difficult, to say the least.