Dane Cook on Landing Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston for 'Fast Times' Live Reading: "They Came to Play"

Jennifer Aniston Brad Pitt Backstage SAG Awards - Getty - H 2020
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Dane Cook is revealing more about how the star-stuffed Fast Times at Ridgemont High table read came together.

During an appearance on Brett Gursky's podcast, On the List With Brett Gursky, Cook was asked about how he managed to land a slew of A-listers including Julia Roberts, Jennifer Aniston, Brad Pitt, Sean Penn, Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman, Jimmy Kimmel, John Legend and Shia LaBeouf for the event, dubbed Dane Cook Presents Feelin' A-LIve: Fast Times at Ridgemont High. 

“It was truly spectacular," Cook said of the virtual production, a benefit for Penn's CORE and Reform Alliance to aid in work battling the COVID-19 pandemic. "It just felt like a nice, like the eye of a hurricane when the sun comes out for a little bit. It felt like a real nice, joyous occasion. A lot of laughs."

Cook said he wished he could take more credit but instead it was the A-listers who delivered. "Jennifer had gotten wind of it through Sean Penn. Then CAA was helping out and they reached out to Brad and he just seemed like...there was no drama in terms of like, you know...they’re pros. They’re pals. They just came to play. It was like a nothing burger in terms of, 'How did we do that?’ They both just loved the content."

Seeing it all come together in a successful way served as a reminder to Cook of how the pendulum swings throughout a career. "I’ve had it swing in places where I can look and say wow, 'I’m a part of history, and the history of comedy and, in some ways, theater or cinema.' Then also knowing that there's lean years, hard years and disappointing years. You have to always look at those [as a time when] you’re getting a lot of your information. The failure is where you’re getting a lot of great data. To see it all swing back in during a hard year that I wanted to be celebrating something, and then sitting there with a number of people that I want to emulate, and now I can say I worked alongside, and continue now to collaborate and corroborate with, I’m very pleased. I’m very, very proud of that.”

In terms of next projects, Cook told Gursky that he's hard at work on a book project that he hopes honors his 30 years in show business by giving behind-the-scenes stories from his life on stage and off. "I’d started writing a book almost two years ago, prepping it, putting it together, keeping copious notes from years of journaling and great footage that I had put together. So, I had this idea of like year 30, what about a memoir that talks about like here's how I did what I did, you know, self-made guy, from a welfare kid from outside of Boston to the highest upper echelon of stand-up comedy."

He also said he won't shy away from various traumas in his life, including sending his brother to prison for embezzling money as well as growing up as a child of an alcoholic. "Then also dealing with a whole cornucopia of things happening at once — high level of fame, personal life, a lot of distraught things happening, my family getting sick, my brother and I going through this thing where I had to incarcerate him for putting me through a humiliating trial, just a lot."