The Drunk Charlize Theron Moment Dane Cook Witnessed That He Knows Would Go Viral Today

It’s probably fair to say that the peak of Dane Cook’s stardom was right around 2007. During this era, he became a household name with accomplishments like selling out Madison Square Garden and appearing in films with actors like Kevin Costner and Jessica Alba. Obviously this comes with the perk of being able to rub elbows with some of the biggest actors in Hollywood, and for Cook, it meant literally kissing a tipsy Charlize Theron on the ass for national television. Before you ask, yes, you read that correctly.

Dane Cook and Charlize Theron appeared together on an episode of The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and decided to collaborate on a sort of bit for the audience. This is how Dane explained it to me, which included his assumption that these days it would get “50 million views overnight”:

Being on The Tonight Show one night, Charlize Theron's there, and she's got a couple of drinks in her, and she's feeling, like, real sassy, and she's like, ‘What are you going to do?’ And I'm like, ‘I’m going to go out and I'm going to improvise this thing.’ And she's like, ‘You should bring me into it somehow.’ Because that was in an era where the other guest stayed on the couch with you and it was more like way more fun and loose. And I end up like in that segment telling a somewhat lewd story and she's laughing. And then like from it, this moment happens that I guess today you would say in this TokTok generation it would go viral. It probably would get like 50 million views overnight. It was that kind of thing. But back then it was like, word of mouth.

Finding the video in question is rather difficult these days, but I did manage to pull this screenshot for our dear viewers. To serve as proof, if nothing else:

Dane Cook and Charlize Theron on The Tonight Show

(Image credit: NBC)

Again, I feel the need to reiterate that during this era, Dane Cook was perhaps the biggest stand-up comic in the world. He auditioned for Steven Spielberg, was referenced on Jeopardy! and even in the running to play Captain America, though he did get in some trouble with Marvel for that one. Charlize Theron was of a slightly different stature, having already won an Oscar for her performance in Monster. During the bit in question, Cook was complimenting her career, and then apologized to Theron for “kissing your ass.” She then assumed the position so they could create the moment above.

While the mid-2000s don’t feel like very long ago for some of us, perhaps the greatest cultural shift during the time since then is the internet’s prevalence in our lives. This type of moment would be on YouTube and TikTok instantly, but now, it’s difficult to find it at all. Dane Cook proceeded to touch on this idea and how it affected the reactions of those around him, calling this era of the web, “The Wild West”:

‘Did you see what happened on The Tonight Show last night?’ Yeah, I got to ride that out for like two weeks if my phone rang. Like, ‘was it a plan? Did you, was she in on that? Did she tell you you could do that?’ That was, that was crazy. ‘Are you in trouble?’ And it was just like it was in an era right before, I guess the Internet became what it was, it was in its infancy. It was great. Was the Wild West.

Obviously a lot has changed since the "Wild West.: Charlize Theron has become a bonafide action star, with The Old Guard 2 being her latest to come down the pipeline, and she’s even part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to appearing as the dazzling Clea in Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness.

As for Dane Cook, he’s largely moved away from the movie business, but is still doing what he does best: stand-up comedy. His new special Above It All just left the live streaming platform Moment. Don't worry if you missed it, as the comic is currently shopping around to find a more permanent home for the special. For the meantime, we’ve got a handy list of everything coming to television in 2022!

Jeff McCobb
Senior Video Producer

Jeff is a film buff who is ridden with gratitude that he gets to spout opinions about them for a living. He currently resides in Los Angeles, where he spends his time complaining about Los Angeles.