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Even Dane Cook doesn't think his Aurora shooting joke was funny. The 40-year-old comedian has apologized for making light of the Dark Knight Rises massacre during his live stand-up routine at Los Angeles' Laugh Factory on Thursday.
"So I heard that the guy [alleged shooter James Holmes] came into the theater about 25 minutes into the movie," Cook's ill-advised joke began. "And I don't know if you've seen the movie, but the movie is pretty much a piece of crap -- yeah, spoiler alert. I know that if none of that would have happened, pretty sure that somebody in that theater, about 25 minutes in, realizing it was a piece of crap, was probably like 'ugh, f***ing shoot me.'"
"I am devastated by the recent tragedy in Colorado & did not mean to make light of what happened," he wrote on Friday. "I made a bad judgment call with my material last night & regret making a joke at such a sensitive time. My heart goes out to all of the families & friends of the victims."
Reactions from Cook's fellow comedians have been mixed. Stand-up comic Brad Garrett (formerly a star of Everybody Loves Raymond) told ABC News that Cook's comment was in "super poor taste" and "definitely below the belt because... there's nothing about [the situation] that could possibly be [seen as] humor."
Russell Brand, on the other hand, defended Cook without having actually heard his joke. "I think if someone's job is a comedian and they say something, like in the analysis of the content of their statement, you should recall the bit that they're a comedian," the BrandX host told reporters at a press event.
On Monday, James Holmes was charged with 24 counts of murder for allegedly opening fire on a midnight screening of The Dark Knight Rises in Aurora, Colo., on July 20. He is facing two counts of first-degree murder for each of the 12 victims who died, with the additional charges added for "acting with extreme indifference to human life." Holmes, 24, also faces 116 counts of attempted murder, one count of possession of explosives and another of committing a crime of violence. The minimum penalty for the charges is life in prison; the maximum is death. Holmes has appeared in court but has not spoken or entered a plea.