Back to his roots and his rooters – (by Meredith Goldstein)

Arlington-bred comedian Dane Cook has spent much of 2009 on his “Isolated Incident’’ stand-up tour, which ends Thursday at the TD Garden. We caught up with him this month at one of his favorite Hollywood haunts. Over a bowl of chicken soup, we talked about everything from getting heckled to how his act has been affected by the deaths of his parents and the accusations that his half-brother had stolen millions from him. (The interview has been edited and condensed.)

Q. There’s a massive billboard over Morrissey Boulevard of your face advertising your New Year’s show.

A. Yeah, New Year’s Eve. It’s very, very special. Just the timing of it all, the year that has taken place.

Q. What’s the difference between a Boston audience and other audiences?

A. It’s my hometown. It’s emotional. This is a city that embraced me and supported me when I had 30 fans. I still have people coming up after the shows saying, “Remember me? At the Kowloon? I was there.’’ You’ve got old friends and their friends and ex-girlfriends, now with their husbands talking about their kids liking me.

Q. In a venue that size, are you even aware of the audience? You can’t really get heckled at the Garden.

A. Oh, but you can.

Q. Really?

A. I have set it up in such a way so that when I’m in the middle I can see everyone. I don’t treat it like a club. It’s not a blanket of dark. It’s a little more intimate, putting the stage lower, keeping it in the center, putting more light on.

Q. People have really strong opinions about you. When I told people I was meeting up with you, people said, “I hate that guy’’ or “I love that guy.’’ A lot of people hate you.

A. Coming up, one thing that was a problem for me was that I thought, I’m boring. I’m not a controversial person. I’m pretty low key when I’m not on stage. When I got to this upper echelon, and people started to have an opinion, at first it was great. At first it was like a roast or a ribbing. But as it started to build, I started to feel like a rapper. I started to feel like Eminem. I was being despised and loathed without people even knowing me. You can’t fight lies, so I’m just going to let it go. And then it continued to build and build. Even now I can see that people created an identity to fortify their belief that I’m not funny.

Q. How often do you get home?

A. This year, not very. I always try to get home – especially when my folks were alive – often, like four times a year. I have four sisters – half-sisters – and then my other little sister lives with me out here.

Q. How have these issues with your parents and your brother changed what you do on stage?

A. I had all of this material I was doing that was starting to spawn from my losing my folks. You know, I lost both of them – within nine months of each other – to cancer. That happened as I was reaching the highest point in my career – all the things I was telling them I was going to do. It was like, the dream doesn’t necessarily come without a nightmare. That was just the beginning of a turbulent last few years.

Q. What’s your “I’m about to go on stage’’ music?

A. Right now, I’ve been in like a Gavin DeGraw phase. I’ve got a lot of classic rock in there. I had some Meat Loaf cranking the other night. I had some Steve Miller. I always have a little Van Halen mixed in there.

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