When one drops the name Andrew Dice Clay in conversation in 2007, there are really just three responses likely to result:
1) “The Diceman, baby! Fuck, yeah!”
2) “Omigod, is he still around? I used to think he was so funny…”
3) “Andrew Dice Clay? I fucking hate that guy!”
Yes, it’s a testament to the man’s notoriety – if not necessarily his comedic longevity – that even though most would agree his heyday ended in the early ‘90s, his name still inspires recognition at the very least, and, at the most, a 50/50 split between devotion and revulsion. Now that he’s returned to the public eye with a reality show on VH-1 (“Dice: Undisputed”) and even his own search engine (SearchWithDice.com), Andrew Dice Clay is a man on a mission. That mission is to regain his title as one of the most popular stand-up comedians in the world. Bullz-Eye had a chance to chat with Dice; he even called us a little early and, to our surprise, started the conversation in a rather restrained mode. Don’t worry, though, it didn’t last. Before it was all over, we were privy to the Diceman in all his glory, including discussions about his 1995 CBS sitcom, the odds of a “Ford Fairlane” sequel, and his goal to play Giants Stadium.
Andrew Dice Clay: Will…?
ADC: Yeah, how you doin’? It’s Andrew Dice Clay!
BE: Hey, how you doin’?
ADC: I’m good. They’re just switching things up on me because of the schedule I’m on today.
BE: Oh, okay. Well, I can talk now if you’re ready.
ADC: Okay, I’m ready!
BE: Cool. Well, I guess the first – if most obvious – question is, how did you end up doing this show for VH-1 in the first place?
ADC: Well, I didn’t start out that way. I actually was just sort of filming…I’ve always been into the filming myself and my family type of thing, but almost in kind of a show form. Like, I would look back at a video, and it didn’t look like…like, if a kid’s playing basketball, to watch him just run back and forth? ‘Cause you know nobody ever watches those tapes, right?
ADC: Yeah. So I was filming in a way that was more entertaining. And what happened was that when I went through the break-up with my now-ex-wife, I started filming myself as, like, a form of therapy, and then brought into it my kids and, eventually, my fiancée…well, girlfriend at the time…and other comics, and just turning it into a show. So by the time Fox TV saw these tapes, they were, like, “You shot a show that nobody even asked for!” I said, “Well, I’ve been shooting it for 18 or 19 years now!” (laughs) So, I mean, we got a big library!
BE: It’s a strange dynamic, but a good one. I mean, it’s funny, it flirts with the obscene, obviously, but then it’s a family drama, too.
ADC: Yeah, well, y’know, the show goes in a few ways. I mean, number one, I like – and I always have, but never really got a chance – to show what I’m sort of like behind whatever. Because when I do perform, the kind of performances that I do, y’know…that was always the beauty when I saw “The Osbournes,” how you see how Ozzy was when he’s not onstage, and how he just snaps into his onstage persona. So it’s fun to watch that. I also have no problem with people seeing what I wake up looking like. You know what I mean? Or what I’m like around the house, or the different sides of my personality, other than what they do see onstage. It’s fun to do that. I’m trying not to, in this first season, really…I try not to pimp my kids out. Because I know what fame is about. And I just put them in there a little, just to let them sort of start feeling what it’s like, because they love it. And they’re musicians…and really, really incredible ones. I have two sons: Max and Dylan. Max is 16 and he’s a drummer, and Dylan is 12 and he’s the guitarist and writes all that music. And they really wanted to be in a lot of it, and I’m going, “Lemme tell ya something: I know about fame. We’re gonna take this slow.” I mean, for instance, look what happens to some of these kids on reality shows, or even sitcoms through the years. They wind up all fucked up. Part of the reason I didn’t really work that much when I went through the divorce was to stay in town and to take care of my kids and to make sure that they do grow up with a good mind and good values. I know that sounds crazy coming from Dice, but that’s the way I am as a father. Who I am as a performer is a whole different animal.
BE: But you’ve been several people as a performer. I mean, I actually watched “Bless This House” (Dice’s brief attempt as a straight-up domestic sitcom on CBS) when it was on…
BE: …and, I mean, I’ve heard reports that that was something you didn’t entirely want to do, and that you were kind of shoved into it by your management, but I thought you did pretty well as a traditional sitcom actor.
ADC: Well, I didn’t mind trying a sitcom, and one of the reasons was because you don’t have to be on the road, and I could be home with my family. But, y’know, the producer of the show and the director were real asshole kind of people that really held me back, not letting me say things that were already allowed by Standards and Practices, like the word “ass,” when they were actually showing ass on other shows already! So I got bored with that real quick, and it got to the point where the scripts were, in my mind, so bad that I couldn’t even memorize the language. I was just bored to tears showing up, just disgusted by watching writers laugh at things they wrote that I just knew, as a true performer, were just unfunny in the real world. So when Les Moonves (president of CBS) cancelled that show and he called me…’cause, y’know, they call all the people on the show to let ‘em down lightly…at that time, I actually told Les, “Y’know, it’s the best decision you’ve made since you took over CBS.” And I go, “One day, we’ll do something else that might be better for us.” ‘Cause, at that time, he’d just taken over CBS. So I thanked him for giving me that opportunity, but, y’know, the sitcom thing just wasn’t for me. I did another one a couple of years later, called “Hitz,” which I enjoyed more. The producers were looser on the show, it was a cooler show about the music industry, and I did enjoy showing up to do that…so, of course, it got cancelled quick. (chuckles) Hold on. (Says something to someone else in the room with him, apparently about another call, then comes back on the line.) Hello…?
BE: Yep. You good…?
ADC: Yeah. Nah, it’s just this fucking girl. Excuse my language.
BE: That’s quite all right. I would’ve been disappointed if I hadn’t heard it before this was all over.
BE: So is it weird letting yourself all hang out in the show? Because I saw the episode where you go to the hairdresser, where your current hairline is on display, and…
ADC: You wanna know something?
ADC: In my opinion, they don’t show enough of that stuff.
On his CBS sitcom: "I was just bored to tears showing up, just disgusted by watching writers laugh at things they wrote that I just knew, as a true performer, were just unfunny in the real world."ADC: I mean, I film a lot of that myself. Most of the show is done with my camera. I film me, so I hand them a lot of things where I go, “How come this isn’t in?” And they explain to me that it’s only 21 minutes. Danny Salles, who produces the show, him and Jeff Kuntz, the producers that put it together, they go, “The beauty of it is that we have a wealth of material that is phenomenal, but you can only put so much of it into 21 minutes!” If I didn’t like something, like the hairdresser stuff, it wouldn’t even be in there. But, like I said, I don’t mind showing who I am. I think it’s interesting to the public. Like, I have an Andrew Dice Clay MySpace page now, which, in a week and a half, has gotten over 3,000 friends, and from what I’m told, that’s a big deal. And the thing is, they love what they’ve hooked into with the show. I’m coming out of retirement now, as far as trying to achieve incredible greatness again as the comic I truly am, and I want to do Giant Stadium, which is, I dunno, about 70,000 – 80,000 seats! It’s a football stadium. In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s, I used to do the arenas. I did countless arenas, everywhere from the L.A. Forum to the Philly Spectrum to the New Orleans Sundome…every arena in the country. Madison Square Garden, of course. But those were 20,000 seaters. Now, I want to top what I’ve done. I also have this thing in my head to show the greatness of our country at a time where people get shaken by war. I hear people say, “This isn’t the country it was,” and I’m, like, “Are you kidding?” You can still go out of your home and reach your potential and achieve any goal that you want to achieve. And that’s why I want to do Giant Stadium: because only in this country are you allowed to put yourself there. I actually call it an American event, that a comedian is allowed to push himself to that level. It’ll be a personal goal of mine, and for my kids, it’ll show them what you can really do when you do prepare – and in years to come, they’ll be able to top what I’ve done by doing it their own way and knowing that anything is possible. But I think the biggest message is that this is America, and, yes, we’ve taken some hits, but we’re the strongest country in the world, we’re the greatest country in the world. And I even want to give away thousands of tickets to the people that went to Iraq and fought for our freedom, just to have them there and go, “Because of you, I’m allowed to do this.” You know what I mean? I think it’s an important message at a time when people are angry and upset about war and what goes on. I’ve always looked at myself as the Rocky Balboa of stand-up comedy, and it’s just like when he fought the Russian: every time he gets knocked down, he gets up. And that’s the kind of career I’ve lived, and that’s the message I’m trying to get across. But onstage, trust me, it’s what people love. My audiences…it’s bedlam when I perform.
BE: I’ve never seen you, but I had the first and second albums, and I listened to the first one non-stop, and the second one…I drove people crazy trying to explain why I thought the “hour back” routine was funny.
ADC: Exactly, on an album like that, but there’s never been a comic ever who…I said it even back in ’88, ’89, and ’90 when I used to get interviewed, that what I created in this country as a comic and the excitement I create for audiences, nobody’s ever gonna come close to creating that again. I don’t even look at myself as a regular stand-up. I’m almost like a rock ‘n’ roll star without a guitar. And the audiences are responding, and they’re loving the new material; it’s just as edgy as it’s always been. It’s new, it’s fresh, plus I give ‘em the old hits that they love so much…and I love giving it to them, y’know? Even on my MySpace page, I’m having the American Ass-athon. I’ve got, like, Beyonce or whatever her name is sitting next to me, going, “Animal!” In the meantime, her ass can’t make that Ass-athon because it doesn’t have enough mass… (Someone in the room with Dice tells him to “stop it,” resulting in a chuckle from him.) …which is the whole reason I’m having one right now. But, yeah, onstage, it’s Dice, the way you like him. The best. Dice: hardcore. But I just had the last five years of going through…y’know, it’s crazy when you think you break up, because it never really ends. So I’m telling anyone reading your site! If any guy out there that’s married and going, “Y’know, I’m thinking of getting a divorce,” think a hundred times, because no matter what happens once you’re broken up – you give child support, you give alimony – and you think it’s over, that’s when it just begins. They’re different kinds of animals. Get a hundred girlfriends, get them apartments all over the city, buy them cars. It’s cheaper to keep her. I’m telling you now. CHEAPER. TO. KEEP. HER. If you come home and she hits you in the face with a bat, you go, “I know that was just an accident, honey. Can I take you dinner?” As you’re spitting your teeth all over the kitchen floor. It’s cheaper to keep her, I’m telling you. They once wrote that song, I’m telling you, and believe me, listen to the guy singing that song, and you’ll know he’s been through it.
BE: Just to jump way back for a second, I was a fan of yours even when you were in “Pretty in Pink,” even…
BE: …but what made you decide to make the jump from straight acting into stand-up in the first place?
ADC: Well, it wasn’t a decision. What happened was that the controversy of Dice when my career took off as a stand-up was so intense that they pulled my movie, “The Adventures of Ford Fairlane,” in a week, even though it was a hit movie and doing great. You gotta understand that I was a lightning rod for everything PC. The actual expression “politically incorrect” was born when they did a “Nightline” about me years ago, and that was the first time those words were put together. (Writer’s note: This is such a bold boast that I had to see if there was any truth to it, but I can’t find a single thing to corroborate its accuracy or inaccuracy.) And ever since then, you hear those words. But I was a lightning rod for every group. Gloria…whatever the fuck her name is…
ADC: That little animal. I’ll tell you the truth. Believe me, if she got together with me for a couple of drinks, I’d knock her down in three drinks. I’d give her the Dice charm… (audibly goes into character) …and then I’d give her the hairy Cyclops. Oh! You know, all these chicks say, “I don’t really agree with what you do…” And then 20 minutes later, they’re going out with me for nine years. These little slobs, you know how they get. Just liquor ‘em up and lie ‘em down!
BE: You know, you mentioned “Ford Fairlane.” I actually saw it on opening night and, to this day, I still use the immortal line, “My hair!”
ADC: Hey, look, you know what? “Ford Fairlane” was a great movie. I loved doing it – it was one of the few things that I did love doing – and, actually, what I’m talking about with my manager, Danny Hayes, also known as Danny Starr, is, after I do Giant Stadium, doing a sequel to “Ford Fairlane.” ‘Cause I think people want it.
BE: That’d be awesome.
ADC: And I’m still just as gorgeous. I’ve lost a little hair, but let’s face it: now you can see more of my pretty face. Anyway, that’s how I look at it. But, look, thanks for talking to me.
BE: You bet. Thanks a lot.
ADC: You take care.