banner ad
banner ad
banner ad


| 31 August 2014 | Reply

By Shane Pinnegar

Andrew Dice Clay 01
One of the funniest, most popular, and most reviled comedians ever, Andrew Dice Clay is bringing his profanity-laden stand-up show to Australia throughout October. SHANE PINNEGAR finds Clay ready to talk comedy, movies, controversy, books, music and just about everything you can possibly squeeze into fifteen minutes.

Fans of Clay – or ‘Dice’ as he is often known – will remember his hilarious smutty rewriting of popular children’s nursery rhymes, his catchphrase ‘unbelievable’ and his star turn as ‘rock n’ roll detective’ Ford Fairlane in the movie The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane through the late ‘80s and early ‘90s.

The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane poster

It wasn’t all fun n’ games though: MTV banned him for life in 1989 (they rescinded the ban in 2011) after he cussed on a live show, the movie studio dropped an elaborate premiere for the Ford Fairlane movie after pressure from groups outraged by Clay’s politically incorrect character, and he’s continued to court controversy ever since.

As recently as early August he managed to offend viewers of Channel Nine’s Mornings program when he dropped a few F-bombs, asked compere David Campbell if his co-host Georgie Gardner was a ‘hot number’, and said he’d like to ‘kangaroo-fuck half these [Australian] girls across the country.’ Contrary to the days of old when he refused to apologise for anything he said, Clay says he’s not that guy any more.

“They did the right thing,” he admits. “What happened was my publicist, basically, he didn’t tell me the kind of show it was and I don’t even know when I’m, like, calling there to be honest with you. I said, ‘what kind of show is it?’ He made it sound like it was almost like the Australia version of a HBO news show or something, [so] I figured I could say anything. I even told one of the radio stations, I said when I’m down there I’m going to let them come out with a [film] crew and I’ll formally apologise, because I don’t do that kind of stuff anymore on live TV. I would never.

“They said it was the equivalent of doing Good Morning America. I said, ‘I would never go on Good Morning America [and swear]. I have a different career now.’ I’m doing a lot of the acting stuff I always wanted to do. I just got done with Martin Scorsese with his new project for HBO. That’s why I felt so loose to just say whatever. I definitely owe them an apology. I totally blame Jeff Abraham, my publicist. I said, ‘are you kidding me?’ When he told me the kind of show it was, afterwards, I go, ‘that’s not what you told me.’ I go, ‘and they cut me off after two minutes.’ I didn’t know what was going on because I thought they’d be laughing, [because I was] thinking it’s like a cable thing.

“I owe them an apology.”

The mere thought of Andrew Dice Clay apologising for being a snapperhead in 1989 or 1990 was unbelievable (Ohhh!), but the new Clay is older, wiser, and seems less willing to jeopardise his second chance round the ride.

“Because when my career took off as a stand up and I’m on MTV or those kinds of things, I just didn’t care,” he confessed. “I did, like I said, what any rock star would do. They sing it in their songs – I do it in my stand up.

“I had one other incident on CNN,” he explains, referring to a 2003 interview with Allan Chernoff, who belittled Clay and had done erroneous research (Clay flew off the handle when Chernoff suggested he had been managing a gym). “The guy was looking to insult me, so I destroyed him – that was definitely on purpose, when he said what he said to me.

“When he said it, you got to understand, when I said that to him, I was doing the Beacon Theatre the next night, which was completely oversold and that’s like a 3,500 seat room. When the guy was like, ‘you used to be a headlining guy,’ I was like, ‘is this guy fucking kidding me or what?’ ‘Used to be’ because I’m not doing 10,000 people a night? Super stardom for a comic is like 1,500 – 2,000 seats back then.

“I basically self-exiled myself from doing arena shows,” he carries on. “I couldn’t take anymore. I did so many of them and it was having an effect on me physically. It was just too much. I went into smaller, like 3,000 seats, 5,000 seats and I’m looking at this guy on CNN like, ‘4,000 seats isn’t big enough?’ Where do we have the rock bands that are doing 4,000 seats, there aren’t too many of them!

“Me and Billy Joel were neck and neck in the early ’90s for the one and two spot on the Billboard charts for live performance. That’s for a rock band. It’s pretty amazing stuff. That’s why there’s a book coming out now!”

That book is called The Filthy Truth, and will be released by Simon & Schuster in November. Clay has never been shy about saying his stand-up career was more rock n’ roll than comedian, and he takes my comparison of what I’ve heard of the forthcoming autobiography with Motley Crue’s infamous The Dirt in his stride.

“When you’re a rock and roll star,” he says, “the stories are kind of similar I guess.”

Times have changed since those heady days and there’s far less taboos nowadays – does Dice still have what it takes to shake things up?

“You know what?” Clay snorts. “I wish you had seen a recent show and I wouldn’t even have to answer that. The way my son Max puts it to me, who’s 24 years old, he says, ‘in a day and age where nobody could shock anybody anymore, you still manage to cross that line.’ He sees a lot of shows – my boys see a lot of shows.

Andrew Dice Clay - Indestructable

“I blow people’s minds because the language is so colourful and so cartoonish. It’s not just… anybody could go on stage and be filthy, but to be filthy and hysterical are two different things – that’s a hard thing to do. That’s what I go for and I know how to really paint those sexually comedic cartoons for people. That’s what makes them laugh, at the outrageousness of that.”

Let’s pause there for a moment and take a complete left turn. After a 2012 comeback HBO stand-up special called Indestructible, Clay was cast as an exaggerated, impossible-to-deal-with version of himself in the final season of the popular series Entourage. His next step, though, shocked many: appearing in a straight dramatic role in Woody Allen’s movie Blue Jasmine, opposite Cate Blanchett and Alec Baldwin. It showed an unexpected side to the comic, and he got great reviews for his performance.

Clay with Cate Blanchett at the Blue Jasmine premiere

Clay with Cate Blanchett at the Blue Jasmine premiere

“It did and it started with Entourage,” Clay explains. “Woody Allen saw me on Entourage and then Scorsese saw me in Blue Jasmine. It seems like Hollywood is looking to really pump me up in an acting way, which was always my goal from day one. Because I always understood, even in comedy – a lot of comics don’t, as funny as they might be, they don’t understand theatre and they don’t understand performance. I never really studied comics. I studied rock bands. I studied artists from Elvis to drummers like Buddy Rich and bigger than life personalities like Muhammad Ali and bands like Led Zeppelin and even your [Australian] band INXS.

“I didn’t study comics. I studied rock stars to learn performance. I always felt comics never understood the art of really entertaining a crowd. That’s why years ago comics were just like opening acts for big bands because they were good for like 10 minutes. Then you go, ‘all right, enough of this guy.’ They didn’t move around much. They didn’t accentuate their words a lot. There have only been a few like that – Eddie Murphy is one of them.”

Andrew Dice Clay 03

At this point you’ll note there’s been not a single swear word mentioned by the notoriously foul-mouthed comedian, and other interviews also reveal he is a conscientious father (if not husband, having gone through three wives). It almost seems like he has a split personality – the loving dad, Andrew, and the outrageous F-bomber, Dice. Is Dice a completely fictional character or is there a lot of him in there as well?

Clay laughs at the split personality comment, before explaining, “I am from Brooklyn, that’s how I explain it to people. My attitude is very Brooklyn. I’ve been wearing leather jackets since I’m 12 years old after seeing Elvis do the ‘68 Comeback, I do smoke cigarettes. But it’s the thought pattern: on stage, you take a direction, whatever your comedic direction is. They’re not really seeing more than that when I perform, because my job is to make people laugh their balls off and that’s what I like doing.”

The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane remains a favourite of many rockers – this interviewer in particular – and I wasn’t going to let the opportunity to ask Clay about the film go by. Of particular interest is why the studio pulled the premiere, pulled it from many cinemas after its first week run, and let it flop (If US$21 million can be considered a flop in 1990!?!).

“That’s all part of the whole Dice controversy from when my career took off,” he says with a weary sigh. “I was really attacked by the media for my comedy, and the studio execs got afraid. So that’s why the movie got pulled in America. It was more that the studio executives, and… It’s actually all written about. I have a book coming out November 11th from Simon & Schuster, my autobiography called The Filthy Truth. It’s all talked about in there.”

Andrew Dice Clay - Ford Fairlane

So what are the chances of a sequel to The Adventures Of Ford Fairlane?

“You know what?” he says, perking up. “It is talked about a lot because people really did love that film and actually there were one or two places that were talking about doing a sequel. I always wanted to do one and I figured once I brought my career back that would be on the list.

“I would love to do it. It’s fun – it’s just a fun movie. That’s why the general public didn’t understand why they pulled the movie and it was a chance for critics to really jump all over me personally, but it didn’t affect my stand-up career. That was 1990 and I did the arenas up to ’95 before I even started doing cut-down arenas. It really didn’t affect anything in that way with my albums or my live performances, but it did wreck the movie career back then.”

Sometimes, fifteen minutes is just not long enough, and time is running out fast, and we can’t let Dice go without him plugging the tour, can we! Why is this the first time he’s come to Australia?

“I don’t really go out of the country much,” he admits, “but I’ve always had a tremendous fan base in Australia. They’ve always come to see me through all the years. I decided I’m either going now or I’m never going. I’m excited about coming there because I always have people in my audience from Australia when I’m in Vegas. They fly to see the show. They’re the coolest people. I just want to come there and entertain them and have a good time.

“They enjoy what I do, but they’re respectful towards me as a performer and that’s part of the reason I’m coming there.”

Playing arenas is what bands do, not comedians. Most comics play a club or smallish auditorium – Clay is playing 3-4-5,000 seat theatres and arenas. He’s confident he can sell them too.

“I’m not like any comic,” he declares, “I’m the biggest stand-up ever. I’ve done over 300 arena shows in my career, sold out. That’s over 12 million people just from that. That’s not a problem. The tickets are actually flying out pretty quick from what I’m hearing.”

In The States Clay’s sons – Max and Dillon – band L.A. Rocks sometimes open for him, but it’s unlikely they’ll be making the trip Down Under with him this time around.

“I don’t think so unless there’s a company that wants to do the… we might film this whole thing, documentary style. If they do that, I will bring L.A. Rocks, and they’re really incredible. They’re starting to work with Don Dokken from the band Dokken. He loved their stuff. He really loves them and wants to produce them now.”

Talking of music, Clay sung the old Yardbirds track I Ain’t Got You in the Ford Fairlane film, and more recently is out there on YouTube doing Elvis in an outtake from the Indestructible special, backed by L.A. Rocks. Would he ever record more music, like his late fellow comedian and actor Sam Kinison?

“You know what?” he declares, “I enjoy the singing stuff, but I’m not a singer. It’s like, I can carry a tune and I love doing Elvis, but my dream was never to be a big time singer. It just wasn’t about that – it was more about acting. When I saw how comics perform, I started creating a persona that we’ve seen in rock and that we’ve seen in film. Everything from Elvis to people from Brando to James Dean to James Franco, you’ve got that cool thing going on, but it never happens in stand-up. That’s why the influence was Elvis with the leathers and the collars. It was more about that to me.”

It’s been fun and illuminating speaking to Andrew, but just before I hang the phone up, Dice makes a brief appearance.

“As far as kangaroo-fucking the girls,” he says with a Diceman laugh, “let’s see what happens.”

Can’t wait for the show, man!

“You are going to love it,” he says seriously. “I promise.”

There you have it – one not to be missed.
Tuesday October 7th – CANBERRA, Royal Theatre
Wednesday October 8th – SYDNEY, Enmore Theatre
Thursday October 9th – SYDNEY, Enmore Theatre
Saturday October 11th – WOLLONGONG, Wollongong Town Hall
Sunday October 12th – MELBOURNE, The Palms at Crown
Tuesday October 14th – MELBOURNE, The Palms at Crown
Wednesday October 15th – MELBOURNE, The Palms at Crown
Friday October 17th – PERTH, HBF Stadium
Saturday October 18th – ADELAIDE, Thebarton Theatre
Sunday October 19th, GEELONG, Costa Hall
Friday October 24th – TOOWOOMBA, Empire Theatre
Saturday October 25th – GOLD COAST, Jupiters Theatre
Monday October 27th – NEWCASTLE, Civic Theatre

Category: Interviews

About the Author ()

Editor, 100% ROCK MAGAZINE

Leave a Reply

Please verify you\'re a real person: * Time limit is exhausted. Please reload CAPTCHA.

banner ad
banner ad