Andrew “Dice” Clay rolls out the laughs in Bridgeport
There was a time when Andrew “Dice” Clay was the biggest thing in comedy. It was back on New Year’s Eve entering 1989 when his stand-up special, “The Dice Man Cometh” aired on HBO, and nursery rhymes were never thought of in the same way again.
Dice went on to fill arenas and theaters like no comedian before him, becoming the first-ever stand-up to sell out Madison Square Garden.
As the years went on, his popularity waned, but he continued to do stand-up and the occasional film or TV gig.
Then things started to change and he was on the rise again. He had a memorable run on the final season of “Entourage,” got his own show on Showtime, was cast in what became a critically-lauded role in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and last year he wowed people again, playing Lady Gaga’s father in “A Star Is Born.”
But even though he’s in-demand as an actor now, he said he will never give up doing what he loves — stand-up. The Brooklyn-born comic will be coming to the Stress Factory in Bridgeport for three shows, 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 2 and 7:30 and 9:30 p.m. on Aug. 3, when you can expect the black jeans, leather vest, fingerless gloves, sunglasses and a cigarette dangling from his mouth.
Keith Loria: What keeps you coming back to clubs like the Stress Factory?
Andrew “Dice” Clay: It’s what I love. I call it “Club Dice” because I do a bunch of clubs and then I’ll move into some theaters. No matter how big a comic gets, there’s nothing better than being in the environment of just a club with the audience on top of you, so you can really get involved with them.
KL: You’ve played the Stress Factory in New Jersey numerous times over the years, and now you’re starting to perform at the Bridgeport location. How do you choose which clubs to play?
AC: You get to know these guys through the years, and they become friends. The only clubs I’ll do are those owned by guys like Vinny. These are places that are home away from home. I know where I’ll be going, who I’ll be hanging out with and it’s about loyalty.
KL: You’ve achieved some great acclaim for your recent movie roles in “Blue Jasmine” and “A Star Is Born.” What attracts you to a film and a part these days?
AC: It needs to be interesting. I was offered something this summer that would have taken the whole summer to shoot, and it just wasn’t for me. I don’t like being on a set that much; I’d rather be out performing. These shoots could be 15 hours a day so unless I really like the project, I’m not going to get involved.
KL: When “The Dice Man Cometh” aired, it set forth Dice-mania and you seemed to change the face of comedy, selling out Madison Square Garden two nights in a row.
AC: It was a moment in our country where this rock ’n’ roll comic was huge. I did over 300 arenas and it was great. In fact, I’m supposedly going back to the Garden in 2020 for the 30th anniversary celebration of the Garden. But at the time, there was no internet. People didn’t follow me. We would put an ad in the paper and we would sell out in 20 minutes. It was insanity. It created mania and that never happened before with a comedian. It was like the Lady Gaga of stand-up.
KL: There was a time when people thought that you were finished in this industry, but you came back just as strong.
AC: I had a huge resurgence starting with “Entourage.” I started to get the millennials on my side. Then the Woody Allen thing happened, then I worked with Martin Scorsese (on “Vinyl”), and you get all these new fans on top of the fans I had, and that makes you relevant again.
KL: Are there any other films you’re currently working on?
AC: There are some people writing my life story now and a number of people are interested in doing the biopic of Dice. That’s a pretty big project. And the Garden appearance will probably be filmed.
KL: In September, you and Roseanne Barr will set out on the “Mr. and Mrs. America Tour,” aiming to strike back at what you see as political correctness against comedians. How did this come about?
AC: I’ve known her for 33 years, I know she’s not a racist, so I told her to come to Vegas, and she came on stage and got a standing ovation, so I said, ‘let’s just start touring and who cares what anybody thinks.’ I ignore all the PC stuff going on in this world. I couldn’t care less. It’s how I always lived my life. I’ve always done, said and acted in the way I thought was appropriate. Didn’t people learn as a kid never to talk religion or have political conversations? It’ a no-win situation.
KL: Any other observations about life that might pop up in your act?
AC: Let’s talk Instagram. There’s this app now where you can make yourself look like an old person. What’s the joke here? Why is this funny? Just because they put it out there, everyone is doing it. And next they will come out with a young app where you look like you are 5 again. They can put anything out there and people will buy it. It’s dumbness. I may not be the smartest guy in the world, but the one thing I learned as a kid is to do things the way I see it. I’m smart enough to throw it in their face because I see what’s going on and that’s where the comedy comes from. I call it real, but it’s funny.