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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

A Roll Of The Dice Leaves You Laughing Hard




A potty-mouth, brash New Yorker who makes mysogenistic statements, had several failed marriages, lost a ton of money in casinos, was banned by a T.V. network, turns towards and not away from confrontation and controversy and seems like an explosion waiting to happen.  No, that is not a description of Donald Trump, but rather of comedian Andrew “Dice” Clay.

He’s back and on another meteoric rise that could take him to the top again.  I could even see him getting a Broadway gig, ala Jackie Mason, as a one-man show. Why not?

Not too long ago the one-time star was down in the dumps.  His hit career of the late 80’s and early 90’s was filled with a lot of negative press, accusing him of being a lousy role model, anti-gay, and a woman-hater.  But he also was loved by fans who filled sold-out arenas across America.  He was the first comic to perform at Madison Square Garden with back-to-back sell-outs. He even had a starring role in a movie and a network television show.  Then came lawsuits, divorce, big gambling losses and suddenly he virtually disappeared for a few decades.

A few years ago, his career was resurrected with a chance opportunity to do a season on HBO’s Entourage.  Then came a movie with Woody Allen, a Showtime show with Martin Scorcese, (Vinyl), a published memoir, and now his critically acclaimed comedy show on Showtime. He’s back touring the country – and it’s not little dumpy comedy clubs.  He’s a force that is rejuvenating middle-aged America like few comics can.

“We need each other,” said the Brooklyn-born comedian at a recent show in New Jersey’s Wellington Theater.  He was talking candidly to the audience.  He still needs the approval and respect of the fans – and their money – and we need to hear his un-PC take on life, relationships, manhood, and any stupid things that occur to the genius 58-year-old.

Some people don’t know what to do with him.  They secretly find him funny and admire the persona he’s created and sustained, or rather, resurrected.  Others buy into his act and take him too seriously and think that what he says is not acceptable even if it’s expressed in the form of a joke. But that’s the beauty of comedy – it’s a license to say what you want and let the audience decide what’s acceptable to laugh at.  Comics are merely mirrors to the mood and fears and biases of their audience.  They say what others think. They legitimize those feelings but keep them contained to the stage.

I don’t believe he’s all an act.  To do what he does and do it so well for so long, a part of him really is Dice, just like Howard Stern, on or off the air is one person.  But we can’t take Dice, Stern, and the like too seriously.  Let yourself laugh and not feel guilty for it.

We love comedy because it gives us insights into our lives and the society we live in.  It combines intelligence with wit, marrying truth with philosophy. It takes us from the ivory tower to the gutter and back.  Comedy’s only boundaries rest in the comic’s  imagination, his courage to express controversial thoughts, and the audience’s ability to understand, appreciate, or even tolerate such ideas.

Dice comes off as a regular guy, borderline victim to a world gone crazy with political correctness.  He also projects a near superhero-like character who can take on the world one put-down joke at a time. He wears his sleeveless leather jacket like a uniform.  The chain smoking and quirky, if not noisy, gyrations are all back, like a packaged time capsule that’s been unearthed just in time to save the world.

He’s an enigma to some, a piece of crap to many, but a true poet to millions of loyal fans who grew up with his x-rated nursery rhymes and advice on dating, marriage, and sex.  But when he comes to the stage, he takes command of it.  He’s in control and perfectly synergized with his understanding audience. They’re ready to laugh and he’s more than willing to spray them with his infectious venom.

When he concluded his show with the always-expected nursery rhymes, he seemed taken aback by how the audience mouthed the words along with him, as if they were at a rock concert and singing along to a classic hit.

“What did yuze do, rehearse?” he asks out loud, in that tough-guy posturing way of drawling his words out so that he emphasizes ev-er-y syll-a-ble with a certain cadence that forces you to hang on to every utterance.

Dice owns the stage. He no longer just tells crude jokes.  He tells a story. He narrates, impersonates, and puts things into perspective.  It’s his truth, his take on things – and people are buying in.  We’re on the verge of having the first woman president but he still gets laughs for sharing his desire to bang a young woman, dismiss the institution of marriage, and to discuss the details of a woman’s anatomy so graphically that it feels like he sees the world with x-ray vision.

Sure he can go too far.  That’s his job. He pushes boundaries.  He is refreshing yet familiar. He’s a comedic brawler, building up his character while embracing an imaginary opponent. The world’s his prop, and he’s ready to let loose. You think he’s been wild before but I think this time around he’s a smarter, more humbled caveman.  He’s hungry to get back to where he’s been, wanting to unleash his barrage of nasty thoughts into a wind that swirls at hurricane forces.

When you watch him on stage you feel liberated.  It’s your Rumspringa, your chance to live outside the normal box that you exist in.  Seeing him is like watching The Purge, the movie that allows for anarchy one day a year.  He lets you wander where you may have wanted to go but were never invited to enter.

Dice is a little bit like a magician, pulling off a great illusion that you know is not real but you scratch your head trying to figure out how it was done.  He spews all kinds of crazy garbage and you wish the world could be the way he sees it.  True, no one would be married and women would not like such a world, but Dice lets us climax to his fantasies.

I first saw Dice about 25 years ago, at the height of his career.  He really was on top of the world.  I had moved from our mutual home turf in Brooklyn to Florida the year before I saw him perform.  He’d come a long way from playing Pipps, a Sheapshead Bay comedy joint that gave him an early forum for his act.  

To now see him so many years later and find his energy and raw humor as good as ever was reassuring.  The world may be a bit unsettling, but we still have Dice to tell us how things should be.  He may not be running for president like Trump, but he can still lead us in ways he probably never expected.

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at brianfeinblum@gmail.com. He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2016


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