Andrew Dice Clay is trying to get used to his success — for the second time.
The raunchy comedian, born Andrew Clay Silverstein, whose sexually charged and confrontational stand-up act elevated him to fame (and infamy) in the late ’80s and early ’90s, has experienced a career revival since guesting on the final season of TV’s “Entourage” in 2011.
Since then, Clay starred opposite Alec Baldwin and Cate Blanchett in Woody Allen’s latest movie “Blue Jasmine,” a role that garnered him critical acclaim after the film’s release last month. Even more recently, Clay has heard from playwright David Mamet about a possible future project.
Andrew ’Dice’ Clay
WHEN: 8 p.m. Wednesday
WHERE: The Egg, Empire State Plaza, Albany
HOW MUCH: $59.75, $49.75
MORE INFO 473-1845, www.theegg.org
Now, on the heels of the DVD release of his first stand-up special in 17 years, Showtime’s “Indestructible,” Clay is hitting the road — he’ll be at The Egg on Wednesday night. He’s no stranger to touring — even as his star waned in the 2000s, he continued to perform at clubs across the country. But now that Clay is back to doing larger theaters, he’s found himself needing to adjust to the enthusiastic reception.
“If Seattle was any kind of indication, it’s gonna be tough,” Clay said recently, driving himself home to Los Angeles after said Seattle gig. “It’s just that kind of mania again. It’s — this whole resurgence that I talk to journalists about is pretty intense. The fans have been pretty intense. But it’s fun, you know; it’s like a redo.”
Digging what he’s doing
Still, Clay, who was the first comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden two nights in a row, has found it easy to slip back into his “Dice” persona, first introduced in the 1984 film “Making the Grade.” Most surprising has been the audiences, often much younger because of the increased attention from “Entourage.” He’s also found more women at his shows — surprising for a comedian who was often accused of misogyny in his heyday, even being “banned for life” from MTV following a performance of one of his most popular bits, his adult nursery rhymes, at the 1989 Video Music Awards (the ban was lifted in 2011).
“You have this whole new generation of fans that I’ve crossed over to ever since ‘Entourage’ — you’ve got fans that have been with me for 25 years, but then you’ve got people who have only been into me for the last three years and are seeing this stuff for the first time, so they’re pretty excited about it,” Clay said. “What’s crazy is that the women are crazier than the guys now — they’re flashing me. It’s crazy [stuff]. When years ago it was written — all that stupid stuff — and now women have come so full circle and are not afraid to show how they feel.”
Clay’s role in “Blue Jasmine,” his first film role in 12 years and first dramatic turn, has also brought some of Allen’s audience to the stand-up shows. “It’s nuts — they have more of an intellectual crowd, but they’re just digging what I’m doing,” he said.
Proud of performance
Allen approached Clay for the role of Augie, ex-husband of Sally Hawkins’ character Ginger, after having seen him in “Entourage.” Clay had always wanted to do a dramatic role. The Brooklyn native balanced film and TV acting and stand-up comedy in his ’80s and ’90s heyday.
“I hadn’t done this kind of role ever — it’s a very heavy film, and I just enjoyed doing it,” Clay said. “You don’t know until you see the finished product, but Woody was really happy with me, with the work I did, and he did tell me it. Nothing is gonna make you feel better than that.”
Working with Allen and the rest of the cast was intimidating for Clay at first.
“I mean, to me the movie, number one, is a hit. You have great people in it — when you’re playing against people like Alec Baldwin, Cate Blanchett and Sally Hawkins, it’s just mind-boggling,” Clay said. “Once you get over that, you can do your role, but that never got old to me. When you meet certain stars from film that you look up to — I don’t look at myself like, ‘Well, you’re a star’; I don’t do that stuff. I’m like, I can’t believe I’m meeting this person, hanging out with this person, and they’re just top-notch. So I came up to speed for it.”
In some ways, Clay’s long period of absence from the spotlight was his own doing, as he purposefully stepped away from acting roles or larger stand-up gigs to raise his sons, Max and Dylan. With his sons now grown and following their father into show business — the two are in a band, L.A. Rocks, that opened for Clay’s “Indestructible” special — Clay has been able to focus more on his career.
“I always prepared for a resurgence — I’m doing a book now with David Ritz [‘The Dirty Truth,’ due out in May], and we wrote a version of it 12 years ago knowing that sooner or later, once I rear my kids up, I would throw myself back into the business to try to accomplish some unfinished business,” Clay said. “I wrote the book, I worked on new material through the years. The process was pretty easy for me, because I always have been into my stand-up. By the time I did the special, I mean, I had it down.”
“Indestructible,” which Clay describes as “the ultimate rock ’n’ roll stand-up special,” combines new material with classic Clay bits, including the infamous nursery rhymes — at one point, Clay sings a song with his sons’ band, a throwback to his early career as a musician in the Catskills.
“There was no compliment greater than [from] Joan Dangerfield, who was Rodney’s wife, obviously — she said it was flawless, and how proud Rodney would be of it,” Clay said.