Q&A: Andrew Dice Clay
Andrew Dice Clay experienced stratospheric highs and soul-crushing lows during the course of his career, but his supporting role as Lady Gaga’s father in the latest remake of A Star Is Born could help him reach a new height as an actor. He’s still a stand-up guy though, as he explained to Las Vegas Magazine’s Matt Kelemen by phone while driving in LA weeks before his April 27-29 run at the Laugh Factory inside Tropicana.
How’s the traffic, Dice?
You know what? LA drivers? The worst. They’re the worst. You can drive through Manhattan, you know how they drive. They just make it happen. Not here, not in LA.
You just reminded me about a clip I saw where you said, “LA drives me nuts with how people cross the street without looking both ways.”
They cross the street and they don’t look both ways. It’s like unreal to me. You’ve got 5,000-pound trucks coming at you and you’re not looking because you’re on Instagram.
I don’t get it.
I had a big discussion about this with my son Max last night, and he’s a young guy. He’s 27. Whatever people are looking at on their phone, that’s what they believe reality is. That’s their reality. That’s how they live. With the new language, with the new behavior … I’m not even trying to be funny at all right now. I’m just telling you how it is. You know, when they’re calling each other “besties” and instead of saying “totally” they say “totes.” And you’re like, “What are you talking about?” I was actually talking to a tough guy, an out and out gangster. And this guy said—and this is in front of a bunch of tough men—he goes, “Me and some of my besties are going down to Cancun.” I never called the guy again. I just never called him. I’m going, “You’re kidding, with what you just said.” But that’s the world they’re living in today. I can’t do it. I can’t live in it like that. I can be on Instagram, but forget that sh*t. I’m not with any “besties.”
You make pretty good use of Instagram, though. I didn’t even recognize you when you did your Sammy Davis Jr. for your Telephone TV posts. I had to sit there for a second and wonder if that was you or you were recording somebody else.
No, no, no. That’s me.
Your Sammy Davis Jr. is great.
Well, I started out doing impressions, but uh, I love the Instagram thing. As you can see there have been some problems because I never did my own social media. I’m doing it because I’d rather interact with the fans. I’d rather entertain them than pay some company to tweet and bullsh*t. I’m never gonna get it. … I would never waste my breathing time, my life time, following anybody I have no use for. When I get that (trolled) I go to their site, and I don’t hold back. I’m the worst. I’m way worse than anything I say on stage. And then they get reported, and then some of them wind up in jail because it’s stalking.
Yeah, I saw you referring to that on Instagram. Some guy from Minnesota?
We’re all monitored on some level. When a celebrity … and there’s more than one way to do it, when you block someone and you report them, if there is any kind of bad sh*t going on, you now go to authorities. And those authorities do track those people and their sites, and everything they have electronically. And if they make any kind of move, you know, it could be a 16-year-old kid that doesn’t understand, you could go to jail for this sh*t. So I try to warn them. And this thing was going on for a little while with this person. I get him two-and-a-half years in jail and I couldn’t care less if they fry him because I’ll always warn someone first. I’m just doing this for entertainment. It’s fun. You communicate with your other comic friends. There’s certain things on Instagram I put that … you know, I try to put the history of Dice, real factual things that would be very interesting. And then the crazy day-to-day sh*t, and then stuff blown out of proportion just to make them laugh.
Did you have an actual stalker recently? Did it get resolved?
Yeah, it got resolved. I mean, that guy will probably get out after a year and a half, but who the f*ck wants to be put in jail? I’m not the guy you want to come after.
I just didn’t know if it happened after you had the stent put in or before. When you said “two-and-a-half-years in jail,” I figured that guy must have been on you for a while.
I’m just using words. I don’t get physically upset, like when you’re arguing with your wife or girlfriend and your pressure goes up. It’s just like, “This cocksucker’s gotta learn a lesson,” and that’s it.
It’s good that you’re putting this out now. When A Star Is Born comes out your social media profile is going to have an uptick for sure. More people are going to be paying attention to you.
You know what? Any day I lose a fan is a good day. I could care less. I’ve been cooking for the last 10 years again with everything from Entourage to Woody Allen, Scorsese and my own show, and now A Star Is Born. I’m on Hap and Leonard starting next week on the Sundance network. That’s gonna be a pretty great show. I mean, my part is nice. It’s a little character arc thing, but I think people will enjoy the show.
What kind of character do you play?
I’m a DJ, like a radio guy. And it’s interesting because I get to switch up between the Brooklyn guy and my on-the-air persona, which is sort of from the South. It’s always fun to do.
It’s set in the ’80s too, right?
Yeah. It’s just a great show. They put me in the cowboy gear. It’s cool. And A Star Is Born is a remake, which I did with Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga. Looking forward to that.
Yeah, you’re cast as Lady Gaga’s “very Italian” father. It kind of just fits.
Well, what’s great it she’s great. That’s what I like. What I mean by great is she did a great job acting, but also just, as a human being, she’s top notch. I love her.
Did you have good chemistry with her?
Yeah, it doesn’t get more down to earth than her. She’s the biggest pop star in the world, basically. There’s only a few, you know? It could mess with your head, but she always has her family around, just like I did when I went through the roof. What did I do, 12 million people in concert? That’s never happening again. Maybe it’ll happen in the computer age. I did it when those things did happen. I broke down those walls to go into arenas and coliseums. So when I see it today it’s like, “Wow, look! I influenced the whole world.” With that stuff I don’t have anything to prove. I’m more into the acting stuff.
Did Bradley Cooper want you for this role?
Yes. Yeah! … We just had a meeting in his office. I met him … I’ll try to make a long story short. I had everything to do with putting Guns ‘N’ Roses back together, so I went to their first show. My boys have a band called Still Rebel, which is real rock ‘n’ roll, so my son, who’s now 27, he’s the drummer of the band since he was 15 he would tell me, he goes, “Dad, you know you’re the only one who can put that band back together.” So when I saw what my boys were doing, in my mind I was like, “Alright, we gotta bring rock ‘n’ roll back in a bigger than life way.” And I was always close with Gun ‘N’ Roses, so I actually physically went to work on piecing them back together. I was glad they got together, just putting rock ‘n’ roll back out there. Now L.A. Guns is doing it, which I love. They’ve got a new album. It’s great to see, and that helps my sons’ band, which is reminiscent of the ’70s rock, the ’80s rock. Melodic rock ‘n’ roll.
So anyway, I went to the first show of Guns ‘N’ Roses at the Troubadour in Hollywood, and I took my boys. It’s the only show I’ve gone to. It’s the only show I need to see because I want to see their first (Gun ‘N’ Roses) show together. And they were phenomenal. The whole club probably holds 400 people. So I was up in the V.I.P. section, and when I was leaving near the end of the show Bradley Cooper was sitting near the end of this bench and I just stopped for … I didn’t even stop. I just said, “I just wanted to tell you, you were great in American Sniper. I follow your career.” And he was with his mother, who grabbed me and said, “Wait a minute, not so fast.” She goes, “You don’t know what you mean to our family.” And I go “Thank you, I’m a big fan. I followed your son’s career since Wedding Crashers, and I just think he’s a terrific actor.” She goes, “How many times were you at The Spectrum?” You know, the Philadelphia Spectrum. And I go, “Three times.” She goes, “We were there two out of the three times.” And Bradley, he was kind of quiet that night. He’s a real gentleman. He’s a real nice, nice guy. So anyway, here I am a few months later. I wind up in his office at a studio, just talking to him, OK? And I’m talking mostly about my sons because he was about to have a child. No matter what’s going on in my career, I don’t give a f*ck really, my biggest accomplishment to me is the way I brought my boys up, because we went through a lot, and they’re the nicest guys. They could rock their asses off, but they don’t act like rock stars. They don’t rip all the hotels apart and all the bullsh*t. That was on a Friday. The next day I get a text from Bradley, if I could meet Stephanie, which is Lady Gaga’s real name, and I go to the studio in Hollywood where she was recording music for A Star Is Born, and that was really cool just hanging out, me and her. Then he showed up and he had us go in another music studio and just sort of improv some scenes out of his movie. Not to learn lines, because I didn’t know it.
Right. That was on a Saturday. Monday night he called me to offer me the role of her father, because I’m just nonchalantly talking about my boys and my love for my boys, and guiding my sons, so I guess it was registering in his head, “Who would be a better father than Dice for Lady Gaga in A Star Is Born?” … I got nothing to prove with the acting thing. I did my sitcom for two seasons, which was fun, but honestly—and there were some pretty great episodes, but they didn’t take my ideas. The schedule was too short, like to film the episodes. And the second yeah I was doing A Star Is Born at the same time I’m doing my series. Next thing I know I’m in a hospital in Vegas with a heart attack.
How long did it take before you got back onstage after you went in the hospital?
Three months. I had to relax for a month before I could exercise, and then like a crazy man I got into … you know, there are these mountains in LA I would go up, and the gyms and just putting my body together, because I’ve gotten into a lot of stuff. I’ve had operations on my shoulder from exercise, my knee. I’ve had all kinds of sh*t, you know? I’ve got a f*cked-up eye, but I adapt to everything, and now performing again. I’ve got all this great new fresh material that people are eating up. In Vegas especially I got nothing to prove, because when I went back into Vegas, I literally was in the back of a sushi restaurant at the Palazzo, OK? You know, it’s like 50 seats. And I would tell my sons at the time, they were little, "Wait until I step on the gas pedal." So it’s sort of a celebration to me, because on the road I’ll do up to 4,000 seats, but any comic will tell you there’s nothing better than a club situation. When I’m at the Laugh Factory now in Vegas, the beauty is nobody can get in. Every show’s sold out. Gone. So when you’re in a sushi restaurant with no acting career, and now today people are saying you should win awards and wherever I perform, it’s just sold out, that’s pretty unbelievable.