Despite being the subtext of his 2016 Showtime comedy “Dice,” by this point, actor-comedian Andrew Dice Clay must be sick of hearing critics call his latest spate of good fortune a comeback.
“I didn’t go anywhere for this to be a comeback,” says the 58-year-old comedian.
Now after several seasons away from gigs in major arenas — the last few years have seen him co-starring in Woody Allen’s “Blue Jasmine” and the HBO series “Vinyl” from Martin Scorsese — Clay is back to his old tricks: a silly, menacing live stand-up comedy routine.
“When I’m on stage, I’m the producer, the director, the writer — I can do it exactly how I see fit. No rules. That’s what I love about live performing,” says Clay, who, in the ’90s, became the first comedian to sell out Madison Square Gardens two nights in a row.
“I can even smoke cigarettes, which is something I can’t do standing in front of Starbucks, where people ask me to put it out. I can get away from the pressures of life. I can just enjoy being around a crowd of people laughing.”
Before the jokes start rolling at his Sunday show at the Keswick Theatre, we talked to Clay about his role in “Vinyl” and not being seen as “a complete animal” anymore.
You wrote an autobiography “The Filthy Truth,” did you get everything off your chest?
What’s going on in my real life, which is closer to the series, picks up where the book left off like six years ago.
You had to have watched guys like Buck Rogers [the character Dice plays in “Vinyl”] when you were coming up?
Yeah, all kinds of studio executives and radio jocks back then were like him — the long hair, the mutton chops, the energy. Everything was drugs and booze fueled. They’d be talking rationally one second and the next they’re flipping out and you don’t know why.
Is it fair to say that coming up as a comic, that you were more into rock ’n’ roll than fellow stand-ups.
I was more into music, period. Since I was a kid, I grew up as a drummer and was into guys like Buddy Rich and Gene Krupa — swing. When I got older, it was Chicago and Ohio Players — soul — that was the drumming I liked. I was never a great rock drummer.
You got banned from MTV and other places due to misogynistic language. Your relationship to women is better now. What happened?
I think in the last five years, the world of journalism has been good to me — on my side. When I do interviews, they’re not just writing about my act, they’re writing about me. They’re writing about my thoughts. People see a more rounded me. I always told journalists that the stage thing was an act, that I had kids and was a devoted dad. Journalists didn’t write about that though. Now, people get that I’m not a complete animal, that when I’m onstage, I’m exploding these cartoon images of sexual acts and such just to shock the audience, just for the goof of it.
Plus you make fun of yourself now, your life, which you never did in the past.
True. As I get older, I am more self-deprecating. Now I can pick on things that we go all through together.