It is not easy to interview Andy Dick.
One of the most controversial comedians of the current century, LA-based entertainer Andy Dick’s reputation precedes him: notorious for bad boy antics that have gotten him in trouble with both audiences and the law, making him a staple of tabloids and the target of paparazzi, Andy Dick always seems to be a time bomb waiting to explode. As a result, Dick has become an enigma upon which the whole world seems to have divided opinions.
Launching his career into comedy in the early 90s as a cast member of The Ben Stiller Show, Dick was first noticed by the masses in the role of Matthew Brock on the NBC sitcom NewsRadio, with Phil Hartman and Dave Foley. With his brand of physical comedy and over the top antics, Dick became popular with viewers while maintaining a good working relationship with cast members. However, when Hartman was killed by his wife in a shocking suicide/murder in 1998, Hartman was replaced by comedian Jon Lovitz, who would go on to have a very public feud with Dick. NewsRadio was not able to survive the loss of Phil Hartman and was cancelled in 1999. Just after the cancellation, Andy had his first brush with the law when he wrapped his car around a utility pole. Police at the scene not only charged him with drunk driving, but also for the possession of cocaine. Agreeing to go to rehab, Andy completed an eighteen-month rehabilitation program, and things seemed to be on the rise for the funnyman.
In 2001 Andy got his own show on MTV, The Andy Dick Show, which ran for three years, and participated in MTV’s reality show spoof, The Assistant. At the same time he was with MTV, Andy also appeared on the ABC sitcom Less Than Perfect in the role of Owen Kronsky who, for better or for worse, was a carbon copy of his NewsRadio character, Matthew Brock. Making cameos in films such as Dude! Where’s My Car?, Zoolander, and Inspector Gadget, it seemed by the mid 2000s that Andy Dick was everywhere, and there was nowhere to go but up.
However, despite his brilliant comedic timing and his popularity with audiences, Andy Dick seemed to have demons brewing inside of him, and by the end of the decade his confrontations with the law began to bring him more notoriety than his career had done. Andy’s rap sheet of bad behavior continued to grow, with numerous charges including public intoxication, drug possession, sexual harassment, and drunk driving. Outrageous behavior often got him kicked out of clubs and off live television and his name began to carry a negative stigma that seems to have followed the cutting-edge comedian wherever he goes.
However, to every story there is another side: his fans and friends have called him brilliant, funny, and a victim of his demons. In and out of rehab on several occasions, Andy has been trying to rise above his addictions and reputation for years. With a brand new film, Division III: Football’s Finest, currently in theaters, Andy has taken to physical fitness as a way to stay healthy and sober, and reports say that he has been clean for ten months. However, stigmas are hard to forget, and both the public and the press still seem to be waiting for Andy to slip and fall.
During our conversation, I had the uncommon opportunity to see two faces of Andy Dick. Andy sits in a gray area between anger and sweetness. Sharp-tongued and bluntly honest, Andy’s word play is that of a man who severely distrusts the media. He is painfully aware of the way that the world sees him, creating a sense of extreme defensiveness. However, upon realizing that I was not out to crucify him the way other media sources have, Andy became less antagonistic, and his brand of shocking humor began to show between the cracks.
In a rare moment of blunt truthfulness, I was able to talk to Andy about a number of subjects ranging from the way he’s been treated in the press, to the way that his reputation has affected his career and fatherhood. Also, Andy revealed to me his side of the famous 2007 confrontation with Jon Lovitz at the Laugh Factory. There are two sides to every story. Now it’s time to listen to Andy Dick’s.
CONFESSIONS OF A POP CULTURE ADDICT PRESENTS
TWO FACES HAVE DICK:
A CONVERSATION WITH ANDY DICK
Sam Tweedle: Hi Andy. Thanks for talking to me today. How much time do you have today?
Andy Dick: I have a lifetime to talk.
Sam: Great. I was reading a report that stated that you are currently living in an ex-girlfriend’s back shed.
Andy: I live in your Mom’s shed.
Sam: (Laughs) Okay. Well, how distorted is this story? What is the truth to this story?
Andy: Your Mom has a nice shed.
Sam: Okay, well let’s go back a bit: when did you decide to first go into show business? Was there an instance when you realized that you were funny?
Andy: What a boring question. I’m not even going to answer that.
Sam: Okay Andy, let’s move on to something else then. Let’s talk about stigma. There is a stigma around you, Andy, and I want to know how that stigma affects your current life, and your current career, and how you plan to break the stigma surrounding you.
Andy: Your questions are long winded.
Sam: Yes, they sometimes can be.
Andy: Your question is like my answer.
Sam: Okay, I will paraphrase the question: how does the negative stigma surrounding your life affect your current career in Hollywood?
Andy: My stigma is my fucking business, okay? My stigma is my brand. Nina Hagen called me a philosopher. I’m not a comedian. I’m not an actor. Well… I guess I am an actor. I’m acting like I’m doing this fucking interview.
Sam: So you have a new reality show in the works. Can you tell me anything about that?
Andy: No. It’s not a done deal.
Sam: Okay. Then let’s talk about your new movie.
Andy: It just came out. It’s called Division III. The premiere was last night.
Sam: And how was the reaction to the film?
Andy: Fan-fucking-tastic. It was standing room only. People were buckled over laughing over the next joke. They were laughing too much. It was a shame how much they were laughing. You know I love Andy Kaufman? Well I pulled from his style. I really went nuts with the character. What I did was I hid behind the mask of a character. I create a character and then I can say whatever I want. That’s the great thing about being an actor. I don’t even know football. I hate it.
Sam: Now you have millions of fans out there who find you funny, but it seems that there have been more then one occasion where your off-beat sense of humor has not gone over well with the audience. Do you think that the problem is that some people don’t get your sense of humor, and that’s when people start saying bad things about you?
Andy: No. That is not true. No, you idiot: if someone watches my stuff they will laugh. The only time they talk about bad shit about me is when they don’t watch my stuff. It’s when they watch my personal life. The reason it’s called personal is because it’s me. It’s personal. When you watch my stuff it’s undeniable. Everybody laughs. I’m sorry. That’s where you are wrong, kind sir. Nobody ever says I’m not funny.
Sam: I didn’t say you weren’t funny.
Andy: You said that people said I’m not funny.
Sam: I said that sometimes people don’t get your sense of humor.
Andy: Well that’s not true at all.
Sam: What do you think is the biggest misconception that the public has about you?
Andy: There are no misconceptions. They are all right.
Sam: You honestly believe that?
Andy: They’re all true. What you read and see and believe is true.
Sam: I don’t believe it’s true. I don’t believe what the media says is necessarily true at all. It usually isn’t.
Andy: It’s all true. Fuck it. But guess what? They all still want to hang out. They all want to come up and see me, don’t they? They all still want a taste of the Dick.
Sam: And what do you think the reason for that is?
Andy: It’s fascinating. In a word.: fascinating. You’re supposed to write that part.
Sam: Well I know what I think. I want to know what you think.
Andy: Well I want to know what you think.
Sam: You want to know what I think? I’ll tell you what I think. What I believe is that you are a guy who has lived hard, worked hard, has abused, has been abused, and when the press sees a speeding, out of control train wreck, they want to beat up on it over and over again without knowing the truth behind the person the story is about. That is what I truly believe.
Andy: Well, you’re right. You’re right on all levels. You’re right, you’re right, you’re right. And you know what? I love H.R. Pufn’stuf.
Sam: I also love H.R. Pufn’stuf. That’s something we both have in common.
Andy: Yeah. I think we’d become fast friends. When are you coming out to LA?
Sam: I don’t know. Hopefully in May.
Andy: Well hurry up. What if I die before then?
Sam: Well I’ll be incredibly sad, but I’ll visit your grave and put tulips on it. How does that sound?
Andy: Awwwwww. That’s so sweet. I love it. Look, it’s a struggle just to stay alive for everybody. Not just for myself. I can only speak for myself, and it’s a fucking struggle.
Sam: Have you hit rock bottom? Is it all up from here?
Andy: Rock bottom? Who said that? There is only one way, and that is up. When you’re at where I’m at then, yeah, there is only one way and that is up.
Sam: Now I know you’ve been through some rough times…
Andy: They may be rough for you. I’m fine. I love that you’re feeling the pain that I should be feeling. Trust me. I’m fine.
Sam: So when you wake up in the morning what is it that gets you through the day?
Andy: My kids. I wouldn’t be alive if I didn’t have kids.
Sam: How old are your kids?
Andy: Your Mom’s age. (Laughs) They’re twenty-four, seventeen and fourteen. God I’m getting old. I have girlfriends younger then my kids.
Sam: Do you and your kids ever double date?
Andy: Well my twenty-four-year-old son, Lucas, and I fucked the same girl.
Andy: Accidentally. No, for real. It wasn’t at the same time. It wasn’t a threesome. No. She was my girlfriend, and then she stole him…well…it’s really convoluted. Well, you know what I said to him? I gave him a high five. I thought, “Good job buddy.” Let me tell you something else, now that we’re on the same subject: one time Lucas’ current girlfriend was living with this other girl. Well, what Lucas didn’t know is that I had not only befriended the roommate, but we had started going out. One morning, after we had both slept over at their house, and didn’t know each other were there, he woke up to me in my underwear in the kitchen. It was good.
Sam: Now I know that you’re a pretty fit guy. You’re in great shape. You run everyday.
Andy: Yeah, I run for an hour everyday. I run my ass off. I’m running for my life.
Sam: Well, if that’s true, then how is it that Jon Lovitz could get the upper hand on you? Did he, or is it just the way the press spun that story? What is your version of what happened the night that you and Jon Lovitz squared off?
Andy: Nothing happened.: I have witnesses that will state that. My son was with me. [Lovitz is] just an idiot. He was trying to use me to get press. I’m done talking about that moron. He pushed me and I started laughing. When Jon Lovitz pushes you it’s like a cartoon. You’ve got to laugh. I thought he was kidding. That was it, and he used it for PR.
Sam: So despite the chaos in your life, you have a new film and a possible television project. This could be a new beginning for you. This could be wave three in your career. How are you planning to propel this success to rule the world?
Andy: So your money is that I’m going to rule the world. I love that. Thank you for saying that. Just let me do my thing and you’ll see.
Interviewing Andy Dick was one of the most challenging moments of my career. Andy could often be infuriating, but he could also be endearing. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to punch him or hug him. Probably somewhere in between. I believed that Andy was genuine during our conversation. He said what was on his mind, and never held back. This wasn’t giving another generic interview. Andy was completely involved in our conversation, challenging me every step of the way. After our talk Andy had taken so much energy out of me that I needed to take two Advils and lie down. But after experiencing Andy Dick, I did kind of like him. Andy is a troubled man who continues to suffer from years of drug and alcohol abuse. I got the sense that Andy is a man who desperately wants to be happy. He has had a career making people laugh, and hopefully, if we just let him do his thing, the laughter will return louder and stronger then ever.
POP CULTURE ADDICT NOTE: I want to thank the ever lovely Giddle Partridge for arranging my talk with Andy Dick. Giddle, I love you for your kindness, your creativity, your strength, your loyalty and your boldness. Both Andy and I are lucky to have you as a friend. I am sending you all my love and gratitude.