He was right.
You do have expectations when someone tells you that you’re about to have one on one time with Andy Dick. Impropriety, boorishness and obnoxiousness are all things that spring eternal when you only have public perception to go off of.
True, if you’re doing your due diligence you can see that not all of Andy’s past can be written off to superfluous exaggerations that can be easily erased. He’s deserved a lot of it.
However, the roast for William Shatner has been a watershed in Andy’s recent past with regard to what the power of the written word can do to a person. A writer for the New York Post’s notorious Page Six gossip column detailed an out-of-control Andy that “groped” “tried to kiss” and “proclaimed his love for her” before finally “urinating in front of the horrified journalist.” It’s hard to defend one’s self against something like this but even though Andy goes on to explain what happened below, his language befitting his defense; it really is Andy’s suggestion to investigate the writer’s personal blog that opened my eyes to something genuinely pathetic.
The woman who supposed herself to be horrified by this whole situation has turned her audio of the situation into comedy and even employs her friends to “act out” the transcript in what I can only assume is supposed to be something amusing, funny even.
It’s embarrassing. The woman makes a mocks of her own stupidity in thinking it would be hilarious to get all her cronies on a stage and make something out of a drunken moment that, even if true, is more sad and personal than anything else. This isn’t so much about exploiting this moment for whatever it’s worth but it’s a glaring reflection of this woman as a professional. Jayson Blair she’s not but it’s a shame to know that a woman who has such an impressive resume of popular periodicals she’s written for treats the profession of a writer, the very thing she touts as being so important to her, with as much regard as a vampire would give to a fattened sow.
Now, while the above incident stokes some of Andy’s emotional embers, we had to break this interview up over two days only because we had to stop after he vented regarding what happened that night, Andy was perhaps one of the most engaging interview subjects I’ve had the pleasure to talk to this year. His blend of honesty and irreverence makes him vulnerable, to be sure, but it’s a rarity.
You’ve got to give it up for a guy who helped push Ben Stiller into the pop cultural zeitgeist, who assisted a Kid in The Hall to make one of the better sitcoms ever produced by NBC and made an honest living over on ABC for so many years. It’s hard not to give thanks for a guy who works so well within the fabric of comedy and still finds the strength to fight the market forces that would rather see an obnoxious version of a persona he is trying to shed. True, public incidents have threatened to chip away at what he’s built over these years but it’s his tenaciousness that’s going to keep him around for a long time.
Watch for Andy Dick’s directorial debut this winter when DANNY ROANE: FIRST TIME DIRECTOR comes to theaters and as it lands on DVD. I caught up with Andy just as he was talking to someone other than me.
CHRISTOPHER STIPP: What are you working on?
ANDY DICK: We’re writing a pilot and [the people I'm working with] have a lot of questions.
CS: What’s the pilot for if I could ask?
DICK: Comedy Central. I’m writing it longhand and they have to translate my hieroglyphics to the computer.
CS: Is it really that bad?
DICK: Yeah, because I think faster than I write.
CS: I know when you talked with Howard Stern last week regarding how well you’re doing since rehab are you finding your thoughts are coming to you quicker, cleaner?
DICK: Yup, oh yeah. Hell yes.
I bounce back surprisingly fast but it’s not like I’m shoting up heroin in a drug den or passed out on a big, black whore in a downtown LA crack house. Hey, I’m not sayin’ I’m too good for that. I’ve just never been invited to a good crack house.
CS: And this brings up a great point: is it odd to have so many people, the public, know so much about your personal life?
DICK: Yeah, that was probably a bad move on my part.
I know a lot of people in the industry with bigger demons than me, but you would never know it because they do a good job of keeping it under wraps. They do and their team does. My team, Team Dick, threw in the towel years ago, and it wasn’t really a towel to begin with. It was more of a cum rag.
Hollywood is riddled with addicts of all colors: drug addicts, sex addicts, gambling addicts, perverts, freaks and weirdoes. And I’m still talking about Team Dick, which of course I’m not only the president but I’m also a member. You know I’m just kidding, except for the cum rag part.
CS: And it seems like when you were talking with Howard last week that the relationship you’re forging with your son is helping you a great deal.
DICK: He’s a shining light in my life. He’s really a good kid.
CS: And was he there during the infamous Shatner roast?
DICK: He was in the audience.
CS: And for those not in the know about what was alleged in Page Six about what happened following the roast how did the events get so blown out of proportion?
DICK: Well, what do you think happened?
CS: From what I read it said you had openly urinated on the floor.
DICK: No, no, no. That’s such a lie. That girl came into my dressing room uninvited.
She’s a non-working stand-up comic; an unfunny, self-proclaimed, stand-up comic looking like a ravenous wolverine hunting for material.
She saw an easy target, his name was Andy Dick, and she forced her way into my dressing room past my friends. She’s cute so she was able to charm her way in, sit in the main chair in the room and hold court with the rest of my friends where she wowed everyone with her fake cuteness, her saccharine sweet smile, and the cunty way about her.
She then, after partying with us, drinking, having fun, doing whatever with my friends, and then announced that she is doing an article…she’s a Page Six reporter. And then, when I heard that, I said, “Oh, you gotta help me out over there. They’re so mean. They’re constantly raking me over the coals. You can see we’re just having fun, we all are, we’re laughing, we’re having fun.” She’s laughing, she’s having fun, she’s flirting with my guy friends, she’s pretty much slutting her way around my dressing room, like I said, holding court with all my guy friends.
I’m trying to explain to her, “You’ve got to help me. You can see I’m not doing drugs, we’re all drinking. You’ve got to write something. You can see I’m a nice guy.” I was really trying to toot my own horn and prove that I was nice. I went into the bathroom, which is over towards the door and around the corner, the toilet’s way around the corner, you can’t even see the door from where she was sitting, let alone the toilet. I left the door open and as I’m peeing I say out loud, “I’m leaving the door open so that you know I’m not doing drugs in here. That’s how important this is that you write something nice about me.”
So, even my best efforts to show, to appear that I’m doing well, which I wasn’t at my best, I was drinking, and by that point I was probably even half-crocked, she turned that into that I peed on her, you say I peed on the floor, I didn’t pee on the floor, I peed in the toilet, with the door open, where no one could see so that she could tell that I wasn’t doing any kind of drugs because I wasn’t.
If I ever see her now that I haven’t been drinking and I have my wits more about me, if I ever run into her again I would kick her in the cunt if I didn’t think it would ruin my shine. And that’s a quote from Michael O’Donoghue from Saturday Night Live when he was upset about being cut out of a cast and crew picture.
You can see I’m a little angry.
CS: And rightfully so.
DICK: Thank you, I agree.
One girl, single-handedly, one comic, non-working, un-funny, because I’ve listened to some of her stuff on MySpace, one comic almost single-handedly took me out at the knees and it did major major damage.
Now, I didn’t need any help to figure out I needed to sober up. I was taking a break, I had just finished months before the roast, Less Than Perfect got cancelled, and I was taking what I call a mini-vacation. I was drinking, taking a vacation, and I knew I was going to sober up before I started working on the Comedy Central pilot. I didn’t need any help from this girl. I can take myself down to my own bottom.
CS: Well, why do people like her exist to perpetuate disinformation?
DICK: Everyone loves to read about someone else who’s doing horribly. It makes them feel better. Even I do. It’s very hard for me but I do not read the tabloids. They’re right in front of my face when I’m buying something at Whole Foods, and I just do not pick them up. I want to, I want to see that weird picture of Nicole Ritchie running on the beach and she’s got folds of skin…it’s right there on the cover, you can’t get away from it. It’s so unfair but I’ve seen other pictures where she doesn’t have the cellulite. Which one is the untouched picture?
It’s so creepy but people love to read and hear about other people doing horribly. But in this particular case this woman, because I have people that report back to me from New York City, who have seen her live on stage at an open mic type of situation where she’s not getting paid, talks about me and, pretty much, takes her little story, expands upon it, and turns it into a little one woman show.
She’s just a fuckin’ bitch is what she is. She’s just a true, downright fucking needy desperate little whore bitch. And you can print that.
She’s a horrible person and those people are out there. She SOLD her shit, probably for 50 bucks, to Howard. And that’s why I was so mad at Howard that he would take that and he would do that. He would play it on the air and it’s like I wish I had a mini tape recorder so I could record, just a little bit, of Howard and his girlfriend having sex. I bet that would be really funny. But, I wouldn’t do that.
I would love to be able and record one one conversation that witch has had with her ex-boyfriend or her mother or herself when she’s talking into the mirror: “Who’s the cuntiest of them all?” We could play that on the radio for everyone to hear. It’s like, leave me alone. I don’t go after you and your pathetic life don’t go after me and my pathetic life. I can get to a place where things are pretty pathetic, I don’t need any help getting there…having it being spread all over the airwaves like bad Smuckers jam on moldy Wonder Bread. I ain’t milquetoast or middle of the road white bread, baby.
CS: Any way for retribution or a retraction…
DICK: There’s too much stuff out there…It’s impossible because it starts with the seed of truth. What am I going to do, hire lawyers to sue her? There’s just no point. That just keeps it alive, and then suddenly she has a career based on me trying to sue her. It’s a vicious circle. It just gives it more and more power. I’ve already given her too much power in this interview. I’m done. She’s dead to me. That’s the last you’ll hear about her except when I go to jail for kicking her in her dried-up, barren, rancid, smelly cunt.
DICK: Let’s do this…
CS: Let’s talk DANNY ROANE: FIRST TIME DIRECTOR.
DICK: What do you want to know?
CS: Well, it looks like your first foray into making your own film.
DICK: Yup, I wrote it, I raised my own money by going to the bank and taking it out my account, produced it, directed it, cast it, used all my friends in it and sold it to Lions Gate.
CS: Were you the one involved in pitching the movie to Lions Gate?
DICK: No pitch. I made the movie; shot it, directed it, edited it, had it all done and I just had to show them the final product. There was no studio involved. The movie was done and I showed it to a bunch of people. And then Think Films…You’ve heard of Think Films?
DICK: Think Films, they did THE ARISTOCRATS, they wanted to buy it, Lions Gate wanted to buy it, and a few other companies wanted to buy it, and I chose Lions Gate just because I just…they offered more money and I was in a movie, EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH, I was in that and it’s a Lions Gate movie and so I just wanted to stay in bed with them, so to speak. I’m about to go pitch them a movie now, the normal way. Where you pitch it and then write it and develop it and I’m doing that next week.
CS: Were you at any kind of disadvantage when you made DANNY ROANE with regard to having to coordinate the schedules of the people I see that are in it, Jack Black, Ben Stiller, Maura Tierney, etc…
DICK: There were a lot of roadblocks and obstacles but I got through all of them. There are just tons and tons. There were so many that a normal person would just quit and stop but I had a great producer, Marshall Cook, who, every time I wanted to quit, would say, “Let’s just keep going.” We pushed through and pushed through.
We only shot for 12 days.
DICK: Yeah, we had some pick-up shots throughout the year and then we edited, we edited for a good 8 months, on and off, because I used 5 different editors, at different times, then the Avids were set up in my house and we really just did it on a shoestring budget and by the skin of our teeth.
CS: A lot of people have to go back and do re-shoots…Anything you thought you captured the first time and then it just didn’t happen to capture the way you wanted?
DICK: No, I have a lot of disappointments, but that’s how it is with any artist: “It could’ve been better.”
Could’ve been better but everything I’ve done in my life could have been done better. But, it’s a great great great movie and…could’ve done better.
CS: So you still want to make a second feature?
DICK: Oh yeah, this next one I am pitching…I’m going to write it, direct it and star in it as well. I want do one a year like Woody Allen. I love it. I love the process. It’s just like a painting; you constantly want to paint over it and repaint it and make it better. It’s like when I first learned how to do oil painting and I painted a picture and it was so beautiful but I kept tweaking it to the point where it was an ugly mass of globby crap. You can’t do that. It’s too easy to overwork something.
CS: That’s a great thing you’ve said because some of the greatest authors of literature, when they were still alive and had a chance to edit subsequent editions of their work, tweaked and revising. Is there a point where you can’t stop yourself or do you have to say, “This is as good as it’s going to be”?
DICK: I guess…that’s the most important part of director’s vision: just to know when to stop. Just to know when to say, “This movie is done. It’s as good as it can get,”
For what I shot, and the amount of money I had, DANNY ROANE is as good as it can be or I wouldn’t have stopped. I edited my little heart out till I said this movie isn’t going to get any better for what it is and for what I have shot. I can keep going back to add a little more, edit a little more but I can’t because I don’t have the money. You just have to stop. And that’s when the director becomes the artist. He has to make that creative decision. “Ok, now we’re done folks.”
And I’m not even really done because I have to take out a lot of the music that’s in it because I only paid for festival rights and now that it’s going to be a real movie…it’s going to be another $100,000, I found out, to buy the songs so I have to have friends write songs, I have to write songs, I need to find cool indie bands that don’t have publishing deals yet because I don’t have $100,000 in my pocket to pay for all the great songs I picked out. Everything from Ween, Tom Waits to Nick Drake. I just don’t have the money.
CS: Does that change the vibe of the film? When you’ve obviously scored it in your head…
DICK: Of course…My goal is to make it even better, of course. I’m not going to cheapen it. I’m going to find songs that, in my head, make it better, obviously. I’m not setting out to make it crappier.
I’m going to take my time…really sift through lots of music that people are giving me. I’m going to find the right songs. I’m going to have a kick-ass soundtrack and it’s going to be better than the original one because the original music was a lot of afterthought, “Oh, by the way, we need music.” And I quickly gathered all my favorite songs, not worrying right then and there how much it was going to cost me.
Now, it’s time to worry about that.
CS: And when is DANNY ROANE going to come out?
Hopefully, sometime next year. Beginning of next year. January, February, something like that, on DVD. We might have a small theatrical opening, New York, LA.
CS: Excellent. And now, I hate to switch gears so fast, but because I know you don’t have that long I’d like to know more about The Shit Show you did on Sirius.
DICK: Oh good. Now THAT’S something we can talk about at length because that’s happening right now.
I’m actually in negotiations with both Sirius and XM so it’s kind of like DANNY ROANE where I was talking to Think Films and talking to Lions Gate.
I have a relationship with Howard Stern and he…we already did a pilot episode [on Sirius] that was an hour long, and that was two Tuesdays ago, at 10 o’clock at night or something like that. And it went really well and they were trying to make a deal with me but the money is so low, it’s laughable.
And I called XM and said, because I had been doing some interviews on their stations, “Would you guys like me to a do a show for you?” Because I had so much fun doing the show [on Sirius], it was so easy, and they kind of sweetened the pot a bit…they said, “Well, we’ll set up a studio in your house.” And I’m like if I have a studio in my house I wouldn’t mind doing a daily show which means, of course, more money, more fun and it could just be every night at like 10 o’clock from 10 to midnight. I think it should be from 11 to 1 because a lot of people go to bed between the hours of 11 to 1 so they could listen to it as they go to bed so I’m the last thing that they hear and they can dream about me all night.
CS: And what kind of content?
DICK: It’s hardcore.
I use it as a platform. It’s almost like therapy for me. I just basically…it’s a music show, one musical guest, and a big one, like we have the Flaming Lips lined up, the lead singer from the Flaming Lips, we’ve got Isaac from Modest Mouse, we’ve got people all lined up to do the show, Alanis Morissette, Dave Grohl, these are all the people that we’re going after, who are also my friends. Jack Black from Tenacious D, Jack and Kyle, both of them, and all of them always have an album to promote.
It’s hardcore but it’s fun. We’re going to say the word “shit” we’re going to say the word “fuck,” because that’s the way I talk. The show has three segments: sex, drugs and rock n’ roll. And I basically talk with this person, it’s kind of like absolving your sins, we’ll top each other’s stories. “Oh, you did that? Here’s what I did this one time…” And we just talk about things we’ve done in the past and either how we either regret them or how we’re apologetic about it…it’s an amends like in the 12-step program. There’s a step in there called making amends where you talk about things you’ve done in the past. You go to that person and if there’s an apology owed you make that apology.
I have people call in and one segment is “Andy Dick Owes You A Formal Apology” and there’s plenty of people who call in who say “You know what you did to my girlfriend” or “You know what happened one night ten years ago” and I either corroborate the story and give them a formal apology that is pre-taped, I just insert their name, so that’s kind of a joke, but it’s good to just clear, on a very mundane, base, level…it clears my past. I don’t see the person eye-to-eye but I feel good about it. When I did the show I just felt real good. I must have had 10 callers call in on that segment alone.
For the most part the time runs out really fast, I never want it to end, and the whole time the musician is acoustically playing background music and by the end we talk about what’s coming up for them and then they play one or two songs from their album. They can play covers. It’s really an awesome show.
CS: It seems, if I can say it, like a real un-Andy Dick from what people would probably expect…
DICK: Yeah, it’s EXACTLY what they don’t expect but it’s exactly who I am and who I’ve been for years. It’s just showing another facet of this sweet, precious diamond called Dick.
[I laugh again]
It’s just another facet. It’s just an untapped market that no one knows because I’ve always hung out with musicians. Most of my friends are musicians. I don’t have many actor friends. Most of my friends are musicians and writers and then a few directors but I don’t really have a lot of actor friends, I have a handful. I might have some shows where I bring on actor friends. I was just hanging out with Natasha Lyonne and I said, “You should be on the show.” Even though it’s a music show I might bring her on because she knows bands, that’s what I could do, because actors always like to hang out with musicians and vise-versa.
CS: It seems lo-key…
DICK: It’s totally lo-key and not publicized. No one really knows about it. You ask me when and where I don’t even know. The times change. I don’t even know what fuckin’ satellite station it’s going to be on but I really enjoy myself. Since I’ve done hundreds and thousands of talk shows in my 20 years in doing this business professionally, I’ve done so many, that it comes naturally to me. It’s just talking on the radio and it feels so freeing kind of like taking all of your clothes off and running down the beach; to be able and go on the airwaves and just not have a clamp on my tongue. I don’t have to cater to anybody. I can say and be whatever I want. I can talk about ANYTHING and that feels REALLY good because I am so trained like a little flea in a flea circus who is underneath a glass dome. I can only jump up so high. And then you remove that glass and I am just starting to get my sea legs in this format.
I found myself tentative to use the “f” word but that only lasts 5 or 10 minutes and then I was on a roll, I was just going nuts. Then it was hard for me to go back, I was doing interviews, normal interviews, I was on Loveline shortly after that and they not only had to bleep me because I used the “f” word accidentally, but they cut my mic off for like 3, 4 or 5 minutes as a punishment. And I’m like, “You’re not punishing me. I don’t care if you cut my mic off, you’re punishing the listening audience because they can’t hear me now.” So, yeah, they cut my mic off and so Dr. Drew and Stryker were talking while I was in the corner with the dunce cap on my head…because I said the “f” word.
So, it’s hard to go back and forth a little bit but it’s just a skill I’m going to have to hone.
CS: And people expect a certain kind of “Dickness,” if I may say so, and…
DICK: Yeah! They expect a certain vulgarity, a certain clowny goofiness but, to be honest with you, my roots are in grounded subtlety. My comedy roots really, believe it or not, are in grounded, subtle, almost sweet, and precious, comedy moments that are very real. Like Bob Newhart, Shelley Berman, Mike Nichols and Elaine May. I was trained at Second City and ImprovOlympic where the motto is, “Truth in Comedy.” The comedy there was very grounded in reality.
I was just recording an episode of the Simpsons yesterday, playing myself. They said to me…I just have one line…and I just basically am Andy Dick trying to fit into the Blue Collar Comedy Tour and my line is, “Oh, I’m blue collar, I’m totally blue collar, my dad owns a shovel.” And I did it just like that. Really quiet. And they went, “Um, ok. Bigger! You can’t be too big in a cartoon.” And I’m like, “Ok. I’m blue collar. I’m TOTALLY blue collar, my dad owns a SHOVEL!”
They’re like, “Really Andy Dick it up! Andy Dick it up! Bigger!”
“I’M BLUE COLLAR. I’M TOTALLY BLUE COLLAR, MY DAD OWNS A SHOVEL!”
And they’re like, “We love it.” What happens is the media, the people, the producers, the directors, the industry, the town, the audience, pushes you, pushes you, pushes you to be bigger, bigger, bigger. It’s up to the actor or the artist to say, “You know what? This is all you’re getting. Because this is how I want to be. This is how I want the character to be. This is all you’re getting.”
And that’s why, a lot of the times, the big actors are so great…they’re so subtle. But sometimes it’s just because being big or being excitable is not in their repertoire. They’re just too cool for school. But, other times, it’s because they’re great actors and they’re making a conscious choice to keep it real and keep it subtle. Once “the guys upstairs” see that you can do the big stuff they don’t want you to be subtle. They just want you to be big, loud and goofy.
I was watching Robin Williams last night on Leno. He started off funny and manic and he got more and more manic until, by the end, he was screaming so much and so loud that he popped his throat. You could hear that he hurt his vocal chords.
DICK: That’s what happens. The audience laughs at your manic-ness and they’re going to stop laughing unless you up the ante and go even more crazy and that’s a trap we fall into as comedians. We’re so desperate to get that laugh that we’ll just keep screaming louder, dancing harder and faster until we’re sweating and panting with blisters on our feet and vocal chords. Yeah, it’s a problem that I have.
I want to please people so bad, and I want to get that laugh, that I keep pushing myself but I prefer the quieter, subtler, sweeter moments.
I prefer the movie SIDEWAYS. I prefer the movie LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. I saw SIDEWAYS 10 times. I’ve seen LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE 3 times. I walked out of ANCHORMAN. I walked out on WEDDING CRASHERS. Don’t tell anybody, though, because the same producers produced EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH. I am not a big fan of that kind of comedy. That’s something you don’t know about me. You wouldn’t think that. You think the exact opposite. It’s part of my psychoses.
CS: Seeing how your best work really came through in NewsRadio, The Ben Stiller Show, The Andy Dick show on MTV, works that allowed you to control whether you needed to be more subdued or more energetic depending on the situation, are you really going to try and stick with this mantra that “This is my art. You can take it or leave it” and not succumb to the pressures for you to “Dick it up”?
DICK: Yeah, I’m trying.
I’ve been trying and I’m going to continue to try and I think I’m just getting better at it as I get older because I’m 40 but I think the way that it’s really going to work is I’m going to have to do my own stuff. And that’s what DANNY ROANE is all about…even DANNY ROANE is a little crazy but there is a lot of subtlety in DANNY ROANE but I can’t, all of a sudden, just bring it all down so much…I have to ease people, spoon feed them a little bit, ease them back into…EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH was that for me, to a point.
In fact, I read a review for EMPLOYEE OF THE MONTH where one of the critics said, “And then Andy Dick as Lon,” and in parenthesis, “(not manic for once.)” In parenthesis! I’ve got to get myself out of those fucking parenthesis.
CS: Thank you so much for your time.
DICK: Fuck you.
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