Last weekend, the laugh-starved packed into the Borgata’s 900-seat Music Box to see notoriously offensive late-’80s comedy loudmouth Andrew Dice Clay try to recapture his star that plummeted so long ago. But in an age where we’ve seen it all online and been shocked into complete desensitization, does he have a chance?
Andrew Dice Clay with Jim Florentine at the Borgata, August 23rd
Strengths: The Diceman is a gifted performer and one who still generates enough interest after all these years — during which he apparently spent some time managing a gym — to convince throngs of people to pay $65 a head to see him. He’s developed a strong character, a straight-talking misogynistic pig of a man that is easy to love or at least love to hate. We sit at the edge of our seats, waiting for him to say something that evokes a squirming "No he did not" response. And he’s updated his set a bit, getting away from the "Hickory dickory dock, some chick’s been sucking my cock" stuff and throwing in some post-’80s topics like cell phones (it’s true, you never do hear the other end of the "Can you hear me now?" conversation), Sex and the City ("that redhead, what’s her name? Morinda? Now that chick has some concave tits"), and the influence of internet porn on the modern woman ("If one more chick spits on my dick … what’s with that?").
Weaknesses: For openers, let’s talk about the opener — one-time Jersey guy Jim Florentine, who warmed up the crowd a little bit too much. His material felt fresh and had the crowd in a pretty constant state of laughter. And he was plenty offensive, covering everything from gay marriage (gerbil visitation rights for divorced gay couples) to female hygiene ("So you’re telling me that you can smell the girl wearing Jay-Z perfume a thousand yards away but you can’t smell that?"). Typically, the opener is the one who has something to prove, and if Florentine had to prove anything, he certainly did.
But it was Dice who really had to come out and wow the crowd and show them that he still has it. But he doesn’t. And he didn’t. Mere seconds after Florentine left the stage, a lame light show accompanied EMF’s "Unbelievable" (a 1991 song that includes a Dice soundbite) until a characteristically black-clad Dice walked out and ended it with an also characteristic wrist-flick. His short set was funny at points, but his funniest material — on cell phones, on the endowment of black men — is easily viewable on YouTube, and certainly any real Dice fan (which is pretty much anyone who would pay $65) would have seen it. You know the punchline. He threatened to verbally take out a heckler, which we were all waiting for him to do, but he never followed through, appearing to lack the confidence to do it effectively, which is the only way to do it. And his impersonations — of Rocky, Pacino, and Sammy Davis Jr. — were half-assed and completely out of place (the Backstreet Boys dancing impersonation offered by ticket agent Michael Ely that night was much more entertaining). And why he succumbed to persistent heckles for the "Hickory Dickory" shtick, after which he abruptly and possibly prematurely ended the show, I’ll never know.
Verdict: Without a competent writing team and a director, this character is one that should be left in our ambivalent memories of the ’80s, like so many moussed hairdos.