Andrew Clay Silverstein, named so after the $20 bill -- no, I'm just kidding, he was named after President Andrew Clay Jackson whose portrait is on the bill -- was born on September 29, 1957 in the tough Sheepshead Bay section of Brooklyn, New York. From the age of five he was entertaining family and friends in the living room, doing impressions of his favorite stars, Elvis and the Fonz. Then came Travolta and Sly Stallone. Andrew's musical skills got him through high school. He became a fairly proficient drummer and played bar mitzvahs and casual dates as Clay Silvers and soon found himself performing with a band in the Catskills.
1978 was the year Andrew Clay first stepped onto a very small stage, in a very small club called "Pips" in Brooklyn, New York and immediately mesmerized audiences with his dead-on impression of Jerry Lewis' Nutty Professor character. Clay would then take a swig of his "magic potion," and transform from the nerdy, warbling "Professor" into John Travolta's suave "Danny Zuko" character from Grease -- bringing audiences to their knees with his captivating, hip-swiveling song and dance number, "Greased Lightning." The potion was fake, but the magic was real - and the audiences knew it. Young Silverstein headlined at the club the following week as Andrew Clay.
Clay graduated to the major Manhattan comedy clubs, including Budd Friedman's Improv, "Catch a Rising Star" and Rodney Dangerfield's. The inevitable move to Los Angeles came in February of 1980, where he was "adopted" by Mitzi Shore, owner of the famed Comedy Store. Clay's work at the Store led to small parts in low-budget B-movies like Wacko, Making the Grade, Night Patrol, Private Resort and a few others. He also landed roles on such TV shows as Family Honor, M*A*S*H, Diff'rent Strokes and Don Kirschner's Rock Concerts.
It wasn't until a few years later -- 1983, to be exact -- at the Comedy Store in Los Angeles, where Andrew would create his own stage persona and become Andrew "Dice" Clay... the tough talking, gutter mouthed comic who preyed on everything and everybody. His tongue, razor sharp, could destroy and mangle any comedy club heckler and his act was so biting - that audiences sometimes didn't know if he was joking.
Realizing his current "Dice" persona knows no boundaries, you may be surprised to learn Clay was one of the five acts on the opening bill in 1984 when Mitzi Shore brough a version of her L.A. Comedy Store to the Dunes in Las Vegas for a successful seven-year run. At the time Clay's new onstage character was still in the formative stage. Would you believe that Mitzi Shore actually sent Clay back to Los Angeles after the first show that same night because his act "was too bland," and that "he should take time to work on it in L.A. and make it more pungent"?
Driven, determined and destined, Andrew "Dice" Clay became a comedy favorite. Headlining little comedy clubs from Texas to New York, Clay embarked on a ten-year struggle (a struggle Clay loved) building his fan base and landing small acting roles in movies like: Making the Grade, Pretty In Pink, and Casual Sex. It wasn't until 1986 when Andrew was cast in the role of "Max Goldman" in the highly acclaimed Michael Mann series, Crime Story, that Andrew began to garner attention for his acting skills.
Basically, Clay is an actor, a good one, with a flair for comedy. The Diceman can't be the real Clay simply because there are too many components that are manifestations of other well-known personalities. One does not have to dig deep to see Elvis, Henry Winkler as the Fonz, or Travolta. Andrew Clay Silverstein is a Jewish kid from Brooklyn emulating an Italian street-corner tough guy, wearing a Fonz-like outfit, admittedly his own leather jacket, plus doing bits of his show business heroes, Sylvester Stallone included. Clay has always been a fan of Jerry Lewis and has talked with him about doing a film together.
The tide turned dramatically for Clay in 1988, when Andrew appeared in the HBO Rodney Dangerfield special Nothing Goes Right. His appearance in the special lasted all of eight minutes -- but the affect was epic. His next performance would be at the 18,000 seat Nassau Coliseum, and there wasn't an empty seat in the house. After that, Andrew got his own one-hour HBO special on New Year's Eve, The Diceman Cometh, which created "Dice Mania." Dice's career skyrocketed to rock star status. To date Andrew "Dice" Clay remains the only comic to ever sell out the Madison Square Garden for two consecutive nights - an astonishing feat memorialized in his concert film, Dice Rules.
In 1990, the feature film The Adventures of Ford Fairlane, in which he starred, was pulled out of theaters because of Dice's controversial reputation, and entertainment industry politics plagued him. He also had two failed network sitcoms. The acting was good, but audiences weren't buying the clean Andrew Clay without the "Dice." Clay is a gifted actor who, sadly, remains underrated to this date.
In the new millennium, we find Clay obliterating pretense and setting new records. First there is his highly publicized deal with the posh Venetian Hotel in Las Vegas. After nearly eleven years as a contract player for Bally's Las Vegas Hotel and Casino Resort, the Venetian gave the Diceman his biggest Vegas contract to date. In addition, Andrew appeared in several poorly directed, straight-to-video flicks like Point Doom, Whatever It Takes and Foolish.
In the recently released "One Night at McCool's" Dice is starring - well, not quite as he has seven names to his credit and his part didn't even make it into the theatrical trailer, only the online version -- opposite Michael Douglas, Matt Dillon, Liv Tyler and John Goodman. The black comedy (in which Clay is billed by his given name, Andrew Silverstein) finds him playing a very surprising dual role; one ends up dead very soon. Clay has also played a small role in "My Five Wives" with Rodney Dangerfield.
His latest project, My Little Hollywood, almost never got made because of two and a half year lawsuit between Sly and Frank Stallone and the producers, Alan and Diane Mehrez. The Stallone brothers claimed the promotional trailer presented The Good Life (working title) as a Sylvester Stallone film and had Sly known that, he'd have demanded his usual $20 million paycheck. The producers labeled the Stallone brothers as mafiosos who used extortion and death threats. Alan Mehrez claimed that Frank talked Sly into doing a cameo in the movie and Sly didn't adhere to the contract, spending only one day on the set, most of it in his trailer, instead of the stipulated two.
There were transcripts of an alleged phone call made by Frank to one of the cast members: "If you cross Sylvester, he will destroy you." (My gut feeling tell me it was probably Dice; who else can piss you off like that?) Fortunately, the suit was recently settled and the movie will be released sometime by the end of the year. It's a dark comedy about three mafiosos from New Jersey starring Andrew Dice Clay opposite Dennis Hopper and Frank Stallone. Sly has a cameo role.
Andrew "Dice" Clay's previous two albums, produced by Rick Rubin, Dice and The Day The Laughter Died, have both been certified Gold and topped the Billboard charts. Dice's new album Face Down Ass Up has just been released.
"I've always believed you put yourself where you want to be. I've always believed that hard work and perseverance pay off. I've always believed," says the ever-focused Clay.
Dice has had his ups and downs. He was banned for life from MTV -- which made him more popular than Madonna at the time -- and had a failed sitcom in which he played a blue-collar character. Then he said, "No more Mr. Nice-man." Andrew Dice Clay is a controversial figure, some say an acquired taste. Others fault him for going for the lowest possible denominator. Whatever, he has filled 20,000-seat arenas for two nights in a row and continues to be a major draw, especially in Las Vegas. Remember, the fella on stage is far different from the one off stage. What you will experience at the Venetian is a very talented actor, who has dared to say in public what most of us think and maybe even enjoy saying in private. After the shock wears off, the laughter remains.… Expand
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