Comedian Andrew Dice Clay is used to going from zero to 60. When he began his career in the '80s, he went from playing clubs to selling out arenas overnight. Today he's gone from being blacklisted in Hollywood (because of his controversial comedy) to critically praised for his part in Woody Allen's Oscar-winning film "Blue Jasmine." It seems the public is willing to give Dice another roll.
Before coming to Governor's in Levittown Thursday through Saturday, Clay spoke from Las Vegas about his return to acting, what Rodney Dangerfield meant to him and his love for performing on Long Island.
You were an actor before your career blew up as a stand-up. Are you trying to get back to that place?
Well, I didn't start out to become a comedian. It was always about acting to me. On stage, that is a side of me that we all have, but it is one part of me. I use comedy stages to develop my acting skills so that when I am challenged, I know right where to go emotionally.
Was it intimidating working with big name actors in "Blue Jasmine"?
I said to Cate Blanchett, "I can't believe I'm getting to work with this kind of talent." She said, "We were just saying that about you." She totally relaxed me and I love her for it. She made it easy.
What's happened as a result of your positive reviews from "Blue Jasmine"?
Because of that I'm going to do something in Martin Scorsese's new HBO project. They wanted me for this one particular role. It will be thrilling to be directed by, who I would say is, the best director ever. Nobody has ever taken chances like him in film. I just got that news last week, and I'm still celebrating it.
How come you stopped touring?
I just don't want to go. My body has gone through abuse from traveling. I made a major deal at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. This year, I'll do over 30 weekends for them. Plus, I've done over 300 arena shows. I have nothing to prove as far as drawing people. My only booked gig is Governor's.
What made you make an exception for Governor's?
It's always fun to come to Governor's. The place is electric. I like being right on top of the audience. Those Long Island crowds go ballistic and I just love giving them what they want.
Before you go onstage, how much do you prepare?
I could think of an entire bit, open my show with it, kill and then never do it again. I love to start my show without a thought in my head. I rehearse on stage in of audiences. It makes it organic and even funnier.
You call yourself a rock and roll comic. Does rock and roll recognize you?
I actually tried to get inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as their only comic. In 1990, me and Billy Joel were the top box office selling artists in the world. If I was them I'd take a closer look and break their little rule.
Your career popped on a Rodney Dangerfield special in 1988. What did he mean to you?
Rodney could have put half-baked comics in his specials, but he always looked for the best. He wanted to see the guys he picked excel. That's why we call him the godfather of comedy because he made so many careers. The guy had such a good heart.
What did you get from growing up in Brooklyn?
When you grow up in Brooklyn, you learn from the school of hard knocks. I loved living on the East Coast. There's something to be said about growing up middle class, living in a building, knowing how to deal with different people and different situations. You learned all that growing up in a place like Brooklyn.
Is it true your dad helped to guide your career?
My dad had a process-serving agency when I started out. The minute I went into show business he became my manager before I got the big-time managers. Even when I went with those managers, I wouldn't make a move without my dad.
You've lost a tremendous amount of weight. How did you get back in shape?
I had a great trainer, George Pipasik, who put Sly Stallone in "Rocky" shape. I call it getting in the cage. It's a mental and physical state of mind. This guy taught me how to work my body out and change it any way I need to change it. I went from a 42 waist to 33 waist. I just ripped the fat off. My fans don't want to see a fat guy in a leather jacket. When it's like that, I'll just quit.
ANDREW DICE CLAY
WHEN | WHERE Thursday at 8, Friday at 8 and 10:30 p.m., Saturday at 7 and 10 p.m., Governor's, 90 Division Ave. in Levittown
INFO $55-$85, 18 and older, 516-731-3358, govs.com