Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Roll 'Em

Twenty-five years ago Andrew Dice Clay was a phenomenon.  He sold out Madison Square Garden twice but at the same time aroused hatred as few others  in show biz have. (Sort of the Donald Trump of stand-up comedy.)

His incipient film career was nipped in the bud back then and, indeed, the world of entertainment seemed to turn against him.  The irony was, whether or not you liked him as a comedian, he was a pretty decent actor.  His celebrated turn a few years back in Woody Allen's Blue Jasmine proved that, but people who'd been paying attention already knew it.  Now he's starring in a Showtime comedy series, Dice.

He plays a version of himself--a bit loutish, perhaps, but definitely not the "Dice" character he does onstage.  He's also sadder but wiser.  And not unlike Jerry Seinfeld in his sitcom, Clay is playing a character who seems to be less successful than the real person is. (At least that's what I'm getting--perhaps he is doing worse in real life than I thought, or perhaps in future episodes his character will be doing better).

Created by screenwriter Scott Armstrong, the show also features Natasha Leggero as live-in girlfriend Carmen and the Kevin Corrigan as Dice's best friend Milkshake.  They all live in Las Vegas and apparently will have a basic problem to deal with each week--in the pilot, Dice is attending the same-sex wedding of Carmen's brother but loses too much at the tables to bring the proper gift.  It's not much of a plot, but for a half an hour you can get by on little if the characters work.

So is this good Dice or bad Dice?  After the first half-hour, it's hard to say.  Dice is the only one who makes an impression, but we already sort of know who he is.  On the other hand, there are only five more episodes, and since all are available On Demand, maybe I'll plunge in while waiting for Game Of Thrones to come back.


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