NEW YORK (AP) — Andrew Dice Clay finds out his live-in girlfriend's ex is paying alimony. Never mind that the monthly checks help keep the lights on at the household of this less-than-flourishing comedian — his raging male ego just won't stand for it!
And then, on another episode, comes Oscar-winning actor Adrien Brody, who asks Dice if he can shadow the comedian to prepare for a Broadway role as the quintessential manly man, the sort of swaggering Brooklynite that Clay personifies. Brody transforms himself into a Dice clone who even wants to observe the Diceman's technique in the bedroom.
Welcome to the world of "Dice," a new Showtime comedy premiering the first of its six episodes Sunday (9:30 p.m. EDT). Kevin Corrigan plays Milkshake, Dice's sidekick. Natasha Leggero guest stars as Carmen, his longtime squeeze. And his real-life grown sons Dillon and Max Silverstein play his sons.
"Dice" draws on the outrageous, chaotic life of this performer and family man as he scuffles in Las Vegas for a show-biz comeback — with his efforts often falling flat.
"Dice ruins everything," Clay said in a recent interview, laughing at the leather-clad lout at the heart of his new series who, in the first episode, gets his nose out of joint when his favorite casino boosts the ATM fee to $5 and, as a result, nearly drives him to ruin his girlfriend's brother's wedding.
This is the character Clay has always insisted lives apart from him as an onstage surrogate, a comic alter ego whose appearances used to fill arenas while his detractors blasted him as "filthy," ''racist" and "misogynous."
"I paint these crazy sexual cartoon pictures that the audience relates to," Clay declares. "It's purely for the sake of comedy."
The man born 58 years ago as Andrew Clay Silverstein is speaking affably, cordially and at relatively low decibels, though bedecked in trademark Diceman style: black leather jacket, T-shirt stretched across his massive chest, tinted shades, leather fingerless gloves.
"With the microscope I was put under, my career went down for a while," he concedes. But in recent years he has enjoyed a resurgence, and a wave of unaccustomed respect, thanks to acting turns in Woody Allen's "Blue Jasmine" and Martin Scorsese's current HBO drama series "Vinyl."
Clay says he loves acting, explaining that was his gateway into entertainment.
"When I got onstage as a comic nearly 40 years ago, it wasn't about standup comedy, it was about acting: I started developing my acting chops. And from there the Diceman phenonema happened."
On his new series, he says gratefully, he gets to act out a role — or, rather two: a version of his real-life self as well as his public Diceman persona.
"They call the show a hybrid of my life," he says, by "them" referring mainly to Scot Armstrong, who is credited as the series' creator, executive producer, show runner and key writer.
Maybe "Clay Whisperer" would sum it all up, to judge from one of Clay's anecdotes:
"I ran into an older guy, a lot older than me, in a CVS," he recalls. This was shortly after the 2014 death of Joan Rivers, whom Clay loved and admired, "and the guy says, 'What did you think of her?' I said, 'I think she was the greatest.'
"He says, 'I think she was a real bitch.'"
"I have no fuse," Clay confides. "As you get older, you lose that fuse."
So a few words were exchanged, with Clay advising the old gent to "do yourself a favor and walk out of this store. You don't talk about someone when they've passed like that."
Yes, Clay raised his voice. Yes, the drug store manager intervened. Yes, the senior citizen took hasty refuge. And that was that.
"Then I tell Scot Armstrong about the whole thing," Clay explains.
Viewers can see this incident's comically inflated TV version — a raucous bachelor bash in a party bus — on the "Alimony" episode of "Dice." Not for the last time in Diceland, art imitates life.
Associated Press writer Lauri Neff in New contributed to this report.
EDITOR'S NOTE — Frazier Moore is a national television columnist for The Associated Press. He can be reached at email@example.com and at http://www.twitter.com/tvfrazier. Past stories are available at http://bigstory.ap.org/content/frazier-moore