One of the most controversial standup comics since Lenny Bruce, Andrew "Dice" Clay has brought the vulgar comedy of hatred, obscenity, and misogyny to new lows or new highs, depending on one's age and feelings about such subjects. His black leather jacketed, cigarette-puffing "Diceman" persona was so raunchy and offensive that he was banned from performing on the MTV network and was eventually blackballed in Hollywood after his obscene performances caused 20th Century Fox to tear up their movie contract with him, despite that fact that he was filling up clubs and even Madison Square Gardens with fans. Before obtaining notoriety as a comic, Clay (born Andrew Clay Silverstein) was a promising young actor. He made his film debut in Wacko (1981) and appeared in a few more films during the early '80s. At the peak of his standup career, Clay resumed his film career as well as numerous television appearances. But as time passed, Clay's act went beyond mere boundary pushing. This coupled with his absolute refusal to apologize or admit that maybe the Diceman had gone too far led to his downfall. Following his fall from grace in Hollywood, Clay moved his wife and two boys to Florida for a couple years where he ran a Gold's Gym and underwent therapy. When he next reappeared, Clay had dropped "Dice" from his name (a contract stipulation from the CBS network) and was starring in the sitcom Bless This House (1995) opposite Cathy Moriarty. Billed as a family show patterned after The Honeymooners, it had none of the hallmarks of Clay's act. In interviews with Clay at this time, he swore that the "Diceman" was just an act, that he never meant any of the horrible things he'd said on-stage; he was only trying to be funny. He also said he would focus on a broader type of relationship comedy. His resolve to clean up barely lasted to the series' demise eight months later and soon Clay was exuberantly preparing for a new raunch-fest on the HBO network. By 1997, he seemed to have mended his rift with MTV, which co-starred him in Hitz, a sitcom airing on the UPN network. Clay appeared in a host of straight-to-DVD films throughout the 2000s, participated in the 8th season of The Apprentice, and had a recurring role, playing himself, on the final season of HBO's Entourage.
Biography by Sandra Brennan
- His father was a Golden Gloves boxer from Brooklyn.
- Worked as a drummer in the Catskills under the name Clay Silvers during the 1970s.
- Made television debut as a wounded soldier in a 1982 episode of M*A*S*H.
- Was the first comedian to sell out Madison Square Garden two nights in a row.
- Famously banned from MTV in 1989 for reciting his dirty nursery rhymes during the Video Music Awards.
- Starred in the unsuccessful 1995 CBS sitcom Bless This House.
- Appeared on the second season of The Celebrity Apprentice, playing for the charity StandUp For Kids.
- Played himself in a recurring role during the final season of Entourage.