SportsChump Whirlwind Comedy Tour, Part One: Andrew Dice Clay

Date: Wednesday, October 25, 2023

Time: 9:15 pm                                  

Venue: Side Splitters Comedy Club, Carrollwood, Florida

Sometimes, we just need a good laugh.

Last year more than ever, I found the distraction of laughter to be my best medicine.

That’s why, when I scoured the internet to find touring comedians coming to town, I was happy to find the end of our calendar year bringing four comic legends to the Tampa Bay area.

The timing could not have been more perfect.

Once BCole bought us tickets to one of the funniest (and these days, controversial) men alive, Dave Chappelle, I decided to bookend that hilarity with a few other funny men in their own right: Andrew Dice Clay, DL Hughley, and Nate Bargatze, all coming to Tampa, all comedians I’d never seen before.

I’d been eager to see Dice for quite some time.  Any fifty-something male, who came of age in the nineties and showed any interest in comedy, is familiar with Dice’s routine and can quote you the multiple X-rated nursery rhymes that made him famous.  Dice’s head-on collision with cancel culture shook up the world long before we’d ever heard the phrase.

Cut from the Sam Kinison and Rodney Dangerfield cloth (the first time most of us saw Dice was on one of Dangerfield’s comedy specials), Clay’s comedy was raw, unadulterated, and explicitly sexual in content.  Often honest, intentionally exaggerated but what classic comedy isn’t.

When Dice was asked to host Saturday Night Live in 1990, cast member Nora Dunn refused to take part in the show.  Dunn’s feathers were not the only ones that Dice ruffled.  He was as raunchy and as controversial as they came.  Dice’s act, a well-crafted caricature of the chauvinistic male, catapulted him into superstardom, offending half a nation while keeping the other half in stitches.  Throw in some sexually suggestive Mother Goose rhymes and the legend was born.  Dice’s momentum steamrolled but came at a cost.  Just like any actor or comedian playing a role, the more popular he became and the more real his impressions were, the more they struck a chord with those who deemed him inappropriate.

Andrew Dice Clay has never not pushed the envelope.  I maintain that “Little Boy Blue, he needed the money” remains the second funniest seven words ever uttered in comedy.  So, what did Dice have in store for us as he continues the comedy grind, still traveling the nation, hitting up club night after night for his fans?

I couldn’t wait to find out.  As you’d expect, he did not disappoint.

Dice hit Side Splitters on Wednesday, October 25.  We caught the latter of his two shows, the 9:30 performance.  He’d also done two the night before.  After his opener Eleanor Kerrigan warmed up the crowd, as you’d imagine with Dice-like humor from the female perspective, the emcee introduced Dice to a room full of applause.

And off he went, with an impressive array of crowd work and tales of his past.  His routine not meant for all ears, as you’d expect, raunchy, explicitly sexual in nature and downright funny.  It’s not the kind of show you’d take your mom to see but then again, what comedy show is?  I’d even questioned whether taking BCole was appropriate but fortunately, my better half knows what comes with a Dice performance and has been known to appreciate a little raunch.  I mean, look at her taste in men.

Even though he’s traded in his trademark cigarette for a vape, Dice hasn’t skipped a beat.  Clay’s act is alive and well.  If you listen closely enough, if you read between the lines, you’ll find plenty of love in his act, for once you sift through the hype, his act is a celebration of relationships, both long and short-lasting.  After relentlessly picking on a man, who in retrospect probably sat a little too close to the stage for his own comfort, Dice congratulated the couple for forty years of happy marriage, admittedly of course because he was throwing her a proper bang.

Like it or not, Dice is a comedy legend who remains true and loyal to his fans and his performance art.  His act remains as edgy as ever and still elicits laughter from an adoring comedy room crowd thirty years later.  As the night dwindled on and his act came to an end, fans in the crowd begged for him to close with the nursery rhymes, to which he replied, “Like I don’t know how to do my show?”

Dice still hits those notes and rhymes over thirty years later.  And not ‘cause he needed the money.

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