The Ben Stiller Show  




Michael Mehle; News Popular Music Writer, BEDLAM ON STAGE ANDY DICK OFFENDS, ENTHRALLS AUDIENCES WITH HIS RABID HUMOR. , Denver Rocky Mountain News, 04-07-1999, pp 11D.

Andy Dick wants you to see him on stage. Or maybe he doesn't. It depends on just how much of Dick you're prepared to see.

The madcap comedian is best-known as Matthew the dunderheaded scene- stealer from NewsRadio. But when he brings his live act to town, he feels compelled to issue a warning: It's not about Matthew but about Andy Dick, who tends to be more outlandish, obnoxious and even obscene. He performs at the Boulder Theater on Friday.

``The show, I'm going to tell you right off the bat, is not for everybody,'' he says.

He's learned that lesson at college campuses. In San Diego, school officials weren't happy when he impersonated Don Knotts being sexually assaulted. Two months ago at the University of North Florida, he gave the crowd the full monty. Jacksonville police threatened to file charges, and half the crowd left early.

``Yeah, I kind of went for it there,'' he said. ``I kind of put (the nudity) back in at the spur of the moment, to see what would happen, and it wound up all over the news. I try to keep the nudity to a bare minimum - no pun intended.

``I'm telling you all of this, but there will still be people who will come - even people who will read this article - and they will still be mad and maybe even walk out before it's over. I'm telling those people right now, `Don't even bother coming.' Do not expect Matthew from NewsRadio. There might be three minutes of him, but from there all hell breaks loose.''

What kind of hell? Dick says to expect a show with a live band, off-kilter songs and bizarre monologues. There will also be bodily fluids and worse. ``There's simulated sexual violation on stage,'' he says. ``Is that weird to say?''

Consider yourself forewarned. It's easy to see why the average fan might be caught off guard.

Dick started honing his comedy skills with the famed Second City troupe, but his big break came when he met Ben Stiller. The impish- looking comedian became an inseparable part of Stiller's comedy, feeding off quirky roles on Stiller's short-lived television show and in subsequent films such as Reality Bites and The Cable Guy.

He landed the role of NewRadio's Matthew after first playing Zach Smart, son of Maxwell, in Fox's doomed revival of Get Smart. Today he's prone to pop up anywhere on the tube, whether playing a recurring character on David Letterman's Late Night or dressed in diapers to salute Calvin Klein models on the Rosie O'Donnell show.

But none of it comes close to what he does onstage - or in real life, some say. Dick has gained a reputation as a Hollywood bad boy, known for alternating bouts of partying and rehabilitation. Even Saturday Night Live has taken to poking fun at his alleged drug use and ambiguous sexuality.

It's all fodder for his stage show, and it's up to the crowd to tell when he's joking.

Those in attendance at the Aspen Comedy Festival should understand the concept. Some were aghast when Dick arrived late and drunk for a Ben Stiller Show reunion, spewing insults at all his old co-stars. Was it an act or an actual drunken episode?

``That was all written out,'' he says. ``That's exactly what my show is like. People can't tell reality from fantasy. I wrote that with the writers and the producer. They came up with the idea. They came up with the idea of me showing up halfway through drunk and blaming them for my addiction. And I said, that's excellent. I'll run with that. I came up with that line where I ask Janeane (Garofolo), `Am I wearing enough black for you?' I just berated every cast member and then just slumped in my chair.'' Bits like that hit close to home and can even puzzle the press. Dick thrives on it.

``It turns me on to (mess) them up. And they all wrote about it: `Several cast mates not laughing when manic funnyman ... '

Shut up. I can't do anything without people writing about it,'' he said.

Dick is happy to keep people guessing. He talks ambiguously about his sexuality and his sobriety.

``I struggle with sobriety. I am friends with it, but ... well, maybe I shouldn't comment on that right now,'' he said. But he's the one guessing about his future. He'll learn in May whether NewsRadio will be renewed for another season on NBC, and he' s contemplating whether to take his show to New York City for an off-Broadway run.

First he'll have to learn how to keep fewer people from leaving the theater.

``I'm trying to figure out the ratio of how many people walk out, and it's still cool,'' he mused. ``If more than half your audience walks out, then you might not really have an audience. And then it' s like, `Now, what am I accomplishing?' I've had up to one-half walk out, so I'm used to anything.''

When and where: 8 p.m. Friday at Boulder Theater, 2032 14th St. Cost: $35, $24.50 and $19.50 Information: (303) 830-8497

Copyright © 1999, Denver Publishing Co.

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