"I don't do standup," Andy Dick insists by phone from Los Angeles. "Please! I stand there. I'm up on stage. But that's about as close as I get to anything that's called 'standup.'"
Best known from prime-time shows like Less Than Perfectand NewsRadio, in which he plays accident-prone dweebs, Dick reserves his edgier material for The Andy Dick Show, an MTV sketch-comedy series that he stars in, writes and directs. Whether portraying Christina Aguilera's extra-hairy sister, Daphne, or an acne-addled wannabe male model named Zitty McGee, Dick has always brought unpredictable anarchy to his comedy. (See www.andydick.com for details and clips.)
"I love performance art," he continues. "I like to see something I've never seen before. Like Laurie Anderson. Standup is so passé, you know. It's so pat. It's like setup, joke, setup, joke. My inspiration has always been people like Andy Kaufman. He used to do things at the Improv, right around the corner from my house. People would pay one dollar to stand in line and go up on stage and look down in this giant cardboard box. And he'd be in there -- just reading a book! My stuff isn't that avant-garde. It has gotten kind of hard-core with the whole vomiting thing on stage. I got vomited on --by my supposed sponsor from rehab! But I stopped doing that. It freaked too many people out."
Following a rash of self-destructive incidents prompted by the deaths of fellow actor-comedians Chris Farley and Phil Hartman in the late '90s, Dick committed himself to sobriety. And tons of work. Childishly excitable, the former military brat and homecoming king recently completed The Hebrew Hammer, a Judaic twist on the '70s blaxploitation film genre: As the nemesis to the leather-clad superhero played by Adam Goldberg (who lights cigarettes off a menorah), Dick plays Damien Claus, "the evil son of Santa that kills his own father and takes over the corporation and tries to eradicate Hanukkah." He's also filming an as-yet-untitled "documentary."
"What I'm doing now is going on tour with these songs that I created for a movie, a mockumentary, about a character, Danny Roane, who's directing this serious movie about drugs. And while he's directing it, he falls off the wagon and starts doing drugs. Then he turns the movie into a musical."
"So I'm performing these songs from this movie within the movie. I'm gonna bring my guitar player to Denver [Tim Walsh from Bitches of the Century] and a guy that's gonna be filming. And I might even incorporate some of that into the movie.
"And I do this thing where I have people ask questions on pieces of paper on the way in," Dick continues. "Those questions get to me backstage. I go through them, and I answer the most provocative or hard-core or interesting questions on stage. And it becomes this long-form, one-man improvisational rambling that I really like...because I don't tell jokes! I never have. Not that I'm not good at it. I'm just not interested. I'd rather open myself up to an audience -- and insert that with songs."
Musically, Dick's repertoire runs the gamut from introspective, jailhouse musings ("Striped Sunlight") to punk-fueled rockers ("I'll Fuck Anything That Moves," a Toy Dolls-sounding ditty in which Randy Andy discovers the joys of laundromat washers: "A cheaper date I've never known/Just 25 cents a load!")
"I have a dirty mind," Dick allows, his voice dropping to a whisper. "I'm not a very clean person. I'm kind of freaky. I think I have too much sex, you know. I'm obsessed with it. I don't know what my problem is. I'm 37, and I act like I'm fuckin' fifteen."
"But I'm telling you, dude," he says, "I've written more songs in the last month than I have altogether. I'm on a fuckin' roll. It's all gonna come together. Everybody just has to trust me."