Andy Dick Takes on Howard Stern

By Joe Schrank 09/21/11

America's most compulsive comic on addiction, AA, Jews, Sex, Pills, Pamela Andersen, Coke, Courtney Love, Rehab—and his furious feud with his old pal, Howard Stern.

Comic Release: Andy Dick Comes Clean

Who is Andy Dick, anyway? Is he the mad cap star of News Radio and MTV's Andy Dick Show? Or just a 48 year-old tabloid flame out with odd ideas of fun (flashing his Milton Berle-sized penis, grabbing a security guard’s crotch, pulling down girls’ tank tops, peeing in cop cars and once managing to break 16 laws in less than five hours)?  Is he the raging anti-Semite who (jokingly?) slammed shock jock Howard Stern for being a “shallow, money grubbing Jew” with a “big fat hook nose,” or a reckless romantic who deluges his lovers with flowers and affectionately calls everyone he talk to “buddy” or “dude”? Even questions you’d think would be fairly straightforward—about, say, his sexual orientation—don’t come with easy answers.

The one fact that everyone, including Andy Dick, agrees to is that he's a life-long addict,  a talented performer whose career and personal life has suffered mightily as result of his ravenous appetites for alcohol, drugs and sex. Not long ago the high-flying comic was dubbed the “Angel of Death” after several of his closest colleagues (Chris Farley, Phil Hartman and David Strickland) died in the late 90s. "I have kind of survivor guilt about that," says Dick. "I don't know why I managed to stay alive while they just disappeared." Last week, in a remarkably candid interview with The Fix, the actor talked thoughtfully and soberly about his dozen trips to rehab, (including the de rigueur stint with Dr. Drew), his controversial contretemps with his old friend Howard Stern and his strong connection with other addicts desperately struggling to stay sober.  

According to the tabloids you've been to a multitude of rehabs in recent years. What's your latest count?

I think I'm up to 12 by now.  In fact,  I’m talking to you from a rehab right now: I checked into a new outpatient facility on my own accord a few weeks ago.

What's been your favorite place to dry out?

The one I’m in now, because it’s an outpatient place and because I picked it by myself. It’s called One to One, and it really is a one-on-one thing. My second most favorite was this place in Akron, Ohio. I went there when everyone I knew decided that all the other rehabs weren’t working and said, “Throw him in one of those places where the real derelicts are, because that’s what he is,” and so they shacked me up with the bottom of the barrel fuckin’ doomed to die derelicts—people who were either literally going to die or going to go to prison, and I slept on a cot next to them—six to a room. It was really like being an inmate but it was my favorite place because these people were just people—they were funny, we were all laughing all the time, it was a little bit like like One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, and we were having a blast. We were putting on little shows, staying up really late in the conference room. It was a shit house, by the way, it was horrible: it smelled, these people didn’t have teeth, and we were so fascinated with each other. But the other thing was, I’m always half a step away from being one of those people—we’re all just people, and I grew up with my brother, who was also adopted, and he’s a very, very hardcore alcoholic, and has not ever stopped.

You've also been to a bunch of fancy rehabs, too, like Promises.

Yep. I was thinking this morning about how I got thrown into my very first one, Promises. I was so mad at the time. But I was thinking, “You know what, it probably saved my life,” because I was in such a delusion; I was out of my mind, I didn’t know one end from the other, I didn’t know which way was up, and I was just kind of going crazy. And it sobered me up, obviously, and it was just my first taste of AA, my first taste of rehab, all this stuff, and it got the ball rolling: it got me to see that there actually is a different and better lifestyle and if you choose to do it, you can do it.

Courtney Love recently claimed you got her started on benzos again by slipping her a pill at the Comedy Central roast of Pamela Anderson.

When did she say that?

In an interview she did with us.

That’s just crazy. She's just having a laugh. The thing is, A, I never do pills. B, people give me pills all the time. C, if somebody asks me if I have pills, I’ll give them to them if I have them, because I don’t do them. I don’t even know what a benzo is, and every time people give me pills, I never trust anybody, and when I’m drinking and smoking—that’s what I do, I drink, I smoke pot, sometimes cocaine, when I was doing that, but never pills. Everybody that I knew who died, there were always some pills involved, and I was frightened of that, so I never did them. I did them 20 years ago—I think I’d take a pill to come off of some kind of nine-day coke bender, but either she doesn't remember or what I said is the case, which is I gave her a pill that somebody gave me which I had no idea what it was, because she asked. I wouldn’t just say, “Hey, baby, take this, quick, hurry.” I wouldn’t do that. I’m not a pusher. I don’t do that.

But you remember that night?

I remember the Pamela Anderson roast very fondly. Courtney Love, Pam and I were in Pam’s dressing room. Courtney was trying to help Pam's  tighten up her dress because it ripped in the back because her boobs are so big, and Courtney was literally sewing her dress up with a needle not too expertly. We were all laughing about it; we were all just having fun. We were partying, we were having a fun time, and I think I caught glimpses of Pamela's huge tits—it was just a fun time. As I said, I remember that night very fondly. 

What’s behind the major fracas between you and Howard Stern. He seems  bit peeved that you referred to him as a hook-nosed Jew. Are you an anti-Semite as he claims?

Well, no, I’m not anti-Semitic, obviously. At the time [of his rant against Stern], I was under the impression that he and I were friends. I very much appreciate all that Howard's done for me. He's a stand-up guy. But after this incident I began to perceive that he was more of a showbiz friend than a real kind of friend. I’m very naïve and a very open, generous, happy guy. I thought, “Oh my god, this guy, when the mic turns off, he’s suddenly friendly and nice—oh, we’re friends,” but the reality is that the mic turns off and he just wants to keep up a pseudo-friendship so he can have me on as a guest again and call me a pole-smoking, dick-twiddling, cum-guzzling faggot. And that’s the thing, he’s called me every fucking name in the book. And he calls himself a hooknose Jew. 

I’d never even heard the term "hooknose Jew" before Howard said it on the radio, so I’m using his own term against him as a joke. The only thing that’s true and is kind of obnoxious and insulting is the hooknose part, but you've got to admit that it’s true: he’s got this gigantic fucking nose. The Jew part is more problematic. But if you call someone a Jew, it’s not an insult. The hooknose part is. My dad is not alive anymore, but he was Jewish. I was adopted into that family.

So you were adopted into a Jewish family?

Not really, my dad was Jewish and my mom was not, and one of the women I’ve had kids with is Jewish. I live with her now, I have two kids that obviously have Jewish blood, because she’s Jewish. She’s not anymore, but she has two other kids with another Jewish man who are Jewish, so I live in a house with two Jewish kids, and not only that, my whole team, from my agent to my lawyers, all of them…

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Joe Schrank is a writer and social worker in NYC. He was one of the founders of TheFix and is a frequent contributor to The Huffington Post, Gawker, Salon, and Fox News. Intoxicant-free for 18 years, Joe remains a depressed disgruntled alcoholic. You can find Joe on Linkedin or follow him on Twitter.