Andy Dick Takes on Howard Stern - Page 3

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

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Why do so many comedians OD?

I think that those people, the reason why they are so funny, is because they are uber-sensitive people: they have their finger on the pulse of humanity, on what it is to be a human, on the pathos and the ups and the downs and they’re sensitive beings that can get another person’s pain, but then they feel their own pain deeply, and that’s why they’re so fucking funny. They can express something to a degree where other people relate, and it’s something that’s very painful, and the other people relate and laugh because it’s just fucking funny, and then this pain is so deep that they wind up using drugs and alcohol to not feel so deeply, and then it just gets the best of them and they die.

Nobody will hire me, they’re completely afraid of me. If I hear one more time, “He’s the most talented, funniest person I’ve ever worked with, he’s brilliant, he’s a genius,” and then they don’t hire me, that’s maddening: that will drive a man to the brink of suicide.

So you think the depth of feeling for artists is more intense than for other people?

I completely do, I’ve done a lot of research on this. I have a friend right now who I constantly asked him, “So, if your girlfriend goes out of town, you just don’t miss her?” He doesn’t have these…I go into a…it’s not that he’s emotionless, but he just doesn’t feel the way that I do, and I’m talking about ups and downs. I notice I went to see a movie recently, a funny movie, a big comedy, and it was packed with 300, 500 people, but I was laughing the loudest. And I’m a comedian, but yet I’m laughing the loudest, and I’m also crying during a commercial for something. The commercials that try to tug at your heartstrings, they will get me.

All addicts have an inability to self-soothe. Other people have a more concentrated experience.

Exactly. I look at people just walking down the street with their shopping, they have their bags in their hands, and I’m like, “How can they fucking do it, how can people go through life as mundane…”

Do you think your reputation as an addict makes it harder for you to get jobs?

Of course. Nobody will hire me, they’re completely afraid of me. If I hear one more time, “He’s the most talented, funniest person I’ve ever worked with, he’s brilliant, he’s a genius,” and then they don’t hire me, that’s maddening, that will drive a man to the brink of suicide. The last two years have been horrible for me.

In terms of work?

In terms of having horrible, horrible thoughts, and I’m not a suicidal guy, I just love life so much, but it’s been so maddening that even I’m like, “What’s the point, if I’m not going to be a productive member of society that gives something to people,” and my biggest gift, I think is to give the gift of laughter, and if they ain’t buying what I’m selling, what’s the fucking point? That’s where I go to, all the time, lately, in the last couple of years. “What am I doing again?” And then I remember oh yeah, my kids, I have my kids, thank God.

What’s the craziest thing you ever did when you were high? 

I wouldn’t know, because I was probably so obliterated that I wasn’t even present, but I was just at a Trader Joe’s and somebody said, “Oh hi, do you remember me from a while ago?” and I’m like, “No,” and they’re like, “Yeah, I helped you, you were in the bushes.” That happened a lot…there was some kismet-y kind of situations that happened where one time I had passed out on the street in Hollywood and I woke up to headlights right in my face. I guess I was not in the street but I was in a parking lot, kind of, the headlights were in my face and a guy came out, and it wasn’t an old assistant, but a guy that played my assistant on The Andy Dick Show, so it was so strange to me that the actor who played my assistant is now, in real life, assisting me, and he took me home, and we actually hung out and had a great time. There are angels out there.

Who are you hanging out with these days—Courtney Love and Pam Anderson?

I never hung out with them. I think I went to Pam’s house once when she was still with Tommy Lee and our kids all played. We hung out all day, actually, we hung out for quite a while, and with Courtney, we hung out a couple of times in clubs, but no, I don’t go out, I hang out with my kids and I hang out with some great, normie friends, and a lot of sober people. 

That’s probably better for you than Courtney or Pam.

Yeah. They’re great people, but…I don’t hang out with celebrities, I feel weird about hanging out with celebrities. I feel they’re going to think I want something from them, I have a very weird thing about hanging out…that’s why I never hung out with Ben Stiller, I never hung out with Judd Apatow. I worked with them for a long time, but I always had this weird, “Oh, there’s no point to hang out, they’re just going to think I want something,” and I should have befriended them more, but I was just insecure, really. 

Are you resistant to AA?

No, I love it. I think it’s fun; I’ve never gone to a meeting that I hated, I always get something out of it. I’m always bawling my eyes out. The last one I went to on Friday, there was this woman, and I was like, “I know her.” I knew her and her mannerisms and her voice and her look, I knew her very well, and she said she was a counselor, and I said, “Oh, I guess I just think I know her, but I know I know her,” and her story was making me laugh hard, and I was crying my eyes out, and then I went up to her after to thank her. And when I saw her she went, “Andy!” and I’m like, “I know that I know you, but I don’t know what’s going on,” and she did the air-slap in my face, back and forth, going, “I was your therapist! You’d never listen to me!” and I almost started crying, and I said, “Well, I’m ready to listen now,” and I got her info and we’re going to talk again. I think I still can’t remember even one session with her, and I think it was an extremely difficult time in my life. The time I’m having now is horrible, I wouldn’t be surprised if I block out most of these last two years, but there was another time in my life when something very horrible went down—a string of things within a year, and I blocked out a good one to five years. I think I was seeing multiple therapists, she was one of them, and I blocked it out of my mind, I couldn’t even remember, which is very odd to me, it’s frightening.

There’s been so much written about your sexual orientation. Are you straight or are you gay? Does your sobriety affect the partners you choose?

I don't think getting high  affects my choice of sexual partners.  I just think  that when I’m drinking a lot, I just get sexually addictive. I just get more into sex—it’s just more an addictive kind of sex as opposed to a more relaxed, normal sexual experience with somebody. It doesn't matter who I'm sleeping with.It's more about getting off.

Do you define yourself as straight or gay?

I guess I define myself as bi these days. I like women and I like men. Nobody ever taught me, “This is right, this is wrong.” I think if somebody had taught me early on, or even if someone just said that it’s frowned upon in our society to be gay, then that probably would have been enough of a deterrent for me to say, “Oh, then I probably won’t go down that road,” or maybe it would have sparked an interest and I’d have said, “Oh, I want to try it.” But nobody ever talked to me and I never had boundaries, and it’s not a big deal to me. I just like beauty, and a lot of times that beauty comes from the inside.

Joe Schrank is Editor-at-Large of The Fix and CEO of the Core Company. He previously interviewed comedian Colin Quinn and Republican candidate Gary Johnson.

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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.