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Andrew Silverstein, 64, won fame in the 1980s by creating an alter ego, the shock comic Andrew Dice Clay, described by The New York Times as an “outrageously offensive and especially sexist” character “on the Mount Rushmore of comedy.” The first stand-up to sell out two consecutive nights at Madison Square Garden, he’s lately made a name for himself as a go-to supporting actor — he shared a Screen Actors Guild Award nomination with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper for A Star Is Born. Now he’s playing Butchie, a mob guy, in Pam & Tommy (Hulu, Feb. 2), based on the true story behind the first-ever viral video, the sex tape of Pamela Anderson and Tommy Lee. He told AARP 10 things you probably don’t know about Andrew Dice Clay.
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1. He wanted to act, not tell jokes.
I started out to be an actor. I couldn’t care less about comedy. But instead of acting school, I got on a stage every night. The whole comedy stand-up career took over. It just became a phenomenon. It hurt the drama for a while. The last decade I’ve gotten to work with the likes of Scorsese (Vinyl) and Woody Allen (Blue Jasmine). Doing those kinds of roles is what I really started out to do. I’m glad I’m getting to do that now.
2. He ran with the cool kids.
The ’80s and the ’90s was a decadent time in rock ’n’ roll and comedy. I hung with Billy Idol, Guns N’ Roses, and some would become real friends. It was crazy, like, I couldn’t believe it. Tommy Lee — he was with Heather Locklear then — he really liked me. Tommy grabs me and he goes, “Would you want to do the Garden with us?” I couldn’t believe he would even talk to me. This was before my career took off. I said, “If you're crazy enough to take me on, I’m crazy enough to do it.” Of course, I never heard from him. We reconnected when I went to a Bon Jovi concert.
3. He shows respect.
I used to go to Crave on Sunset Boulevard a lot, and Pamela Anderson was always there with her girlfriends. I would sit right next to her, but unless I knew somebody, I wasn’t getting into another celebrity’s face. I didn’t want to be bothered, and I didn’t want to bother anybody. Unless you lock eyes and you sort of say hello — next thing you know, you’re talking.