April 9, 2016

SHOWBUZZDAILY Series Premiere Review: “Dice”


DICE:  Sunday 9:30PM on Showtime – Change the Channel

The journey of Andrew Dice Clay from an explosively successful poster child (and, many would say, cynical exploiter) of comedy political incorrectness to a long sentence in the showbiz wilderness and then a new career as an increasingly respected character actor, with solid recent performances in Blue Jasmine and Vinyl to his credit, has to have been an interesting one.  For that reason, the prospect of a semi-autobiographical cable series built around Clay seemed promising.  Unfortunately, the initial episode of DICE (which may not have been the first one shot, since unusually the writing credit goes to Jackie Clarke, not series creator/episode director Scot Armstrong) is rather awful.

Despite the four-letter words, the half-hour is a surprisingly conventional, unambitious sitcom.  The version of “Andrew Dice Clay” we meet is a moderately loud-mouthed man-child who lives in Las Vegas, with long-time girlfriend Carmen (Natasha Leggero, oddly not designated as a series regular) and the constant companionship of BFF Milkshake (Kevin Corrigan).  Although this Dice’s best comedy days are behind him, he’s somehow able to get casino bosses to give him hundred-thousand dollar markers merely by asking.  As anyone who’s ever watched a sitcom would expect, that leads to trouble.  Specifically, Dice’s efforts to win enough money to pay for a wedding gift to Carmen’s brother (not a “gay wedding,” just a “wedding,” we’re repeatedly advised) via high-stakes blackjack put him deeply in the hole, until he banishes a bad-luck Elvis impersonator from the casino and wins it all back in the nick of time.

There’s very little here.  Since the current Dice wants the old Dice to be no more than a figure of comic nostalgia, when the show’s character makes an off-color speech at the wedding about finding one’s gay true love, its offensiveness is merely misguided and good-hearted.  Otherwise, this Dice just fumes about valet parking and ATM fees and appears pleasantly dim-witted.  Although in the right circumstances, one can imagine Clay and Leggero having a good comic rapport, her character here is the classic girlfriend/wife female lead whose job it is to worry about getting her hair done and whether her man will get to the church on time.  Corrigan’s off-beat style of humor is very different than Clay’s, and he’s no more than a mild sidekick.

Showtime only ordered 6 episodes of Dice, so the show won’t have long to find an effective comic voice–and if the first episode aired is indeed the one the network considered best, rather than the first produced, the series is in trouble.  Clay is a likable presence, but not every comic is an auteur, and he may have been better advised partnering with an experienced TV showrunner for his series outing.  Dice won’t offend anyone, but it won’t make them laugh much, either.


About the Author

Mitch Salem
MITCH SALEM has worked on the business side of the entertainment industry for 20 years, as a senior business affairs executive and attorney for such companies as NBC, ABC, USA, Syfy, Bravo, and BermanBraun Productions, and before that, at the NY law firm of Weil, Gotshal & Manges. During all that, he has more or less constantly been going to the movies and watching TV, and writing about both since the 1980s. His film reviews also currently appear on and In addition, he is co-writer of an episode of the television series "Felicity."