The comedian Andrew Dice Clay, always offending perceived political correctness, is one of the 1990s’ more exhausting products. Comedians have always needled pieties, but only in placid peacetime could crudeness for its own sake be seen as a virtue. Clay’s new sitcom Dice looks like Curb Your Enthusiasm or Episodes–a series showing us the unglamorized life of a star. Living in Las Vegas after a career slowdown, this fictionalized Dice attends a same-sex wedding, gambles, bickers with his girlfriend (Natasha Leggero) and drenches Kobe beef in A1 at a steak house. What we don’t see is any motivation.
His successes–selling out Madison Square Garden, igniting controversy as a Saturday Night Live host–are résumé lines, not character traits. They don’t make him interesting. Dice is unwilling to give Clay qualities beyond abrasiveness and unequipped to craft for him an insightful line. Leggero, co-creator of Comedy Central’s terrific Another Period, is wasted, while cameos by Adrien Brody and Wayne Newton go nowhere.
These cameos hint at what Dice thinks it’s doing: depicting rebellion, upending safe sitcom tropes and being so irreverent that it even dares to joke about gay people. But really it’s all about preserving Clay’s status. Sure, he’s shown struggling to find work, but everyone he meets is eager to be offended. For all Dice’s trappings, it never really takes us backstage. And against all reason, the Diceman won’t step out of the spotlight.
Dice airs Sundays at 9:30 p.m. E.T. on Showtime; subscribers can stream it in its entirety
This appears in the April 25, 2016 issue of TIME.
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