Andrew Dice Clay is putting this film acting aside for a moment to return to his real passion — making people laugh, live and in person.
“I am interested in stand-up more than acting,” says Clay, headlining 10 p.m. Friday, Saturday and Sunday in the Laugh Factory at the Tropicana as part of the club’s seventh anniversary on the Strip. “When you’re making a film, you’re waiting around all day. Stand-up is instant gratification. Nobody’s telling me what to do, which I have a hard time with. In stand-up, I’m the director.”
Not that Clay is especially difficult to direct. Bradley Cooper’s inspired casting of the veteran comic as Lady Gaga’s father, Lorenzo, produced great moments in “A Star is Born.” Clay has proven he can act — even those who have worked with him throughout his career barely recognized him in the role.
Cooper, Clay and Gaga worked on scenes repeatedly to make them fit for a film that was nominated for Best Picture, and Gaga for Best Actress.
“I’m telling Bradley, ‘When are we gonna be finished so we can get the (expletive) outta here?’ ” Clay says. “I’m like, ‘How much more do we need to do?’ But he saw the opportunity to do the best he possibly could, and he did it.”
Of the film’s co-star, Clay says, “She is just an absolute talent. That’s how I look at her. Musically she is phenomenal. She’s got great acting chops. She could’ve won Best Actress, as far as I’m concerned, and I think one day she will.”
Clay is in line for a role in “That’s Amore!” the next project from Nick Vallelonga, who co-wrote the “Green Book,” which beat out “A Star is Born” for the Best Picture Oscar. Vallelonga won the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.
“That’s Amore!” is reportedly a romantic musical comedy, in the same vein as “Marty,” Moonstruck” and “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” The central character, Patty Amore, falls for one of three brothers. Clay is one of the brothers.
”It’s sort of like a musical, from what Nick told me, and a very big project. There are three brothers, but don’t want to say too much about it yet,” Clay says. “I do think that Nick did a great job with ‘Green Book,’ which deserved to win the Oscar. My movie was great, but what they did in ‘Green Book’ was they really showed what was going on in the world with race and all that BS. It was so real, because it’s still going on, and it sucks.”
Clay says he’s looking forward to marking the Laugh Factory birthday with his old friend and club operator Harry Basil.
”It’s not my highest paying gig, but it’s my favorite,” Clay says. “I love the club. I do an hour onstage and four hours backstage. I have blast. It’s a great scene. Harry creates that.”
Putting DJ in Pauly D
DJ Pauly D of “Jersey Shore” is kicking off his two-year residency Saturday at Drai’s Beachclub at Drai’s. He’s performing more than 25 shows this year and next at the club, with the majority at the Beachclub and a few at the Nightclub and After Hours.
“Last year, DJ Pauly D was one of the best artists we had on our roster, and we couldn’t be happier to have him back. His energy and excitement on stage really took our beachclub to a whole new level,” said Drai’s director of marketing Dustin Drai. “He has taken his craft from just being a DJ to being a true entertainer that people want to come see. As Pauly would say, ‘This summer is going to be a movie!’”
Yep. Bring your own popcorn, kids.
Gwen Stefani shouted out two two prominent figures in her show at Zappos Theater at Planet Hollywood on Saturday night. One was her good friend and Interscope Records co-founder Jimmy Iovine, celebrating his 66th birthday. Iovine is the exec who convinced Stefani to launch a solo career with her debut album, “Love. Angel. Music. Baby.”
“If it was’t for Jimmy,” Stefani shouted, “none of us would be here tonight!”
Shania Twain was also in the crowd, her second Strip show in four days (she also took in Robbie Williams’ opener Wednesday at Encore Theater). Twain continues to spark speculation that she is returning to the Strip for an extended engagement, either at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace (where she headlined in “Still The One” from 2012-14) or at Zappos Theater.
From “Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel in Concert” director Jeff Calhoun, who also directed the short-lived “Duck Commander Musical” at the Rio, which closed in May 2015 after a five-week run.
During an upcoming episode of PodKats!, Calhoun and I sorted out that we’d met during rehearsals of that show.
I remarked to Calhoun that the theater refurbished for “Duck Commander” at the Rio had added an aquatic stage for “Wow — World of Wonder.”
“Oh?” Calhoun said. “So we drowned and put water in.”
“Heartbreak Hotel” opens April 15 at Harrah’s.
Gene Lubas, the man enlisted to help straighten out “Jubilee” in 2014 in the show’s last-ditch effort to remain onstage, has departed Caesars Entertainment. Evidently there is simply not enough work for an official in Lubas’ position in today’s marketplace. He came to Caesars Entertainment after spending years with Cirque du Soleil, where he worked on “Viva Elvis” and “Zumanity” … Former “Absinthe” Green Fairy and burlesque singer Melody Sweets has signed a development deal with Adam Steck and SPI Entertainment. The two are now scouting venues … Tenors of Rock, leaving Harrah’s Showroomon March 25, seem headed for Sin City Theater, which needs extensive ovehaul to allow for capacity and staging … Rarely has an opening-night performance blown me away like Thursdays’s launch of “Fuerza Bruta,” a study in passion and power at Excalibur. Word of mouth, and also social media posts, can carry this one. This one’s an Instagram bonanza … I’m never a fan of pulling apart lounges that offer no-cover entertainment, but apparently the about-to-open Trajo Lounge that has replaced Tropicana Lounge is supposed to be a major upgrade … “Ester Goldberg’s Totally Outrageous Brunch” chugs along at The Sayers Club at SLS Las Vegas. Hotel officials are getting involved with some casting decisions; there is possibility of a male backing dancer. John Di Domenico as Donald Trump and Anne Martinez, in various roles, alone are worth the trip. Shows are 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays … Hearing a lot of great feedback on the trio of tappers in “Opium,” will report back if they are worth the hype … Nothing new on the progress of “Marilyn: The New Musical,” which has not set any new on-sale dates since its last date of Nov. 9 was pulled from the schedule. But producer Tegan Summer says he’s busy casting his “Bettie Page, Queen of Pin-Ups” project, which he now says is his top priority … Really hoping something breaks, and soon, for Frank Marino in his efforts to return “Divas Las Vegas” to the stage. Most recently I’ve heard he’s had multiple options on and off the Strip. Regardless, don’t count on seeing his Joan Rivers character. She’s ended her run.
John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His PodKats podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts.Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.