On Sunday night, comedian Dana Gould delivered his friend Andy Dick's eulogy. He compared the controversial actor-comedian to a cat: “He has nine lives, lands on his feet and thinks you like it when he sticks his asshole in your face.”
Dick isn't dead, but based on the stories his friends and fellow comedians told about him at a fundraiser for a forthcoming documentary about his notoriously outrageous, occasionally felonious behavior, it's sort of a wonder he isn't.
The documentary, directed by Dick's longtime friend Cathy Carlson, has a title that rings true for plenty of Angelenos: Everybody Has an Andy Dick Story. Carlson, who's known Dick since they attended college together at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, presumably had little trouble finding people to contribute. In fact, 40 fellow comedians are featured in the film.
Sunday night's show at the Improv functioned as a sort of live preview of the doc, with stories from comedians Gould, Greg Fitzsimmons and Laura Kightlinger, plus radio personalities Dr. Drew and Mike Catherwood, PETA senior vice president Dan Mathews, and musician-activist Moby, who kicked off the evening by sharing a pretty sick tale about Dick meeting up with him on the last day of his Area 1 tour in 2001. In Moby's telling, he was heading to his dressing room with his girlfriend at the time, when he saw Charlize Theron and John Taylor of Duran Duran exit the room looking stricken. Moby entered to find Dick with his pants down, squatting over a specialty vegan cake Moby had been given and actually taking a shit on it while Moby's own friends chanted “Poop! Poop! Poop!” With cake off the menu, Dick offered Moby some Champagne, conveniently neglecting to tell him that he'd emptied half the bottle and pissed in it.
Fitzsimmons, who got his first TV gig on Dick's eponymous MTV show in the late '90s, relayed how he'd landed in hot water when he laughed along while Dick launched into an anti-Semitic rant about Howard Stern on a podcast. Loveline hosts Dr. Drew Pinsky and Catherwood took the stage together. Pinsky, who's likely sensitive to his profession's privacy guidelines, was basically content to explain that Dick has “boundary issues” and thus he discovered the two were better off as friends rather than doctor and patient. (Dick was on Pinsky's VH1 show Sober House in 2009.) Catherwood went on to talk about the time he attempted to have a heart-to-heart about hitting rock bottom with Dick at On the Rox in West Hollywood, only to discover an extremely intoxicated Dick mostly just wanted to barf and keep partying. Catherwood said, “He's like Mike Tyson, except that he wants to fuck guys a lot and can't fight.” (Dick, for the record, identifies as bisexual and has three kids.) Kightlinger's story was relatively tame: When she was on a date with Jack Black one time, Dick insisted Black join him in the back seat, and then bit him.
It's worth noting that Dick was extremely late to Sunday's show. He was in Woodland Hills and apparently doesn't have an Uber account, so Carlson and company had to figure out how to get someone who did to get him to Hollywood.
Bad stories about Dick abound on the internet, particularly those that ended in his arrest and/or conviction. He exposed his butt at an L.A.-area McDonald's in 2004. In 2008, he pled guilty to misdemeanor battery after he pulled down a 17-year-old girl's shirt and bra, exposing her breasts. While he was still on probation for that offense, he was arrested in West Virginia for groping two men in a bar. The criminal charges were dropped but the men filed a civil suit. And then, of course, there are the innumerable anecdotes from everyday Angelenos who've been grabbed or choked or propositioned by the comedian.
But on Sunday, not all the stories were horrifying. PETA's Mathews told of the time Dick dressed up like a demented Ronald McDonald and protested outside the so-called Rock ’n’ Roll McDonald’s in Chicago and then barnstormed his way into an interview with Martin Short as Jiminy Glick to draw attention to the fast food giant's practice of boiling chickens alive. And director Jay Karas talked about Dick's “tireless dedication” to a joke when he allowed Ray Charles to slap him in the face not once but twice for a bit that lampooned VH1's Behind the Music.
Carlson is in the process of submitting her documentary to film fests and actually plans to turn it into a series of documentaries about the sorts of celebrities it seems everyone has a story about. Controversial as the content is, it comes with an affirming message for anyone who's struggled with the guilt associated with addiction and/or mental illness: No matter what you've done, Andy Dick's probably done worse. And, hey, you could still have plenty of friends who'll show up at the Improv on a Sunday night and say, warts and all, you're basically a pretty good guy.