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Rabbitholed #84: Will Someone Save Andy Dick?
With the black-spot-riddled brain of an NFL player, Andy Dick is not a well man. As one of the women he's assaulted over the years, I argue for compassion, harm reduction and saving Andy from himself.
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Comedy fans often talk about the Phil Hartman hex or the Phil Hartman curse or Andy Dick being the angel of death.
Memetic lore spreads like nothing else online.
Everyone is so excited to be the first one to tell you the secret connection you did not know, and then once the connection is made, it is accepted, almost unquestioningly, as the cultural consensus. Oh no, this guy deserves hell on earth. This guy deserves it.
How could you not know? You must just not have known.
This is what happened. I’ve read it hundreds of times online.
It does not matter that no one in Hartman’s family blames Andy Dick for his death.
It does not matter that the family sued Pfizer for the pharmaceutical that his wife was on at the time for playing the critical role in causing her to become a person unrecognizable to even herself—and won a six-figure settlement.
It does not matter that Dick allegedly did drugs with her many, many months before the murder ever occurred when she was already off the wagon.
It does not matter that it is obviously not possible to “lace” drugs with instructions for murder nearly half a year later.
But today—if a vengeance-focused portion of the Internet deems you worthy of having your entire value as a human zipped up in a sack with wild animals until they devour you alive while you drown, well then sorry, Charlie, that’s just what you’re going to get.
The truth doesn’t matter. The story told on the Internet does.
Obviously, in writing about Andy Dick in any kind of a sympathetic way, I’m not excusing Dick’s history of assault and sexual harassment, including against me.
But personally, I have long since forgiven the guy.
His continuing downfall has, I believe, very little to do with morality or evil.
It has everything instead to do with him being significantly mentally compromised due to longterm substance abuse, brain trauma sustained as a physical comedian and especially, the total cumulative effects of getting beaten up multiple times and multiple compounded head injuries.
Andy Dick is brain injured. He does not act right because his brain is broken. His broken brain leads to him continuing to act even worse.
In a June 4, 2021, episode of a podcast that Andy Dick recorded that it seems almost no one listened to (it has only 40 reviews total on iTunes)—particularly no one in the press—called “Holes in My Head,” the now 57-year-old reacts on air to seeing a startling scan of his brain that indicates the extent of his traumatic brain injury.
“It’s gross,” he recoils. “Looks like a monster. It looks like a monster.”
The excellent, albeit tough-to-listen-to podcast series—called “aDiCKted”—reveals Andy Dick is suffering from traumatic brain injury and even possible chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE). And now we begin to understand the much bigger picture of what’s going on. We see all the moments rather than just one or two.
Why can’t Andy Dick just not act brain damaged?
Because he can’t.
Why You Should Care:
Ninety-nine percent of dead NFL players have chronic traumatic encephalopathy—CTE—according to a 2017 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
But it affects plenty of other people who have been subjected to repeated head injury, and can lead to memory loss, confusion, impaired judgment, aggression, depression, suicidal behavior, violence and impulse control.
That impulse control one is a biggie.
We’re still so new in our understanding of head injury, but I would say it informs every topic surrounding harm reduction when it comes to protecting those who suffer from it and those around them.
Even outside the scope of head injury, human beings and behavior is far more complicated than deeming “X is a piece of shit.” The answer is almost never just X is a piece of shit.
My working empathy thesis about human beings in general has always been:
We’re all bad guys.
We’re all bad guys, and we’re all good guys, some of us to varying degrees, but always with extensive intergenerational trauma and intricate Bojack Horseman-style sprawling psychological backstories to boot.
Essentially, some of us learn the lessons we need to learn in this life. Some of us self-immolate. And some of us hurt a lot of other people in the process of trying to distract ourselves from our past intolerable pain and chaos with some new pain and chaos that we believe we can circus-master puppeteer while also numbing the fuck out as everything spirals into chaos in exactly the way we knew that it would around us.
Andy Dick is sick and hurt and wants to die.
He says so all the time when he’s being recorded and unguarded. Of course, you can still see and hear the comedy genius come through. He’s not fully gone. But he desperately needs help.
Or it’s only going to get worse.
Not just for Andy. But for the people around him.
Now a registered sex offender, Dick has been to in total 27 rehabs, paid millions in damages and hurt countless men and women, often showcasing a shocking lack of impulse control in reaching out and groping strangers.
He has, according to a controversial albeit major player in the research of CTE, Dr. Daniel Amen, the brain of an NFL player.
The brain of an NFL player is largely the brain of someone suffering from CTE.
CTE, which is known as the NFL player’s disease (caused by repeated head injury), can only be truly and accurately diagnosed post-mortem—although there’s current research underway to eventually be able to establish diagnostic criteria in the living, which is urgently needed considering the repercussions across all things highly physical (check out this explosive lawsuit regarding CTE filed in rugby this week).
Some of the more gruesome stories of those suffering from it in fact end in grisly mass murder and suicide far too young.
In 2002, when CTE was first observed it was in the life of Pittsburgh Steeler legend “Iron Mike” Webster, who was a nine-time Super Bowl champ, but whose life with traumatic brain injury brought on a severe downward spiral that led to him living out of his truck because of his lost memory and physical misery. He was 50 when he died.
One of the No. 1 observable effects of this kind of traumatic brain injury?
“My daughter said to me the other week,” Andy said as he mulled over his shocking brain scan on ADiCKted a year ago, “‘You’re really acting weird lately and you’re forgetting things. And there’s just something that seems to be wrong with your brain.”
The next podcast Andy recorded, he got high right in the middle of recording.
The one after that he arrived completely inebriated.
The final episode he didn’t even show up at all.
“Like a Stuck Pig Being Bled Out”
A year later, Andy’s near constant state of inebriation is now being livestreamed nonstop by strangers who peddle his humiliation on camera for thousands in cash donations that he never sees, spare a never-ending and always well-stocked supply of vodka, weed and pills.
To quote the YouTube documentarian Bent Neatly: Andy Dick is essentially like a “stuck pig” in these streamer’s houses and they are “bleeding him out.”
Outside of Andy’s responsibility—which I hope I’ve made the case for is severely diminished—this is largely thanks to one woman: his “fiancee” Elisa Jordana.
Slick, gorgeous and utterly feckless, Jordana happily sells as many stories as she can about Andy to any news source she can while the media greedily quotes her as the source of all things Andy Dick. Because why wouldn’t they, right?
She certainly has him handled.
Jordana’s longitudinal Hollywood reputation largely consists of her being a fame parasite on the Howard Stern Show, and there are honestly far too many shady connections in her past, particularly with her father, than I’d ever even want to closely explore for the purposes of my own sanity. On one of her more notable livestreams, we watch as Elisa can barely contain her laughter as Andy shows his grotesquely beaten up face on the camera, concussed—yet again—in Las Vegas.
But boy does it ever make for a great livestream, right?
There’s something dangerous about people like Elisa, in my experience. We all know what you do when someone is truly distressed. You get them to their family. Off camera. Watching her, it’s apparent she understands what every shrewd psychopath knows, second-nature and instinctively: You never let a good tragedy go to waste.
And Andy Dick is certainly an ongoing tragedy.
On her unwatchable show, this woman—who has also taken over Dick’s social media in order to continuously promote herself as well as writing posts that make him look terrible and plugging songs that she writes denigrating him—we see her tell Andy that he really needs to go stay with a friend of hers who will take care of him. He is another fringe, desperate, talentless Hollywood cos-player named “Wappy Flanker.”
“I’m going to have Wappy pick you up at the hospital, okay, sweetheart?” Elisa says.
Everything you need to do know about Flanker can all be found in Bent Neatly’s horrifying documentary that chronicles Andy’s ongoing descent into the hellscape world of what’s known as “IRL streaming” (IRL meaning “In Real Life”)—on the IP2 network—where the brain damaged, almost always intoxicated nearly sixty-year-old comedian has been miserably exploited and abused regularly since.
Flanker crashes and breaks items around Andy who cries. He threatens him. He brandishes a gun. He punches him in the ribs. And all the while, he raises thousands off of the horror show while keeping him as drunk and drugged as possible.
At one point when people in the chat point out that Flanker is raising money but seemingly keeping it from Dick, Flanker says to the camera: “That’s Andy’s money? No.” He holds up a jug of Tito’s vodka. “Andy’s money is getting used for him.”
Did Andy ever have anyone really looking out for him?
Like, as a human being? He certainly stopped doing so for himself a long time ago.
Watching old media of Andy is haunting because you can see distinctly a lot of interactions that at the time probably seemed forgettable to the people recording them, but in revisiting you can absorb with perfect clarity all of the power dynamics, dick measuring and intentional choices of emotional whiplash laid very bare. Which is inherent to comedy, no shit, but if there’s any part of you that feels compassion for Andy you can also see him getting ground up.
On August 7, 1998, on The Howard Stern Show, with only 75 days sober, it is chilling to watch a very young Andy who still seems to be wearing his heart on his sleeve, unable to make eye contact, get utterly devoured by the Stern machine on air. They play drinking sound effects. Howard relentlessly mocks him for being gay. Howard asks him if he’s been molested and then asks if he wants him to sit on his lap and when he does he recoils and acts disgusted. Howard tells him he’s not funny without drugs. He offers him drugs right then and there so that he’ll start being funny—which is the cruelest possible thing you can say to a comedian.
The man Dick regarded as his father figure, Phil Hartman, had been murdered just months earlier on May 28, 1998. His friend and the first person to take him to Alcoholics Anonymous (and his sponsor) Chris Farley died December 18, 1997.
Listening to Stern repeatedly offer him coke I could hear for the first time the ghost of Andy doing that to me in 2006 in a totally different way. It sounded like repetition compulsion on Andy’s part. When you get drunk you act out different things in your life. He knew: I’m funny when I’m fucked up. I offer people drugs. I am a trainwreck. That’s how people like me.
The episode ends with the camera crew following him into the bathroom, begging again and again to see his penis. They won’t leave him alone.
In 2011, on the 88th episode of the Joe Rogan Experience, a recording that is very hard to find and now relegated to only Daily Motion (and I imagine will probably be soon taken off there as well), comedian Brian Redban prompts Dick’s former News Radio co-star Rogan (not yet the elder statesman of greater intellectual discourse and in fact a perfect distillation of what comedy was like in 2011; I’m telling you, you have to listen to this episode) to tell Dick what his idea is for a TV show starring him.
“Did you tell him your idea for a game show?” Redban asks.
“It’s called, Let’s Get Andy Dick Arrested,” Rogan says, turning to Dick with a mischievous look. “And this is what it is…”
“This doesn’t sound fun,” Dick says. “Where’s the game part? That just happens naturally.”
Rogan is laughing now. “A young boy in his underwear rings your doorbell. Ding dong! And you’re like, ‘Come on in!’ Cops tackle you.”
Twelve years from the time he recorded that podcast, now surrounded by people who see him as the exploitable decaying celebrity cash cow that he is, Rogan virtually predicted the IP2 network which now features Dick as one of its staple characters.
It’s far too hard to tell what is real and what is not on its channels but it was only last year that multiple storylines played out where Dick was—if you follow the trail of behind-the-scenes videos—apparently set up to get arrested multiple times.
Long before I ever encountered Andy Dick in a dressing room in 2006, I saw his face smiling from the back of the book I bought from my improv teacher in Chicago at IO (ImprovOlympic), Charna Halpern.
Charna loved Andy. Everybody in comedy loves Andy because he is so sensationally freeing and talented and quick and hilarious.
Before he was as sick as he is today (and I do think it’s important to remember that he is sick), he was doing joyous bits with America’s national comedy sweetheart, Bob Odenkirk, on Paul Provenza’s show. Time once called him “the most talented, gutsy and truly strange comic of his generation.” He was making Rosie O’Donnell cry with laughter. He was making Howard Stern seethe with rage at how much he had just killed on Rosie as Howard shock-jock stuffed a fake Rosie O’Donnell head with jellybeans and said that anyone (like Rosie at the time) who said they were concerned about him just didn’t want him to be truly funny. He was funnier on drugs. Take drugs. Take drugs, Andy.
There are endless books written on the art of improv (I loved Charna’s book and her savage, insulting style of teaching, which was always grounded in brutal truth so you at least had a shot at something), but suffice it to say the world would be a better place if everyone took at least one improv course. You learn to say “yes and.” You look for subtle cues of improvisation everywhere. The more physical things you pretend to act out, the bigger the laughs you get.
Here’s one move that Andy Dick does a lot (Rob Schneider does it, too, particularly—duh—in his movie The Animal): He imitates how an animal acts…as a human.
You can even see Andy doing it in his current deeply inebriated, pathetic state here as his hands try to reach out like a cat to grab the drugs being dangled before him.
What’s something else that animals do?
They hump. They can’t control themselves.
Stand-up is a vastly different animal than improv, but if you are around it, you learn quick.
You must be familiar with how to take someone down because that’s a lot of times the “game” as it were.
Everyone knows people’s weaknesses, their personal kompromat material, and if it doesn’t exist, then you “make the sonofabitch deny it” socially engineer it.
Do they act gay? Use that. Could they be gay? Use that. Gay? Yes.
That’s what you’re looking for. Anything related to sex and personal shame. Turning it into comedy, when it works, when all the players are playing and the audience is right there attuned to the match, even when someone gets humiliated and trounced, can feel like everyone is set free.
Within the culture of stand-up and its offshoot of shock-jock radio and podcasting, this has always been the game at the heart of it all.
Playing around with the soft spots of your opponent.
And if it’s a comedic interview between two funny people, guess what? Meet your players.
(It’s been an interesting arc in the past decade to notice how the pendulum has swung so much toward victim dominance in that many people in comedy now will use the performance of being offended as the new method of domination.)
Part of this is also the near therapeutic thrill of it.
There is endless cringe and gallows humor to be milked from putting the most vulnerable, excruciating tenderness of humans into a boiling pot of water to see what happens (I think there is something about this that works almost like a healing form of exposure therapy itself—incidentally, Scientology exploits this cognitive behavioral therapy trick in getting people to “clear”).
And with funny people there is usually something wrong with everyone to begin with. Because they feel like they are an “other” or an outcast or different in some way and so familiarizing yourself with all the weaknesses allows you to savage someone else before they savage you first or at the very least, savage back.
It’s formalized and gamified within the roast itself.
So when you watch comedians beat each other up with words and ideas and condemnations and tabloid placements and the prompt-injection-style introduction of memetic lore into culture (“did you know Andy Dick killed Phil Hartman?”), I watch it in the style of sport.
It is a boxing match.
CBS news, July 18, 2007:
In an interview with Dennis Miller on Tuesday, comedian Jon Lovitz explained that Andy Dick's constant complaining about his arrival on "Newsradio" led to an argument during which Lovitz accused Dick of contributing to the death of Phil Hartman.
Lovitz had joined the show, of which Dick was a co-star, after his friend Hartman was shot and killed by Hartman's wife, Brynn.
"[Andy] was just complaining and really giving me a hard time for no reason. Phil told me that they had a Christmas party and Andy was doing cocaine and he gave it to Phil's wife Brynn, who had been sober for 10 years. So Andy said to me, 'Well, you shouldn't be here,' and I said, 'Well, I wouldn't be here if you hadn't given Brynn coke in the first place.'"
Eventually, the two worked out their differences, or so Lovitz thought.
"Later on we made up, and I said 'I'm sorry I said that,'" Lovitz said. "I realized it really wasn't his fault. Everything was fine for years."
But everything changed when Dick visited a restaurant of which Lovitz is part-owner. Lovitz said he was sitting at a table with a friend, and a group at the table next to them treated them to some peach liqueurs. Apparently, Dick and a friend came over to their table, and downed both liqueurs.
"He's standing there with liqueur dripping down his chin and he says, 'I put the Phil Hartman hex on you, you're the next one to die,'" said Lovitz. "And he's smiling, and my blood just went to my head. I wanted to smash him, but if I hit him he would have gone flying into the table behind him. He was really drunk."
Lovitz told Dick's friend to take his buddy out of the restaurant and vowed never to let him back in again. He didn't see Dick again until Wednesday night, when Lovitz was performing his weekly show at the Laugh Factory in Los Angeles.
"So I do my show and there's all these people there and then I'm done and the MC's up on stage and I see Andy's up on stage and I'm like 'Oh my God, what's he going to do?'" he said.
Lovitz met up with Dick in the packed lobby after the show. Lovitz wanted an apology from Dick for his "Hartman's hex" comment. But, apparently, Dick hadn't really buried the hatchet over their initial argument during their stint on "Newsradio."
"I just wanted him to say, 'Oh, I'm sorry,'" said Lovitz. "Then he leans into me, 'Well you know why I said that? Because you said I killed Phil Hartman that's the first thing you said to me when you got on the show.' I just lost it so I grabbed him by the shirt and I pushed him against the wall. And he's just smiling at me, and then I realized 'oooh, here's my chance.' So I grabbed him by his shirt and pushed him really hard and I smashed his back and his head into the bar. And I did it again. I would have kept going, but the doorman broke it up."
Miller congratulated Lovitz, whom he had introduced as "one of the most loveable, easygoing guys I know." He said, "I love this story. Good for you my friend."
Tom Green Show, July 25, 2007:
Andy Dick: “You can put this on YouTube. Whether I gave, uh, Phil Hartman’s wife cocaine which I don’t know if I did or not, it would be like if I died tonight because I asked you for coke and you said, ‘Yeah I happen to have some that my friend gave me. Yeah here, go, do it.’ And you didn’t know I had a problem, or you’re like, ‘Oh he must always do it, he’s fine, it’s like his Vitamin C. It’s his vitamin to him, he needs it.’ And then you give it to me but I die. Would you think you killed me?”
Tom Green looks around and raises his hands up. “Can I, uh, say, ‘No comment’? Uh, no, I guess not. I’ve never done coke. Look, I’m from Ottawa, you know.”
“Well you’re going to do some tonight. No, I’m just kidding,” Dick says. “I stay away from the hard drugs…now. But believe me.”
“That’s why I stay away. That’s why I stay away from them now. But my point is that, look. If you’re looking to get drunk, you’re going to go to a bar. If you’re looking for drugs, you’re going to go to somebody who you think has blow. So, you know, she is somebody who that night wanted to get high, and oh, he must have it. ‘Do you have any?’ ‘Yeah maybe I do.’ And then that happened. I didn’t know annnnything about her past. I didn’t know any of that. And then, she didn’t die that night or go crazy that night. Months went by. Almost a half a year, and then she went crazy.
“I was already in rehab,” he says. “I had already went to rehab for my problem, for me—I had a cocaine problem, and I went to rehab. And I went. And I remember Phil calling. He was the only one. And this will make me cry. And by the way, I love Phil. He was my surrogate father. He was my surrogate father. You better YouTube the shit out of this.”
Andy starts to tear up.
“‘Cause he was the only that called me when I was in rehab. The only one. The only one. The only one. But he also called me to say, ‘Hey is it good? Because I think my wife needs to go.’ And I was like, ‘Yeah it’s real good. You should get here in here. Does she have a problem? Yes. Get her in.’ And of course they were both dead months later.”
Philly Voice, 2019, an interview with Jon Lovitz:
Q: You also had issues with Andy Dick.
A: Things came to a head with Andy. I lost my temper (Lovitz pummeled Dick in a bar a decade ago) and I’m not proud of it. We talked afterward. He apologized and we made up.
The Addict’s Addict
Andy Dick is the rabbithole that keeps on rabbitholing.
He has been surrounded by death so much it’s absurd. Every interview you listen to he mentions some new story of someone dead or who nearly died. In the ADiCKted podcast, it’s his most recent rehab girlfriend. She overdosed.
Did he play a role in any of those deaths by doing drugs with so many of the people who end up dead? That depends on who you ask. According to the police, no. According to addiction specialists, no.
According to what haunts Andy Dick’s dreams, one can only imagine.
So many of the YouTube documentaries about Andy Dick lay out the succession of major deaths around him (Chris Farley, 1997, Phil Hartman, 1998, and David Strickland, 1999) as being somehow logical and related. This documentary is one of the better and more disturbing ones. It was only published two months ago, and has more than 3 million views already.
If you’ve forgotten—as I had—David Strickland was one of the stars of the ‘90s sitcom Suddenly Susan who Dick went with to Vegas on a major bender that ended in Strickland, who was off his Lithium, hiring a series of call girls (one of whom he told her life was about to change) before hanging himself in a seedy motel room off the Strip where people can still rent and make YouTube videos in it to this day. Dick was questioned in the death and identified the body. Dick has even been known to taking on the moniker that he is the “Angel of Death,” brandishing it proudly, like a modern-day Joker, a comparison which has not gone unnoticed on Twitter, Reddit and TMZ.
Is Andy Dick the Joker when he parties?
Maybe. It doesn’t really matter. Because he is blackout. He told Marc Maron as much in 2011. That is pretty much all you need to know.
There is little to no Andy there at all.
The best, most recent piece about Dick that I’ve read comes from 2016 in Vice. At the time he was getting his career back on track, and his two years of sobriety allowed him some actual insight into how insane he had become.
"I had to stop drinking, or I was going to die," Dick tells me from a couch at Soba, the sober-living facility in Malibu he's called home for almost two years. "I could see it very clearly. I was bleeding out of my ass. I was going to die."
"I would always say that I didn't have a problem with drugs and alcohol," he recalls. "But I would drink when I was happy, when I was sad, when I was anxious. Without drugs or alcohol, I was depressed, frustrated, angry. Honestly, it just stopped being fun when I was crawling around on the floor to find the phone, not able to dial because both my hands were shaking. When I would get ahold of one of the recovery centers, they would hang up when they found out it was me. No one wanted to help me because I was unhelpable. Why would they bring me in just to have me die in their bed?"
He was couch surfing at this time, too.
"I had exhausted family and friends. No one wanted me. I didn't have anywhere to live, literally, no apartment, no house," he says. "I had spent a good two years couch surfing prior to that. And liking it! It's not a sad, boohoo story. I was loving it, or at least I told myself I was."
One of the couches Dick lived on belonged to Mike Gamms, a 27-year-old comedian who went from being Dick's equally inebriated sidekick to his sobriety mentee. "What most attracted me to Andy at first is that the reputation I had heard about him was all terrible. People told me to stay away from him, that he was bad news, an asshole, that I would get in trouble," Gamms tells me. "My thought was [that] people have said those things about me before, too. I've been in a place in my life where I was doing really destructive behavior and making a lot of bad choices, and I still had friends that believed in me. I figured there had to be more to him than that."
The duo cavorted around Los Angeles, crashing parties, talking their way into music festivals, and, they say, almost getting into a fistfight with Slayer at the VH1 Rock Awards after Dick pilfered the band's magnum bottle of Grey Goose. "We hung out every single day, all day, for like nine months straight. Either I was sleeping on his couch, or he was sleeping on mine, or we just weren't sleeping," says Gamms. This intimacy has afforded him some insight into what makes Dick tick. "Andy's most fun trait and his downfall is that he's absolutely spontaneous. Whatever is in front of him, he'll just do. He's never satisfied. He always wants to do more," Gamms says. "We could have had the most crazy, fun experience ever, and he's already thinking of the next thing. He's addicted to life. And when you're chasing the sun like that, you're gonna get burned a few times."
The article also smartly analyzes the pipeline he keeps falling back into, which he’s caught in right now, which feels like some kind of RV-powered degenerate modern-day Videodrome.
Dick's notoriety as a loose cannon fed back into his bad behavior. Barflies, fellow wastrels, and casual observers alike would enable his substance abuse, often goading him into volatile situations for the sake of a story. "It's really easy to get in those situations," Dick goes on. "I just get fuckin' drunk. All eyes are on me from drink one to drink 21. They've been snapchatting, tweeting it, videoing it the whole time. And they love it. There would be people who would feed me drugs and alcohol just to rattle the monkey's cage. They were feeding the beast. I'd go to these after-hours where cocaine was everywhere, and everybody wanted to be able to say they'd done cocaine with Andy Dick, so everybody would give me cocaine. I never bought cocaine. Ever!"
"When he's sober, he's a really brilliant, funny dude. But we didn't see much of that."—Molly Hankins
This pattern of enabling Dick's addiction was repeated by the people he surrounded himself with. Molly Hankins was a tenant and neighbor of Dick's for five years, in an eight-unit apartment building in West Hollywood that Dick owned and lived in at the time. "It started out fun, but sometimes it was so sad," Molly says of her time living there. "When he's sober, he's a really brilliant, funny dude. But we didn't see much of that." Surrounded by a posse of enablers comprised of fresh-faced Hollywood neophytes awed by his celebrity and sycophants looking to use his notoriety for self-gain, Dick would party to reckless extremes on a nightly basis. Drink and drugs were requisite, and destruction of property––from bongs to bones to Volkswagen Jettas––was a common occurrence.
In 2008, as a result of financial issues, Dick was forced to sell the property—but his anarchic specter remained. "After Andy took the deal, he kept coming back," says Hankins. "He'd show up at like 7 AM on a Saturday and just lay on the horn for 20 minutes. He'd pee on our doorstep. He'd show up with his kids and make us feed them."
"I would lose my barometer of what was appropriate when I would drink. I wasn't just over the edge, I was dive-bombing into the cesspool of what's not OK," he admits. "I've ruined so many friendships because of it. I've left a wake of dead relationships. Some people won't talk to me ever again. I've missed so many opportunities––I lost all five of my houses and my eight-unit apartment building because of neglect and financial mismanagement from being drunk all the time. I really did lose everything."
Andy Dick has been actively trying to “party die” for a long time now, it seems.
Yet still, you can sometimes see, even in his most recent arrest a few days ago which got him away from the group of live-streamers currently abusing and humiliating him on camera for donations, the visible flicker of fight left in him still.
And that flicker—that conflict and the will, I hope, of the man to want to save himself—is what makes him so compelling.
Sometimes you have to wonder if Andy is some kind of diabolical genius chess-master. Because his current life is so bleak it practically forces you to go back to the original material to see if it holds up.
Let me tell you—it really, really does.
On the innovative, eponymous Andy Dick Show, not only does it hold up (Master P calls Andy a “fun boy” and Dave Grohl is in a sketch pretending to hit on Andy’s then real-life partner because his girlfriend was eaten by mountain lions which he works into a pickup line) and for me, watching a lot of it is the first time I’ve laughed so much in a long while.
Something about wildly offensive humor feels like freedom. It also reminds you how much comedy makes life not just bearable but endlessly hilarious.
Even his most recent interview with Greg Fitzsimmons where Dick is on air seeming to realize how horribly his fiancee is treating him as Greg informs him of all the shit she keeps posting on his social media, it’s incredibly funny.
He’s someone so irresistible that even when his personality was fairly persona non grata already in the late 2010s, one of his old college roommates was still able to secretly wrangle an entire bevy of giant stars including Ben Stiller for a critically acclaimed documentary called Everybody Has An Andy Dick Story. Banned from film festivals because of Dick’s legacy of offending, it starts off with a quote from Dick’s long-time real-life friend Fitzsimmons, who says simply, “The world without Andy Dick and people like Andy Dick would suck.”
It was a year ago that Dick gave Fitzsimmons an interview that provided the best most recent insight into him (outside of that ADiCKted podcast, where he went from vowing to turn his life around with Dr. Daniel Amen after viewing his terrifying brain scan to being high and wasted all the time to just not showing up altogether for the last episode).
You can feel the love between the two men, and Fitzsimmons starts it off by telling him that he was just on the phone with Bill Burr who was saying how great The Andy Dick Show was.
It’s a stark contrast to the newer talk show hosts like Adam22 behind No Jumper who appear to be not even remotely familiar with Dick’s body of work but whose audience is so young, that you can see Andy trying to offer him whatever Hollywood connects and naming-name stories he can: from the fact that he accuses Jeff Goldblum of stealing his ex-girlfriend Lisa Donatz (who you can watch appear on a 2000 episode of Dr. Drew here, where Pinsky mocks Andy for wanting to know his studio setup and jokes that someone who is a fan of his in the chat must be “bipolar” too, a diagnosis that the comedian has never had) to the fact that one residual check from The Lion King was worth $200,000 for the song he has in it.
The most touching interview of all because I’m always touched when I watch people who care deeply for each other is one old interview he did with Tom Green when he’s very clear—and a totally different person. Because he’s clear.
A sober, far more sensitive Dick tells his friend, essentially, that he is reluctant to take the callers-in because he knows they will be awful and cruel and relentless.
Green says: Well you know what? We’ll hang up on them if they do that.
The questions that come in are loving, kind. You can see how infectious to him it is.
“Well, the Drugs Got a Real Tight Grip on Andy”
There seems to be something increasingly Roman in the air of late. Have you noticed it?
Particularly toward those whom society has deemed the permanently disgraced, the unforgiveables, the non-persons.
Online forums tell the story very well with Andy Dick.
“I fully condone Andy being put down.”
“The more degenerates Andy assassinates, the better.”
“I thought Andy Dick was dead. Now I just wish he was…So does he.”
But not everyone and with everyone. Sometimes you find, in fact, just the opposite.
I found this song about Andy Dick late last night by Mark Foster of Foster the People
I stumbled upon it because I was trying to find out if a single news outlet ever talked about Andy Dick’s endless bad behavior in the context of his traumatic brain injury (they have not), and in Googling, I landed upon a Reddit thread that asked, “Anyone know the backstory/meaning of this song? (Ballad of Andy)”?
“It’s about Andy Dick,” a commenter replied.
“Mark used to work for him and I believe they were good friends.”
“Yea,” another wrote. “He mentioned his friendship with Mark in an episode of his old podcast Skull Juice as well as playing the song.”
When the singer introduces the song, he says: “This is a song I do about Andy that we do during the shows. But, it’s not funny.”
Within the top comments of the song on YouTube, someone has posted the lyrics to it.
Andy did not fair too well
As a young boy in Roswell, well,
Georgia was no good for his tender soul.
Then he went to Chicago, and,
Off to Hollywood he goes, well,
Hollywood's a hard road to ride alone.
And now you turn on the TV,
And you see him, now he's laughin',
And you think it's make believe, but,
He's more real than what you see, on TV.
Well the 'Stiller Show', you may know it,
Got him on ‘News Radio,’ and,
It turned out to be a hit show.
Well all the success got to his head, it's,
Hard to live life when all your best friends are dead, and,
All the weight of the world just crashes in.
And now you turn on the TV,
And you see him, now he's laughin',
And you think it's make believe, but,
He's more real than what you see. And now you turn on the TV,
And now you see him, while he's yellin',
And you think it's make believe, but,
He's more real than what you see, on TV. And he danced with the Devil,
And all of, his candy.
Well the drugs got a real tight grip on Andy.
Well he went to jail the night passed on.
He broke his bones and broke his nose, and he broke his funny bone, oh yeah.
And now you turn on the TV,
And you see him, now he's cryin',
And you think it's make believe,
But he's more real than what you see. And now you turn on the TV,
And now you see him, while he's dying,
And you think it's make believe,
But he's more real than what you see on TV.
Yeah, he's more real than what you see, on TV
Top 3 Rabbitholed Takeaways:
#1 Livestreaming an alcoholic with a head injury is nothing short of cruel and unusual.
It’s fascinating just how deep the lie goes within the fundamental architecture of the players within IRL streaming. Stream after stream they express their concern. All while they film, film, film, and exploit to the best of their ability. Watching someone get put into this IP2 environment feels like watching a swarm of ants surround and consume and devour a living thing. I hope to never watch it again in my life.
#2 Ultimately, I hope that someone with means will intervene to get Andy Dick into a safe environment to prevent further harm to himself and to others.
After having spent the last several days consuming nothing but material related to the comedian, I’ve gone from initially, arrogantly feeling I had him dead-ass pegged early on (my first writing glibly suggests that if you can’t wait until the next season of The White Lotus, simply tune into the life of Andy Dick!) to finding myself fully breaking down sobbing several times at the sheer weight of sadness surrounding the guy to ultimately feeling like I must write this so perfectly that someone like a Judd Apatow or a Ben Stiller will be so moved as to swoop in and quietly save the day.
I am sure many have tried to help the guy before, but at the end of the day when you want something to work, you figure it out. With the bait of status (proffered by old high-level connections) and tempered with handlers, Andy could easily be put in a situation where his brain can actually heal so Andy can become Andy again.
As he was evaluated on that addiction and brain-focused podcast a year ago, Dr. Daniel Amen told him outright: “If you did everything I asked you to do, a year from now your brain could look like the one on the right. It can be much healthier. I think you’re at a tipping point, and you could go one way or the other way. I’m hoping you go to the right place.”
“Me too,” Andy says.
#3 There are two Andys.
Is Andy Dick simply evil and enjoys hurting people and I’m a fool to ever go looking for his humanity?
I don’t think so at all.
What I think is that when he is sober it is excruciating and unbearable for him to be thought of as evil, and because of this, he gets deeply intoxicated and leans more into being “evil” to show everyone how much it doesn’t bother him.
There are two Andys.
Every person who has ever known him talks about how there are two Andys.
The last two decades we have seen him actively trying to kill the sweet one.
He has algorithmed his own despair. More and more and more and more.
I’m hoping very much that his oppositional defiance kicks in upon reading all of this to say: Fuck this bitch. I can still turn it around.
I would like to see Andy live.