http://www.nydailynews.com/life-style/e ... -1.2718859
Andrew Dice Clay returns to Coney Island with an attitude — and an appetite!
When he comes back to Brooklyn, Andrew Dice Clay loves the flattened veal chop parmigiana at Michael’s of Brooklyn, a venerable borough mainstay. (TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, July 21, 2016, 5:00 AM
He’s a great customer, but a lousy employee!
Comedian Andrew Dice Clay’s favorite restaurant in Brooklyn is still Michael’s — the very same Marine Park eatery that fired him on his first day as a busboy.
He could hardly blame them.
“I got fired for taking too many breaks,” said the comedian, a native of Sheepshead Bay who went on to achieve stardom unimaginable when he was just doing his John Travolta imitation at the now-defunct Pip’s comedy club. “I remember it was Christmas Eve and a customer says to me, ‘Get me more bread!’ And I said, ‘Get it yourself. I’m going outside!’ So they fired me, which was a very smart decision on their part. I was 16 years old, but I’ve always had a problem with a--holes.”
Food and workplace dysfunction played crucial roles in the conversion of young Andrew Clay Silverstein into Andrew Dice Clay — a guy who could neither hold a job nor be all that concerned about it.
“I once worked at Baskin-Robbins in Kings Plaza (a mall near where Clay grew up),” said Clay, whose “Back in Brooklyn” show hits Coney Island’s new boardwalk amphitheater on July 30: http://fordamphitheaterconeyisland.com/ ... dice-clay/
. “I’ll never forget one time this obese guy walks and tried to cut in front of the line. And he’s yelling at me, ‘I want a chocolate malted. I want a chocolate malted!’ Not a ‘shake,’ mind you, but a ‘malted.’ So I say, ‘All right, you want a chocolate malted, I’ll give you a chocolate malted.’ Well, I put so much malt and so much syrup that when he took the first sip, he started choking. He made a whole scene. He went down to his knees and said, ‘What kind of malted is this?’ and I said, ‘Well you rushed me!’”
Oddly, Clay was not fired for that incident. The final grounds for termination came mere days later.
“They had a rule at this Baskin-Robbins that at the end of the night, if you wanted some ice cream, you could take some,” Clay said. “So I took one of those full vats of vanilla and just brought it home with me for my family. Even my mother was like, ‘What’s wrong with you? Where are we going to put this?’ The next day, the manager said, ‘Why did you take a full vat of vanilla ice cream,’ and I said. ‘Because you said we could.’ His next words were, ‘I have to fire you.’ I was 18 then.”
Dice’s workplace failings were not limited to food establishments. He also worked at the original Stanley Kaplan tutoring center on Kings Highway. Clay’s job was to hand out tapes for law and medical students who were cramming for various tests.
“If they weren’t nice, I’d get angry,” Clay recalled. “I’d say, ‘Do you really think you’re doctor material? You don’t have patience or bedside manner.’ Basically, I was working on my act, so my sister got me fired.”
Being the world’s worst employee probably set up Dice for a career as one of the dirtiest, nastiest, smarmiest, angriest comics to ever come out of Brooklyn. From his breakout success at Pip’s in 1979, Clay pursued acting in Hollywood, but eventually found his true calling as a comedian — and, in 1990, became the first comic to sell out Madison Square Garden on back-to-back nights.
He also became a lightning rod for critics who saw his sexually supercharged material as puerile or, worse, misogynistic. He was, in fact, banned from MTV from 1989-2011 because he recited pornographic nursery rhymes — Example? “Rock-a-bye baby on the treetop/Your mother's a whore, I ain't your pop" — during the Video Music Awards.
Michael (left) and Fred Cacace of Michael’s of Brooklyn show off Andrew Dice Clay’s favorite dish: flattened veal chop parmigiana. (TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
He rode out the bad times by raising two kids — and marrying and divorcing three times — and recently had a mini-hit with a semi-autobiographical series, “Dice,” on Showtime.
On the eve of his Coney Island show, “The Undisputed King” chatted with the Daily News about all his favorite restaurants from the days before, during and after the peak of his stardom:
“It’s not just that the food is fantastic,” Clay said of the restaurant that fired him on his first day. “The whole vibe of the restaurant is perfect: You are in the perfect Italian restaurant — not a family place, but a date place. I always order the chicken or veal parm.”
That’s a good choice; Michael’s takes a thick veal chop — bone-in — and flattens it before preparing it in the traditional parmigiana style. The Food Network just named Michael’s “Veal Smash Job” one of the best dishes in America: http://www.foodnetwork.com/shows/top-5- ... erica.html
To this day, Clay remembers his biggest night at Michael’s — not the night he was fired, but about 12 years later when his career finally took off in 1989.
“I took everyone to Michael’s for a big New Year’s Eve dinner — about a dozen people,” he said. “Everyone ordered whatever they wanted. I didn’t care. This was the Christmas when I spent $38,000 on gifts for my family. Compact disc players. Stereos. Big speakers. Jewelry. A fur coat for my wife. I spent $800 just on cologne for people. I was loaded, so I just gave it away. Everybody got something. I went berzerk!”
Even in the leaner years, Clay still went back to Michael’s.
“It’s funny because they remember me as the busboy they fired,” he said. “They certainly didn’t know that a busboy would end up ruling comedy. But I’m sure they knew I wasn’t a good busboy.”
Owner Fred Cacace remembers Clay to this day.
“I think my father made me fire him that night,” said Cacace, whose restaurant has been in business for 52 years. “Because if Andy says we fired him gently, than it must have been me because my father would have kicked his ass.”
Cacace said he and Dice have been friends since “way before he got famous.”
(VICTORIA WILL/VICTORIA WILL/INVISION/AP)
Here’s Dice doing the dirty nursery rhymes at the 1989 MTV Video Music Awards that got him banned by the network for more than a decade.
(FRANK MICELOTTA/GETTY IMAGES)
(left) Andrew Dice Clay today — a little thicker in the torso. And this article shows you why! (right) Dice back in the day.
“He had an apartment on Nostrand Ave. right across the street and I’d come out of the restaurant whenever he was waiting for the bus to get to the subway for auditions,” Cacace said. “This was way before Pip’s. Did he tell you about his socks?”
“Oh, then I don’t know anything about it!” Cacace said.
Michael’s, 2929 Avenue R at Nostrand Ave., (718) 998-7851, michaelsofbrooklyn.com.
Lenny and John’s Pizza
“To me, it’s just the best pizza in Brooklyn,” Clay said. “I’ll stop there late at night whenever I get a chance. It’s always hot, always fresh.
“I don’t even know why I love it so much,” Clay added. “It’s a standard Brooklyn slice — a big slice with lots and lots of cheese. I don’t even like cheese, but I love that slice.”
Clay said his hatred of cheese — waived for chicken parm and pizza — isn’t only a dietary concern, but his particularly odd form of feminism.
“Cheese is the destruction of women,” he said. “Cheese and salad dressing. You take a girl out on a date and she says, ‘I’m not a big eater, I’ll just have a salad.’ And then the salad is covered in cheese and dressing and then a few years later, he legs are dented up like they’ve been hit with a sledgehammer. Where do you think that came from? The cheese!”
Which, of course, reminds Dice of a woman.
“There is nothing greater to look at than a woman with a great shape,” he said. “My wife (um, technically ex-wife!) Valerie has that hour-glass figure and I want to keep (adult content deleted). And you know what? She does not eat too much cheese.”
Clay said he last stopped by after a concert at the Theatre at Westbury last year and was mobbed by fans — or at least the few fans and cops who happened to be there at 2:30 in the morning.
Brothers Jimmy (l) and Danny Scandiffo show of the pizza that Andrew Dice Clay says is the best in Brooklyn. He visits the pizzeria, Lenny and John’s, whenever he can. (TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
“I also got Italian ices,” Clay said. “It’s a summer thing: I mix lemon and chocolate. It’s the best mixed together.”
Mike Wolfe, a delivery man for the pizzeria, was there that night.
“I didn’t talk to him because I was, you know, working, but I knew something was up from the big limo out front,” Wolfe said. There was quite a commotion.”
Owner Joe Locci wasn’t there, but he’s seen Clay plenty of times.
“He never forgot us and he always comes back,” Locci said. “He’s a very nice person. I have a pizza box with his autograph on it.”
Lenny and John’s Pizza, 2036 Flatbush Ave. between Flatlands and Ave. P., (718) 252-9710, lennyandjohnspizza.com
“To me, all the great diners have the same thing: that comfortable vibe,” Clay said. “I don’t like when diners get too fancy. And I used to go the Arch Diner at night, after a show. It’s a night time place. That’s how I looked at it.”
Co-owner Louie Leonidou disputed that.
“Breakfast is my busiest time of the day,” he told the News. “I have the best pancakes in town. I challenge anyone! And I have the best cheesecake — all made right here. I challenge Junior’s.”
Leonidou, who has been with the diner since the 1990s, didn’t remember Clay, but said rappers are his main celebrities now.
"The neighborhood changed — it used to be Italians and Jews, but now it’s Caribbeans,” he said. “I love all my customers.”
Clay likes the Arch Diner in Mill Basin. Here, Louie Leonidou shows off his homemade cheesecake. (TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
Leonidou also mentioned that WABC radio star Curtis Sliwa was once a regular, too. When asked to comment, Sliwa sent over what can only be described as a prose poem:
Across from the
Glenwood Projects and
South Shore H.S. It's
where I would on
occasion mad dog the
bulls from the Canarsie
branches of the Luchesse and Gambino crime families.
They would hold court
there while eating their
eggs over easy with
sausages, bacon, ham
... those fat slobs.
I was a BLT
man myself with a
chocolate egg cream
Also the New York City sewer plant
was across the street from the Arch Diner on
Sometimes on a hot summer’s day
the stench from the sewer yards would
sometimes drive you
Jimmy Scandiffo makes one of his signature Brooklyn slice pies at Lenny and John's Pizza on Flatbush Ave. — which is Andrew Dice Clay’s favorite pizza joint. (TODD MAISEL/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)
right into the Arch and
you'd try and nurse an
ice tea for as long as you could before they'd
kick you out.
We thought that Ed
Norton of ‘The Honeymooners’ actually
worked in the sewer yards.”
Clay said he used to order a burger and fries. He admits he was much more of a regular at the now-defunct El Greco Diner on Emmons Ave. in Sheepshead Bay — the scene of the full celebratory dinner after his breakout performance at Pip’s: http://www.brooklynpaper.com/stories/30 ... eclay.html
“It was Sept. 13, 1978,” he said. “I came onstage as Jerry Lewis in ‘The Nutty Professor’ and I was dying. People were booing, screaming at me to get off the stage. It was Brooklyn, you know. But it was all part of my act. The lights go down on cue and when they came back up, I was dressed as John Travolta. They were throwing tables over, everyone was going so nuts. They hired me to headline on the spot.
“We went to the (El Greco) on Sheepshead Bay Rd. with my aunt, my cousin, my uncle, my parents. No one could talk because they couldn’t believe what they just saw. I had a burger and fries.”
Arch Diner, 1866 Ralph Ave at Flatlands Ave., (718) 531-3718
Sidebar: Dice’s honorable mentions
L&B Spumoni Gardens
"It's simple: Great pizza and good-looking girls, so I love it," Clay said of the legendary joint on 86th St. in Gravesend.
"The fries are always crispy yet soft inside, too," Clay said of the Coney Island landmark. "I tell them, 'Burn 'em until the point where you think you have to throw them out. Then give those to me."
Peter Luger Steak House
"The old waiters tell you which steak you are having and they're so good, you just say, 'All right, just handle it. But bring a lot of those onion rolls,'" Clay said of the Williamsburg meat Mecca.
Andrew Dice Clay at Ford Amphitheater in Coney Island, 2113 W 21st St. between Surf Ave. and the Boardwalk, July 30, 8 p.m. For info, visit the website.