An Up & Coming Dick
The story of my friendship with Andy Dick before he moved to LA
The Stand Up & The Heckler
Chicago, 1988: Andy Dick, never known for his patience, was very mad at me. “When you press the buzzer, it buzzes,” he scowled, demonstrating how his front door bell worked. “And when it buzzes, it buzzes loud, and we fucking hear it the first fucking time. So you don’t have to keep buzzing the buzzer” — frantically pressing the button to make his point — “because buzzing the buzzer a hundred fucking times wakes up the fucking baby. OK? OK?! OK?!?”
As if on cue, his three-month-old son Lucas started crying from his crib. “See what you did? This is your fault.” “You’re the one making a racket now, Andy,” I pointed out. “Yeah?” Andy snapped back. “My baby doesn’t know you’re an idiot, but I sure as hell do. I just did the world a favor by letting him know, too. Maybe next time try knocking on our goddamn door instead?” Staring at me through his big, bulging, beady blue eyes, he showed me how: Knock, knock.
Andy and I lived a few blocks from each other in Edgewater, a once-grand and then-sketchy lake front area. Introduced that spring by a woman we both lusted after, Andy and I and became fast friends, creating an instant Abbott & Costello, Lucy & Desie rapport. I often visited the cluttered apartment he shared with his Polish wife Ivone and their new born, after which we’d crash parties for free booze and food, talk about how Andy could become famous.
A favorite destination was The Roxy comedy club on Fullerton Avenue, about five too-broke-for-even-bus-fare miles away. Andy’s pal Dino sometimes gave us a ride in his vintage wheels, but usually we had to walk. Film critic Roger Ebert frequented the joint, and that same night we brushed past him and his sycophantic argyle sweater-vest clad minions seated at the bar on our way to the stage area. Open Mic was Andy’s weekly calling, few at the time listening.
“About a minute in, start heckling me,” riffed Andy, his natural peroxide-blond hair exploding in tufts above his enormous, baby-like bobblehead. “I’m going to plow through my set, just keep ramping up the noise.” “We need a code word,” I suggested, a fast learner. “Right!” said Andy, as if every idea were his. “Soon as I say…