Andy Dick Finds God the Hard Way

The comedian talks about comedy, Christians, and talking to God.

Andy Dick came to our attention as the quirky reporter Matthew on the 1995 sitcom "News Radio." In 1999, after the deaths of his respected co-star Phil Hartman and friend Chris Farley, Dick smashed up his car, pleaded guilty to drug possession, and went through a drug program, where, he has said, he began talking to God. Since rehab, Dick has been as busy as anyone in Hollywood, appearing in a dozen movies, and creating "The Andy Dick Show" on MTV, which Rolling Stone called "the funniest thing on TV." As Owen on the ABC sitcom "Less Than Perfect," Dick builds on his "News Radio" persona of a gentle, lost soul, but one ready to snap at the most unlikely provocation.

In private, Dick is thoughtful, thankful, and serious about his spiritual search. He claims he's helped in this by his  co-stars Zachary Levi and Sherri Shepherd, both well-known in Hollywood's Christian circles. Called a comedic "saving grace" in this interview, Dick appears to be looking for some grace himself.

This interview originally appeared on Beliefnet in 2003.

What is Andy Dick’s definition of comedy?
Whatever makes you laugh.

What makes Andy Dick laugh?
I have a very dark sense of humor. I laugh when I see people in pain. Sometimes I think it is a defense mechanism from childhood, where you're in so much pain you have to laugh. It is a survival mechanism.

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Over the last 20 years or so, comedy has gotten a lot more vulgar. Can comedy be clean? Does it have to be dirty and rude?
Yeah, I go there a lot. But I don’t think you need that. When I go there, it's to shock people. A lot of times people laugh because they are uncomfortable. . . . If you really look closer, there is pain involved. There is something that is painful that someone else can relate to. It is kind of a laugh out of recognition. Like, "Ah, I've been there."

It terms of being vulgar, I don’t think you need to be violent unless it's slapstick, violence to your self. That can be funny--we've all tripped and fallen on our faces. To be vulgar or nasty isn't needed. It's almost easier to do that. You have to be clever to not do that.

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