Andy Dick Is Not Afraid

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Twice during the day, it seems certain Andy Dick is going to die. The first incident occurs at "the property," 80 acres of barren mountain in Topanga Canyon he has bought against the better judgment of everyone he knows. "I'm going to put up a teepee and have it be my personal KOA Kampground," he explains, hiking up a hill as the sun goes down. There are bobcats, mountain lions and rattlesnakes in the area, and Dick has become enamored of a joke about someone finding the tapes of this interview, a la The Blair Witch Project. He lies on the top of a rock with his head hanging over the cliff. He suggests the interview be conducted as a sleepover. But fate need not be further tempted.

Though one of the most talented, gutsy and truly strange comics of his generation, Dick, 33, is most famous as Hollywood's angel of death. The NewsRadio star was a friend of Brynn and Phil Hartman's, went to Vegas strip bars with actor David Strickland the night he killed himself and had comic Chris Farley as an addiction-group sponsor. Dick recently completed his second stint in rehab and is awaiting judgment later this month for a DWI he received after crashing his car into a tree and trying to flee on foot. His image worries him so much that he wonders whether he should tell people he is in Disney's new kids' movie, Inspector Gadget. "If I tell them, maybe they're going to grab their kids and go running from the theater, screaming, covering their eyes," he says.

In addition to Inspector Gadget, Dick is in this fall's animated TV show Sammy, will appear in Picking Up the Pieces with Woody Allen and Sharon Stone, and performed last Friday at Woodstock with his band, the Bitches of the Century. He is two months sober, goes daily to support groups and, despite the mountain incident, insists he wants to live. "There are all kinds of addictions, and I've got every single one," he says. "If you set me in front of anything, I will do it until I ram it into the ground and it's done working for me. Until I lose all my money, until there is no love left, until the drugs or alcohol don't work." He says he is now following a philosophy called "contrary action," in which he, like Seinfeld's George Costanza, does the opposite of his instincts.

Dick's sobriety should allow him to put on The Big Dick Show, the stage show about his addictions that he was supposed to perform in New York City this spring. He insists it will be as disturbing as his past live performances, which, in the spirit of his hero Andy Kaufman, manage to clear about half the audience by the time he reaches the mooning, rear-end shaving, fake vomiting or simulated anal rape. "The people who leave, I don't want to please," he says. "I want to please people who are like me." He says his lack of personal boundaries allows him to wake people up, though he feels his tabloid fame has damaged this ability. "It's hard to do anything crazy," he says, "because people now just shake their head and feel sorry for me." Next year he plans to open the Andy Dick Theater in Los Angeles, a small space devoted to odd performance art.

Which would be much like his house. Dick's house is like Andy Warhol's Factory, only for stranger people. He is so sure someone will always be there--usually performers and musicians, in addition to his 19-year-old girlfriend--that he doesn't have his own set of keys. Dick's 11-year-old son, the child's mother and her boyfriend live downstairs, and his other two younger children by a different ex-girlfriend also live in L.A. Dick says he is heterosexual except when he is drinking. Outside his house are a trampoline, an Airstream trailer and a Zen-inspired enclosed garden, where he meditates daily. Right now he is strictly following a diet geared to blood type, which requires him to eat lots of red meat. "Type Os can eat chocolate, just can," he says, unwrapping an organic chocolate bar. And later: "Type Os are almost immune to cancer."

The second time it appears Dick is going to die is when he is rocking on a chair leaning against a window 12 floors above the pool at the Mondrian hotel. "It makes me a little nervous, but in a weird, comforting way," he says, momentarily straightening the chair. Looking down at the pool, where beautiful, half-naked European women lounge on giant pillows sipping cocktails, he thinks about his girlfriend. "You would really s__ if you saw my girlfriend," he says.

"Is she hot?" I ask.

"The hottest."

"Are you happy?"