October 29, 1993 at 04:00 AM EDT

The living room is a tough room to play: A comedian performing onhome video faces an audience armed with a remote control and a shortattention span. So the cassette comic has to strike fast and keepstriking. Not surprisingly, this situation benefits shock stand-ups,many of whom strut attitude at the expense of comedic craft. Andwhile some have talent, others have only a cigarette. Video, byamplifying strengths and weaknesses, separates the pretenders fromthe pros.In the pretender division, nobody owes more of his career to videothan the infamous Andrew Dice Clay. In his new concert video, NoApologies (1993, BMG, unrated, $29.98), Dice takes the stage in ahooded prizefighter’s robe (presumably to remind us he’s endorsing aline of workout clothing). Never has the term punch line been moreappropriate, because Dice exhibits no timing, pacing, or even a traceof finesse. He essentially has one joke-” Everything sucks”-givinghim exactly 50 percent as much material as Beavis and Butt-head.Among his targets are Chuck and Di, Chinese immigrants, surgicallyenhanced women, married couples, and Rodney King, of whom he says,”The guy can’t take a punch, obviously.”Just before the final bell, Dice defends his act on the groundsthat the recent antics of Sharon Stone, Woody Allen, Catholicpriests, and Madonna make him pale in comparison. He claims, ”I don’twant to be the bad guy. You make me the bad guy!” Gee, Dice, we’resorry we forced you to do that bit on autofellatio.But while Dice uses video as an excuse to pile on the raunch,George Carlin uses it as a means to enrich his material. On GeorgeCarlin: Jammin’ in New York (1993, Columbia TriStar, unrated,$39.95), everyone’s favorite hippie holdout is at a manic peak,ranting about social ills, human foibles, and the silliness ofcolloquial English. He sounds like an eccentric philosophyprofessor-witty, articulate, and often disturbing and profane. AsCarlin himself says, ”I got this real moron thing that I do: It’scalled thinking!”To appreciate a great comic artist like Carlin, push the remote’spause and rewind buttons and admire. For Dice, be an electronicheckler. Just hit STOP. No Apologies: F George Carlin: A-

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