Dice premiere recap: Elvis
Yes, now it’s Andrew Dice Clay’s turn at the prestige cable show. Although the Diceman was riling up crowds with controversial standup bits long before Curb Your Enthusiasm or Louis C.K.’s breakthrough success, he now finds himself following in the footsteps of their successes, transferring from standup to a sitcom based around his worldview. The opening seconds of the show explain Dice’s situation: He’s not really doing standup anymore, mostly gambling out in Las Vegas while living with his girlfriend, Carmen. The gambling has gotten so bad and inconsistent that he can’t even pay for some much-needed new windows, and not even his once-great star power can help him anymore… the window salesman has never heard of Andrew Dice Clay before.
Back in his ‘80s/’90s prime, Clay was known for taking aim at all kinds of targets: women, gay people, and other populations that don’t need any more harassment than the kind they already face on a daily basis. It’s nice, then, that Dice’s very first joke is at its protagonist’s expense. The rest of the episode continues in this fashion. Although Dice is ultimately the hero of the show, he gets ribbed as playfully as anyone else.
In another example of the series’ attempts to skirt Clay’s former comedy, the premiere features the wedding of Carmen’s gay brother. The premise immediately dives into his territory with Clay’s stereotype-laden explanation of why gay marriages are more successful than straight ones, but Carmen immediately pokes a humorous hole in his bubble. There’s also the interesting dynamic of Carmen’s brother’s fiancé hating Dice’s work. He immediately calls out Dice for referring to his fiancé as “a bride,” especially in the context of his insulting standup work, forcing the comedian to enumerate the differences between “Dice” the stage performer and “Andrew” the human. It’s reminiscent of when Louis C.K. had gay comedian Eddie Brill on Louie to explain what was wrong with his “f—-t” bit.
Ultimately, though, the episode isn’t much about gay weddings or the problems with controversial comedy, but Dice’s need to drum up money for a wedding gift. Both the show and protagonist are quite at home in the Las Vegas setting, however, and he immediately heads to the tables. Misunderstanding the whole concept of a “plus one,” he brings his friend “Milkshake” along to the wedding even though he’s already Carmen’s plus-one to the ceremony. Milkshake is hilariously introduced while drinking a cup of gravy, which he justifies thusly: “I’m the one who has to die when it’s my turn to die, so let me live my life the way I want to.” He then immediately bumps into an Elvis impersonator and spills gravy all over himself.
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This Elvis impersonator gives the episode its title. He ends up being a bad luck charm for Dice’s gambling — or at least that’s what Dice believes, which in the context of superstition and luck is almost more important. When Clay spots the Elvis next to a table at which he keeps losing, he heads across the street to a different casino… only to find this Elvis there, too, unknowingly pursuing him like an absurd version of the It Follows monster. That’s not even the end of it. Even after Clay wins enough money for a sizable cash wedding gift, he finds that the Elvis has been hired to officiate the ceremony. This prompts Clay, after a day of being told not to mess anything up, to stand up and interrupt the wedding because of Elvis.
This actually works – Carmen’s brother has been worried about things going wrong all day, and now he has a scapegoat. They fire the Elvis, replace him with a Liza Minnelli impersonator, and everything goes great. Almost perfect, actually — Dice even stands up for a drunken toast at the reception, and even that goes over well. Although Dice loves to rib its protagonist as much as Curb Your Enthusiasm or Louie, it doesn’t yet revel in the unbearable awkwardness of messed-up situations like those two shows love to do. Dice is a fun blend of stubborn comedy and random absurdity, but if it wants to punch with the big dark cable comedies, it’ll need to get even more uncomfortable.
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