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Face Down Ass Up

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Album Review

The latter half of the '90s saw a spate of movies and albums that seemed to make the world safe once again for crude, juvenile humor. Some were actually very good (There's Something About Mary, for instance), some were witless, and many were quite popular. So what better time for Andrew Dice Clay — who attempted to clean up his image for a short-lived sitcom, insisting that the Diceman was just a character — to resurrect his standup recording career with the crude, callous character that brought him so much notoriety at the start of the '90s? As Clay himself puts it on his 2000 comeback album, "Ever since we passed the new millennium...nobody wants to insult nobody, nobody wants to hurt anybody, nobody wants to have any f*ckin' fun." The album's presentation actually recalls another early-'90s act reluctantly championed by free-speech advocates, the 2 Live Crew: the title, Face Down, Ass Up, was also a Crew song title, and the cover (with its three oiled, thong-wearing porn actresses presenting their backsides to the camera) could have been lifted almost straight from any Luther Campbell project. Instead, though, the guest rap artist is Snoop Dogg, who appears on the album-closing musical skit "Club 33." Other than that, it's pretty much business as usual; Clay picks up right where he left off with his last album, which was released a full seven years prior. Many of Clay's fans have long maintained that his material is just dumb fun — not intended to be taken or thought about seriously — and shrug off any criticism as uptight political correctness. But usually, that view goes hand in hand with an assumption that being "politically incorrect" (a phrase that's come to signal the same predictability as the similarly overused one it's reacting against) automatically makes for daring, rebellious comedy. To be fair, even if you're open to blue humor but can't stomach Clay's act, there will still be a few funny moments scattered over the course of the record. But there's still such a heavy reliance on naughty language (i.e., at the expense of setups and punch lines), and there are still so many mean-spirited jokes made at the expense of women, minorities, and gays that it's difficult for anyone who doesn't share the Diceman's view of life to enjoy the album that much. The bottom line is that it's the same old story — Clay's old fans will be happy to have him back, and Face Down, Ass Up may even win him a few new fans who missed him the first time around.


Born: 29 September 1957 in Brooklyn, NY

Genre: Comedy

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s

In the late '80s, Andrew Dice Clay was the most notorious and controversial comic in the business. Foul-mouthed and abrasive, he was one in a long line of comedic performers whose material stretched the boundaries of decency and good taste to their breaking point; unlike pioneers including Lenny Bruce and George Carlin, however, Clay's routines did not evolve out of pointed social satire or trenchant political commentary, but merely a desire to be as lewd and shocking as humanly possible. Clay was...
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Face Down Ass Up, Andrew Dice Clay
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