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What's the Frequency, Andy?

As Matthew on NBC's 'NewsRadio,' Andy Dick dials up all the comic gifts at his very peculiar fingertips.

July 26, 1997|CHUCK CRISAFULLI | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Dick's career has had some of the requisite ups and downs--his scenes were cut from the Dennis Hopper film "Flashback," and he suffered through a co-starring role in the Pauly Shore vehicle "In the Army Now." His first sitcom work was on the mercifully short-lived remake of "Get Smart." He appeared briefly to much better advantage in the films "Reality Bites" and "The Cable Guy."

But it's "NewsRadio" that has made him a bona fide celebrity, and the comic has very warm feelings about the attention and affection his role on that show has garnered. "I can't get enough of that," he says with a laugh. "I love being recognized. I love talking with--can I say 'fans'? People come up and say they love Matthew or they love the fact that I made them laugh about something, and I just love the love. I know it's corny, but laughter is a two-way gift, and hearing people laugh just warms me through and through."

The attention can still be a bit uncomfortable. A tabloid newspaper recently ran a story on Dick's somewhat unconventional living situation--he, a girlfriend and their 2-year-old son share a home with Dick's ex-wife, their 9-year-old son and her present boyfriend. "Yes, it's unusual," Dick says with a shrug. "But they made it look like I'm David Koresh sitting on an arsenal while we have orgies and Bible study on alternate nights. For the record, that's not the case."

All sorts of attention will no doubt be coming Dick's way as his profile continues to rise. He'll be back at "NewsRadio" for the fall season; will soon be seen in a pair of feature films, "Big Red" and "Best Men"; and is developing his own feature project based on the uproarious tweaking of the fashion world he contributed to last year's VH-1 Fashion Awards.

There's only one aspect of his bright future that troubles him.

"I'm doing the voice of the villain for a 'Lion King' sequel, and I've been getting a lot of calls to do voice-over work. I'm just a little worried--isn't that the industry's way of saying, 'Yes, you're funny but we don't want to look at you?' "

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