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RECORDS BRIEFLY-COMEDY

Andrew Dice Clay, The Day the Laughter Died (Def American 9-24287-2). Monstrous. You can take the title of this literally. It seems to be intentional, too (look at the stark joyless photos on the disc's front and back covers). Unlike his carefully prepared auditorium revels for audiences of 15,000 or more (which are funny), this live recording from two nights last December at Dangerfield's is more horrifying than funny. Clay-bashers can take heart. He seems to probe the outer limits of sexism, racism and verbal brutality just to see how much Brooklyn street goofing can be salvaged later for a real act. In the meantime, of course, he gets what Lenny Bruce used to call "walkouts" -- the scandalized who have no intention of listening to it all and take to their heels. But even here, at his unfunniest, the reflex Clay-bashers are still wrong. In his violently disturbing way, Clay has taken comedy into brave new territory -- the blackest and most alienated depths of the male psyche. Instead of Lenny Bruce's sexual fantasias and social criticisms, these mean street mouthings are more like Celine or Stavrogin's Confessions from Dostoevski's "The Possessed." In his blundering, brutal Brooklynite way, Andrew Dice Clay has stretched "comedy" into a form of alienated literature. -- Jeff Simon

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