Comedian Andy Dick, who has battled drug and alcohol abuse for years and is now clean and sober, shocked “Dancing with the Stars” fans on Monday night by turning in a surprisingly elegant fox trot performance.
He told reporters after the show that “DWTS” “is better than rehab. It’s really rehabilitating me mind, body, and soul.”
Andy personified what the ABC show is all about with his dance partner Sharna Burgess by trying an everyman’s Fred Astaire routine complete with top hat, tails and cane. He not only stayed in perfect rhythm and completed all his moves but charmed the audience with his unexpected style.
The bad-boy funnyman admitted to xfinityTV that during the performance, “I was shaking like a leaf. It was horrific.” Sharna laughed that his heart “was pounding out of his chest.”
Although Andy only scored a 17 out of 30 for his first dance on “DWTS,” he was the celebrity everyone was praising backstage after the show.
People couldn’t help but be amazed, especially because of Andy’s troubled track record. During his rehearsal footage that aired on the show, Andy talked about his drug and alcohol-fueled past that has often landed him in trouble with the law. Sharna revealed to reporters, “While our [TV] package was playing, at some point I just grabbed Andy and we started hugging each other because it was getting too emotional for us to watch that.”
Watch Monday Night’s Season 16 Premiere of “Dancing with the Stars”:
The only downer was that judges Len Goodman, Bruno Tonioli, and Carrie Ann Inaba gave the couple relatively low scores. “I think everybody expected us to get a higher score after they saw our dance but it’s okay,” Sharna shrugged after the show. “Could it have been smoother? Yes, absolutely. It gives us somewhere to grow and somewhere to push and a goal for next week and the week after.”
She added, “Truly he’s improved beyond belief in the last week and a half. He got no credit for dancing with a prop on his first week and not dropping the cane! He held onto it the whole way through the number.”
Andy said it didn’t come easy, admitting his rehearsals had been harrowing. “They didn’t see me do it the first week. It was horrible.”
“DWTS” hostess Brooke Burke-Charvet asked Andy about his past drug and alcohol abuse problems on-camera after he performed on the show. “I was talking about it [in the footage] but when somebody else brings it up it’s like okay, it’s just going to be a thing,” Andy sighed. “It just is and that’s fine and I have to embrace it because it brings light to it. It’s an epidemic—drug and alcohol addiction that needs light to be shone on it. People need help. I need help and there are so many people [who need help].”
Andy says it’s a “go-to” thing for him to use humor to diffuse the darkness around his past problems. “I’ve also done it with Sharna and dancing. When I’m not ‘getting’ something, I go to humor and sometimes I get her on a laughing jag and I love it.” His first dance proved, however, that Andy is also taking the competition seriously. “There’s a time and a place for everything,” he said.
The comedian declared that doing “DWTS” allowed him “to take on something new. It’s shifting my brain around. I’m turning into a different person. I didn’t expect that.”
The first celebrity of Season 16 will be eliminated on next Tuesday’s results show, airing at 9/8c on ABC.