Diamond in the Rough

For better or for worse, Dustin "Screech" Diamond's image is etched into the memories of most 20- and 30-somethings like a fading jailhouse tattoo. His high-pitched, adenoidal voice echoes through the collective unconscious, haunting our waking hours and running down the high school halls of our darkest nightmares. On Saved by the Bell he served as a foil for all the wacky antics that Zack, Slater and the rest of the kids pulled off at Bayside High. His character, while seemingly insignificant, was in fact pivotal: a Puck to Zack's Oberon. Dustin Diamond's life and career after the series has been almost Shakespearian as well. It's a rollercoaster of ups and downs, mostly downs. He pulled off a hilarious self-referential cameo in Made in 2002, still cool enough to get into an exclusive nightclub ahead of Vince Vaughn, then dropped off the radar screen. Most assumed he had gone the way of a lot of former child stars and just given up. Next thing you know, he's on Howard Stern begging for money to save his house. Well, it appears that Diamond hasn't abandoned comedy after all. He's now touring the country with a stand-up act that has some critics shocked by its quality and others shocked that he's still alive. Check him out Thursday through Saturday at Hyena's Comedy Night Club, 605 Houston St. in Fort Worth. Call 817-877-5233 or visit hyenascomedynightclub.com for details.
June 21-23
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John Freeman