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Why You Don't See David Spade Onscreen Anymore

Maybe you first knew David Spade as the guy who could roast any celebrity in 60 seconds on his Saturday Night Live segment "Hollywood Minute." Perhaps you first heard him voicing Kuzco in the hit Disney film The Emperor's New Groove. Many others remember Spade from his starring role in Joe Dirt, the low-brow adventure comedy that gained a significant cult following. Among his other successful endeavors are two buddy comedy films, Tommy Boy and Black Sheep, with his fellow SNL vet Chris Farley, and his role as receptionist David Finch in the award-winning series Just Shoot Me.

But despite a string of early successes in the '90s and early 2000s, it seems like David Spade has been MIA lately. The truth is that he hasn't stopped working in the entertainment industry since his early days on SNL — he just hasn't been in the spotlight recently. But if you enjoyed his previous work, and you still catch yourself laughing when you see him on a talk show, there's good news, too — it looks like he's on the verge of making a major comeback and kicking off a whole new phase in his career. Here's a look at the real reasons you don't hear from David Spade anymore.

No longer 'Live from New York'

Spade joined the crew on SNL in 1990. Although he began his career on the show as a writer, he eventually got moved up to cast member. He became well known for a variety of characters that he created, like a sarcastic flight attendant and a receptionist for Dick Clark. His most famous segment was the "Hollywood Minute," in which he skewered celebs with biting one-liners and occasionally got himself in trouble when his jokes went a little too far — like the time he jokingly referred to Eddie Murphy as a "falling star" after his film Vampire in Brooklyn struggled at the box office.

Spade departed SNL in 1996, after many of his former coworkers had already left. But his SNL days weren't quite behind him just yet. He returned to host an episode in 1998, and a few years later, he came back again to host another episode. However, his final appearance on SNL was in 2005, and he hasn't returned to his "star vehicle" since.

Critical condition

Spade has continued appearing in comedy films over the past two decades, but most of his recent projects haven't gotten the same positive reception that his early projects did. In 2012, he voiced Griffin the Invisible Man in Hotel Transylvania, which was popular with young audiences (despite mixed reviews from critics) and spawned two sequels. But the films he followed it up with didn't fare as well at the box office.

Grown Ups may have gotten a few chuckles when it was released, but the sequel, Grown Ups 2, was pretty much universally panned and dismissed. Spade also appeared in Sandy Wexler, which earned slightly better reviews, but he also has the misfortune of being associated with Adam Sandler's Netflix-distributed western comedy The Ridiculous 6, which earned an embarrassing 0% on Rotten Tomatoes. TheWrap critic Debbie Day slammed the film for being "everything wrong with Hollywood for the past two decades" — not exactly a bright sign for Spade's career.

A belated sequel

In 2015, director Fred Wolf teamed up with Spade for Joe Dirt 2: Beautiful Loser, but trying to capture the particular brand of humor and heart that made the original film a fan favorite proved to be an impossible task. Serving up a sequel to an unexpected cult favorite is a hit-or-miss endeavor, and this time, the duo struck out. 

Perhaps it was simply too late to release a follow up to Joe Dirt (14 years had passed since the original was released in theaters), or perhaps the eventual success of the first film was an accident all along, and actively trying to create another hit with those characters sucked the humor right out of the script. Either way, Joe Dirt 2 was a flop, and you probably won't even catch those who loved the first film defending this poorly thought out sequel. Possibly the kindest thing that could really be said about the film was summed up by Adam DiLeo in his review for IGN Movies: fans of the original could at least get a kick out of seeing "Joe and his merry band of weirdos" onscreen once again.

Time away from TV

A longtime TV fixture thanks to his his stints on SNL, Just Shoot Me, and Rules of Engagement, Spade has been noticeably missing from the world of television lately. After Engagement ended in 2013, he had a reality series called Fameless that ran from 2015 to 2017 on truTV. On this prank show, people were tricked into thinking that they had been cast on a "real" reality show, and while they did end up getting their 15 minutes of fame, it never panned out exactly as they originally hoped. The scenarios that Spade and his crew put them through would become more and more absurd, and it was a test to see how much they could really handle before they noticed that something strange was going on behind the scenes.

Spade also appeared on The Mayor and Love, but both of his roles on these shows ended in 2018. Since then, he hasn't appeared on a TV series. However, that's all about to change — he has a big project in the works for 2019.

Standing up standup

While Spade was never known primarily for his standup, it is still a bit surprising that his last special was released years ago. Spade debuted his first standup effort, titled David Spade: Take the Hit, in 1998, and he didn't film another special for over a decade after that. When he returned to the mic, he put out his second comedy hour, titled David Spade: My Fake Problems, in 2014.

Since then, Spade has given no hints that another standup special could be on the horizon. But he hasn't said goodbye to his days of cracking jokes on stage in front of a live audience, either — he regularly tours and has plenty of shows planned across the country for 2019, including performances in Las Vegas, San Jose, and the Moontower Comedy Festival in Austin. Considering how Netflix has ushered in a whole new era for standup, could he potentially cut a deal with the platform in the future? We'll have to wait and see.  

A frightening collision

In January 2017, Spade got into a three-car accident – and it was quite a bit scarier than your average minor fender bender. Spade was rear-ended at an intersection in Los Angeles, and his car spun out. An ambulance arrived quickly, and he was rushed to a hospital. Although he was shaken up, he thought that he was physically fine, and the doctors didn't seem to notice anything wrong with him, so he was released from the hospital rather quickly. Spade decided to stick to his original plans for the evening and go out to dinner with some friends. All was well — or so he thought.

On an appearance on The Ellen Show after the accident, Spade said that by the next morning, he realized he was much more beaten up than he originally thought. In fact, he was in so much pain when he woke up that he went back to the doctor and found out that he had broken a rib.

Criminal acts

The summer of 2017 saw a string of burglaries in the Hollywood area. Of course, this was nothing totally new for the rich and famous — celebrities have always been at risk of robberies, despite having plenty of security around their homes. Remember the 2013 film The Bling Ring and the group of teenagers that managed to swipe goodies from the closets of stars like Paris Hilton and Rachel Bilson?

In June 2017, Spade became a target. His home in Beverly Hills was burglarized, and the thieves managed to get away with stealing an entire safe full of his valuables, including about $80,000 worth of jewelry and cash. Although Spade had a home security system in place, the thieves were able to disable it and sneak into his home undetected. Apparently, the items in the safe weren't just worth a lot of money — they also had sentimental value, like his mother's wedding band, which had been hidden in the safe. An incident like this could easily make someone feel like laying low for a while.

Forgotten at the box office

Spade has appeared in films recently, but he hasn't been involved with any major blockbusters for a while. In July 2018, he starred in Father of the Year, a Netflix film that didn't get a theatrical release. It received negative reviews overall, and it didn't get much buzz. Lots of Netflix original films have earned positive receptions, but unfortunately for Spade, Father of the Year wasn't one of them.

Spade also appeared in the indie film Warning Shot, which saw a limited theatrical release in September 2018. It got slightly better reviews than Father of the Year, but didn't get much press coverage, and he doesn't seem to be working on any films for 2019. However, he did do something slightly unconventional and pop up in the video for Bhad Bhabie's song "Gucci Flip Flops" — perhaps he's just trying to expand his horizons.

A death in the family

Because the last name "Spade" isn't super rare, many people had no idea that David and the late fashion designer Kate Spade were actually related. Kate was actually married to his brother, Andy, making her his sister-in-law. Spade was shocked by the news of her death in June 2018. "She was so sharp and quick on her feet. She could make me laugh so hard," Spade shared with his fans on Instagram in remembrance of Kate. "I still can't believe it. It's a rough world out there, people, try to hang on."

Spade joked that when his female friends and relatives were around and they found out that Kate was coming by, the women would all dress up a little extra to impress her — and Kate would always notice and make sure to compliment them. Spade has many fond memories of Kate, and he was very touched by the outpouring of love and support from her millions of fans. In her memory, he donated $100,000 to the National Alliance on Mental Illness.

Saving the trees

Spade released an audiobook memoir, A Polaroid Guy in a Snapchat World, in 2018. That's right — it was just an audiobook. Audiobooks are becoming more and more popular, and Spade noticed that most of his fans said they really enjoyed listening to his previous book, Almost Interesting: The Memoir. He realized that narrating funny reflections on his life and career would be fairly similar to working on a comedy album, so he decided to go straight down that route for his second manuscript and didn't end up releasing a print version at all. Listening to that feedback from his audience prompted him to try something a little different.

Polaroid Guy is all about getting older and dealing with rapid changes in the dating scene and the entertainment industry. Although it got great reviews and became a bestseller, it flew under the radar since you couldn't get your hands on a physical copy — it's not like you would see it sitting on the shelf in a bookstore.

Daddy time

Since making a name for himself in Hollywood, Spade has been known as a bit of a player — clearly, women love a guy who can make them laugh. Although he's never really "settled down," he has embraced parenthood and the role of a loving father to his only daughter, Harper.

When Spade's ex-girlfriend, Jillian Grace, gave birth to Harper in 2008, she confirmed that Spade was the biological father. Upon hearing the news, Spade knew that he had to step up to the plate and accept responsibility for her upbringing. Today, Spade talks about Harper often — anytime you see him make an appearance on a talk show, he's practically guaranteed to show off a few pictures of the two of them hanging out. He often brings her to movie premieres, and he jokes that she knows the Hotel Transylvania films better than he does. Sometimes, family just has to come first, and Spade has definitely kept that in mind since Harper came into his life.

A late night comeback?

In mid-February 2019, Spade announced that he would be hosting a brand new late night show on Comedy Central, set to air at 11:30 PM, in the timeslot right after The Daily Show. Unlike many other late night series, Spade isn't setting out to specifically focus on politics. "We're going to cover everything. Pop culture, whatever's funny... but the big headline is, there will be no politics," Spade told his followers on Instagram. "I went to community college. I have six credits in anthropology. I don't even understand what's going on out there."

Spade has remained vague about potential guests, although apparently, there will be plenty of celebrities and comedians making appearances. Comedy Central has also been tight-lipped about the premiere date, but Spade says that it's "coming soon." If the show takes off and gets decent ratings, perhaps we'll be seeing a lot more of its star from now on.