Friday, March 23, 2007

Spade gets set to dish it out

LOS ANGELES — The Showbiz Show With David Spade, Comedy Central's spoof of entertainment news shows, has been on hiatus since July, meaning the 42-year-old wisecracking host missed some golden opportunities. Mel Gibson, Britney Spears and the feuding Grey's Anatomy cast were all sparred ribbing by the sarcastic Saturday Night Live alum.

"It was tough to sit there and watch so many things happen while I was gone," Spade says, lunching during a work break. "Now's kind of a pointless time to come on; we missed the Oscars. But luckily, there's always stuff going on."

RULES OF ENGAGEMENT: Spade dishes on dating

The new season premiere (tonight, 10:30 ET/PT) kicks off with a news recap and a retirement tribute to overplayed topics from 2006. "Things we won't be talking about anymore," Spade vows, including "Tom Cruise's baby is an alien."

Spade is also planning to check himself into prejudice-altering rehab, à la Anatomy's Isaiah Washington, who sought treatment after using homophobic slurs. "I want to go into a therapist and say: 'Teach me how to like black people. Teach me how to like gay people. I have one week; then I have to report back to work.' "

Spade is hoping he will be called back to work for a second season of the CBS comedy Rules of Engagement, which wraps its initial run Monday (9:30 p.m. ET/PT) opposite the season premiere of ABC's Dancing With the Stars. Already conceding defeat, Spade has dubbed Dancing the show starring "the girl with the leg" (as in Heather Mills).

Spade is less apt to crack jokes about another Heather: former flame Heather Locklear. He offers only praise for the woman who got away: "There couldn't be a better girl that's more full of life."

He is uncertain whether he'll use his Showbiz forum to poke fun at Locklear's relationship with her former Melrose Place co-star, Jack Wagner.

But by no means is Spade going soft. He has no intention of following the lead of late-night host Craig Ferguson, who has vowed to lay off Spears during her rehab. Were he to give troubled celebs a pass, he says, his show would lose credibility.

"I have had people say to me, 'Go easy on me. I love the show, but I just don't want to be on it.' "

His response: "Yeah … just don't get a DWI."