He sank at the box office and on late-night TV (remember Arsenio and Saturday Night Live?), but one audience can't seem to get enough of Andrew Dice Clay: home-video renters. The popularity of The Diceman Cometh, his first concert tape, caught even the savviest video retailers off guard and understocked. ''It is absolutely the best comedy rental ever,'' says Pete Margo, executive vice president of the Palmer Video chain. ''Some of our branches had to order as many as 30 copies and they were still out continuously.''
What turned Clay's X-rated bigotry into a video phenomenon? For novices, there's the ''curiosity factor.'' Not unlike porn movies, it's a lot easier and less embarrassing to watch the Dice in your living room than to show up at a concert or movie theater. For die-hard fans, video makes the Diceman eminently repeatable. Michael Blanchet, owner of Video Express in Rockaway, N.J., notices ''lots of repeat viewers'' who ''know the dirty nursery rhymes down cold it's kind of scary.''
Another concert filmed last year at Madison Square Garden will not be released theatrically as planned. ''If it gets released at all,'' says a spokesperson from Twentieth Century Fox, ''it will go straight to tape.''