DAVID SPADE has a legitimate gripe, but it's really hard to feel sorry for him. He is pointing out the absurdity of the tabloid-media caricatures of various celebrities, and he is irked by the reduction of his entire public persona to: "dates cute girls all the time."
Woe is he, as others often tell him when he bemoans the label. He has, indeed, had a succession of beautiful paramours including Teri Hatcher, Lara Flynn Boyle, Carmen Electra and Heather Locklear. At 44, he's expecting his first child with former squeeze and March 2005 Playmate of the Month Jillian Grace, while setting tongues wagging in the Australian media by having been seen out in public with another ex, Aussie actress Nicky Whelan.
"I don't really put up a fight, but there's nothing weirder than answering the question as to why the girls date me," says Spade, the "Just Shoot Me" alum now starring as the single friend of two couples in the CBS sitcom "Rules of Engagement." "I don't know, dude! They shouldn't."
Odder still to Spade: that the fact he's never been married is such a source of confusion among many in Hollywood where, he says, the "L.A. two-year marriage" is the norm.
"I'm not really a big marriage guy, and so I see it collapse around me so much that I take it more seriously than some people," he says. "People forget it's supposed to be for life."
That's not to say Spade isn't a family man; it was partly his investment in his brother and sister-in-law's New York City fashion boutique that kept them afloat and enabled sister-in-law Kate Spade to become one of the biggest names in fashion accessories. He was warned not to lend money to relatives but, he quips, "It's the first time I got my money back!"
His fame and career have remained as busy as ever, much to Spade's own amazement. Besides "Rules," he's also provided a voice for the 2006 video game "The Legend of Spyro" and appears now with Tim Meadows in the made-for-Web series "Carpet Brothers" on 60Frames.com, where the two play dueling floor-coverings salesmen in the 1970s.
Plus, he's got his two-show-a-month gig at the Planet Hollywood Resort in Las Vegas to keep his stand-up skills sharp.
Spade is satisfied with where he's at, but does occasionally wonder what might have been. His first would-be break came in 1987 when he and Richard Grieco appeared in a "Facts of Life" episode in which they were roommates of Natalie, played by Mindy Cohn. That episode was intended to launch a spinoff but did not and Spade became a star in 1990 instead, as a " Saturday Night Live" cast member.
"Grieco got offered nine pilots, he did 'Booker' and all this stuff," Spade recalls. "I was bummed it didn't go because I could've gotten some money. I could've gotten a Camaro or something back then."
Steve Friess co-hosts the podcast "The Strip" at The StripPodcast.com.
WHERE: Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino, 3667 Las Vegas Blvd. S.