It's been an eventful year for Dustin Diamond. But the actor best known for his role as Screech on "Saved by the Bell" takes it all in stride.
"It's been a fantastic year," Diamond said. "There's no such thing as a nirvana. There's always something wrong, but it's like the yin and yang even with a lot of good, there's some bad, and even with a lot of bad, there's some good. Without contrast you couldn't see."
There has certainly been contrast.
First, Diamond had to start a Web site to sell T-shirts in order to raise enough money to save his Wisconsin home from foreclosure. It worked. He sold 22,000 shirts through his site (www.getdshirts.com) and still owns his home in Port Washington, Wisc.
"We got a good response," said Diamond, who added he is looking to repay the help he received by finding someone who purchased a T-shirt and paying off his credit card debt.
Even though he saved his home, Diamond is not there often, traveling to do stand up 47 weeks a year.
He was in Norwalk Friday to buy a tea-cup terrier, Finnigan, from breeder Amy Dawson-Smith. Finnigan will join Diamond's four other dogs who travel on the road with him and his wife, Jennifer.
Diamond, who said video games were his only real vice, said his trip into town was uneventful, but he did comment that he noticed Expressions, a gentlemen's club outside Fitchville.
"I don't see the purpose of strip clubs," he said.
That might be true, but sex did get Diamond in hot water last year. A sex tape starring Diamond and two women, described by multiple gossip Web sites as "raunchy," leaked out on the Internet.
Diamond said he doesn't let the Internet blogs and rumors bother him.
"You laugh at it. It's like a game of telephone, some stuff is half based on truth but it gets distorted. People can say whatever they want," he said, adding that 95 percent of the things written about him were completely garbage, 4 percent were "loosely" based on truth and 1 percent were actually true.
Diamond's publicist, Jennifer Misner, says that's the case when it comes to the latest rumor that Diamond was kicked off the VH-1 reality show "Celebrity Fit Club."
Gossip Web sites are reporting Diamond got into a screaming match with former American Idol contestant Kimberley Locke. Locke and '80s pop star Tiffany stormed off the reality show set, and producers sent the cast home. Afterward Locke is supposed to have delivered an ultimatum: "him or me." Diamond was allegedly "quarantined" from the rest of the cast.
It has been reported that an on-set source told gossip Web site PerezHilton.com: "He will not participate in the challenges and will have a private weigh-in for this weekend's upcoming filming. Unfortunately, there are only three more tape-days left over the next 30 days. So it was too late to replace him."
Diamond could not specifically address the incident because of a confidentiality agreement VH-1 requires of all contestants who appear on the weight-loss reality show. Misner did say VH-1 had apologized for false comments attributed to Diamond in stories about the alleged incident.
Diamond was able to talk about his Fit Club diet he was eating just 500 calorie per day, which usually consisted of drinking water and eating one apple or banana. His target weight loss for the competition was about 20 pounds.
"I think I represent the common person. I don't want to eat tofu and air or workout," he joked.
Jokes are Diamonds bread and butter these days. He has a comedy CD due out in the future, with the working title "Comedy Ain't Pretty." He describes himself as a dirty comic who focuses on observational humor. He especially attacks the misuse of words, such as "good" versus "well."
"I don't want to be a jerk about it, but I turn it into comedy," said the 30-year-old who said he "reads at a 31-year-old level." Diamond said he actually has an IQ of about 160.
His comedy idol is George Carlin, though unlike Carlin, Diamond said he tries to stay away from political or religious humor because it tends to divide audiences.
Diamond has been working on his stand-up routine since "Saved by the Bell" ended. The original series ended in 1993, and Diamond starred in a spin-off series, "Saved by the Bell: The New Class," which ran until 2000. He spent 10 years on the show and did 266 episodes. However, Diamond said he does not have any contact with the cast members these days, in part because he lives in Wisconsin and is on the road so often.
Diamond described "Saved by the Bell" as a "phenomenon" and said everyone could identify with his nerdy character, Screech. That has made it somewhat difficult to break out of the shadow of the character. But Diamond said he's not worried "because that's not all I have to offer."