The speed at which scandals erupt in today's Twitter-24/7-always-on-the-Internet culture disturbs Clay. He feels particularly bad for Mel Gibson, whose public image fell after his 2006 DUI arrest and crumbled last year when alleged recordings of him berating his then-girlfriend emerged online.
"Here's a guy who's been entertaining for years and people just look to take him down," he said. "He's made great films for people. They catch him screaming like a maniac, and suddenly everyone's out to get him."
But when it comes to comedy, Gibson and guys like him are still fair game.
"I do talk about those things on stage and I make fun of them," he said. "My whole point about any subject, whether it's Anthony Weiner, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tiger Woods, Mel Gibson, is that I love how people love pointing fingers. People just love to judge and get on that bandwagon of 'Look what he did!'"
Clay has infused his old act with new subjects: "Everything from getting older to technology to what people are really doing with technology, the new generation of women versus the old generation of women. I stay very current. I keep my ear to the street." On October 1, he'll headline his first stadium show in years at MCU Park in his hometown, Brooklyn, N.Y.
"Brooklyn taught me how to live life," he said. "It gave me the attitude I have, the nerve I have. They're aggressive people but they're great people. I want to do something really special there."
While he's updated his shtick, Clay remains a relic of the past. He doesn't blog. He doesn't tweet. He refers to the Internet phenomenon as "links and Facebook and all that stuff."
"You know what I still take pride in? When I first went through the roof, it was a grassroots movement," he said. "It was word of mouth. It was before email, before twittering, before all the things that people do these days."
Of course, "all the things that people do these days" is how grassroots campaigns take off now. Campaigns for things like unheralded actors getting an Emmy award, a trophy that Clay covets, that "Entourage" could put in his reach, but that he can't quite hope for. Yet.
"You know it's so funny. I can't even think about that, where all this might go," he said. "When Doug Ellin or one of our directors says 'Man, you should win an Emmy for this,' I just say, 'I'm glad I'm working.' Let's put it that way."