Artie Lange has recovered from his suicide attempt and is ready to go back to work. But when he asked Howard Stern for his old sidekick job, Stern turned him down. Stern has not given a straight answer as to why, so I will translate the mealy-mouthed words of the self-styled “Mr. Honesty”:
Stern’s excuse is that he is not able to provide proper psychiatric treatment for Lange.
What kind of reason is that? It’s total BS. My theory is that Stern is physically afraid of Lange. After all, how many people (not counting the Japanese) attempt suicide by stabbing themselves repeatedly? And Lange has a history of violence. In his book, “Too fat to fish”, Lange talks about the many bar fights that he “got into”. However, I would bet that Lange started the vast majority of those fights. One can easily imagine a drunken Lange wielding his razor sharp wit and inciting mayhem.
So, Lange is potentially dangerous. But is he really a threat to Stern?
Howard Stern is known for never firing employees, no matter what. A few years ago, one of his staffers admitted to a past incident where he nearly beat a man to death. Stern didn’t fire him. Lange used to show up for work strung out on heroin, and would literally fall asleep during the show. Stern didn’t fire him. But I think we have found where Stern draws the line.
Not only will Stern not bring Artie back, but he won’t even interview him – not even over the phone – when Stern fans are dying to hear from Artie. Even worse, now that Lange is going to work on another radio show, Stern has begun to bash him. Last week, both Stern and Robin joked about hiring Artie back as a janitor and having him sweep the lobby while they did the show. They also lumped him in with Jacki Martling as a traitor, which is totally unfair. Lange was never malicious toward Stern like Martling was.
I think this shows that Stern is not only physically afraid of Lange, but now fears him as a competitor. And maybe he should. Lange is the greatest sidekick in talk-show history. With the right formula, he could certainly eat into Stern’s audience. And Stern would deserve it. Stern knows that his fans love Artie and want him back. They are appalled at how Stern has treated Lange.
When Stern had Jacki Martling on the show to hear his plea for replacing Artie, Stern actually entertained the idea. He might have even hired him if Robin and Fred didn’t step in and put a stop to the insanity. But Artie didn’t even get a chance to plead his case.
When Jay Leno poached Stuttering John, Stern went ballistic. How dare Leno steal one of his “characters” that he had developed? Stern ranted about that for months. But Stern is voluntarily letting his greatest “character” ever leave the show. And if it weren’t for fans calling in and asking about Artie, Stern wouldn’t say a word.
Artie first appeared on the Stern show when his “friend” Norm Macdonald brought him along. But during his March 30th appearance on the Stern show, Macdonald didn’t say one word about Artie. Note to Macdonald: what’s up with that?
I suppose that Macdonald wanted to continue appearing on the Stern show, and therefore went along with Stern’s gag order. Shameful.