Posted by Rob Eshman
Yesterday Howard went on a rant against John Melendez, aka “Stuttering John.” Melendez used to work for Stern, left to work for Jay Leno, and defended his current boss on Facebook against accusations Howard made that Leno steals Stern’s material. That defense set Howard off.
“He suddenly thinks he’s on Jay’s team,” Howard started. “Just shut the fuck up! You bitch. Just shut up John. And do me a favor: tell your fucking wife to stay away from my wife and her fucking bullshit friendship…”
It went on like that. Howard ranting against John, declaring his career dead, his wife dead to to him—just a fountain of anger pent up and unleashed….
...And I was envious. Anger is a great motivator for Howard. Yes, he knows it makes for good radio, but it really seems to motivate him as well. He NEEDS to be angry, like Buddhists need to be calm. His best career moments are a livid reaction to some real or perceived obstacle: other radio DJs standing in his way of ratings, radio managements blocking his creativity; Les Moonves of CBS blocking his move to Sirius, the FCC’s blocking his freedom of speech and the Sirius merger, the WORLD for not acknowledging his specialness. Howard finds a way to be always on edge, and that anger keeps him fresh and funny.
Think about it: he has three healthy children, a loving wife, all the money he could ever need, unquestionable professional success, two living, loving parents, the loyalty of his staff, creative freedom—but he still finds a way to be angry.
I used to think I just had too happy of a childhood to rely on anger to motivate me. But the truth is what I’m doing now, when I strip away the logical reasons, I see anger as a big reason behind my actions: my anger at specific people set me on a course to prove them wrong and get beyond their roadblocks. In that, I have to credit listening to Howard: he made that singular emotion work for him, so, I realized, why can’t I just acknowledge my own anger, and make it work for me?
Thanks for the tip, Howard.
And fuck you, John.
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October 19, 2009 | 4:20 pm
Posted by Rob Eshman
If there was ever a time to “Save Artie Lange“, that time would be now. We have now entered Week 2 of Artie’s absence.
Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange is out for the second week in a row, a source of speculation, drama and comedy on the Stern Show. According to the web site savebabygorilla.com—a somewhat loving tribute site dedicated to Lange:
A text was sent to Gary explaining on what was going. “Artie’s got a lot of drama going on and we’re right in there with him”, said Howard. According to the note, it is not drugs. Neither Howard nor Gary knew if the text was for public display. Howard handed the note over to Robin to review for her opinion on whether or not to read it on air.
Robin reacted with an “Oh wow” upon reading it. The Queen of Mean actually silenced? Must be sensitive material. Howard said that he actually thought that [content of the note] was going on. Robin added, “but that’s what everything is about anyway.” She added, “I thought there was something being given to prevent that.” Then she asked Howard, “Have you ever just wanted to stay home?”
So what does this all mean? Depression? Father Issues? Still Drugs? Rehab? Girlfriend stuff? A-Rod producing in the post-season?
Howard’s reaction to Lange resonates with me. He tends, at least on radio, to excuse, overlook, avoid and dismiss the most egregious lapses by his co-workers. I can relate. The same muscles that enable his creativity atrophy when it comes to being a disciplinarian. He can’t and won’t be both.
I wrote before how Howard has taught me not to avoid confrontation, but that doesn’t seem to apply to the people closest to him on the show. Either that or he realizes that their disciplinary lapses are actually good for the show. Speculating about Artie or upbraiding Sal is good radio, and perhaps Howard would rather have ongoing drama than the finality of discipline and—inevitably—dismissal. Because, face it, in any other workplace Artie and Sal and likely Richard would have been let go by now.
Maybe Howard recognizes that their talent is not simple to replace. Maybe he knows that it’s all good radio. Maybe has has a weakness for those who work most closely with him. For someone who can be so unrelentingly hard on himself, he sure can be soft on others.