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.