Jewish Journal


by Rob Eshman

October 19, 2009 | 4:20 pm

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.

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Rob Eshman created the blog Serious Stern on June 17, 2009.  Serious Stern is devoted to a serious (hence the name) exploration of the cultural impact of Howard Stern.

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