June 17, 2009
“Enough With the Howard!”
Warning: No matter what your opinion of Howard Stern, this blog will offend you.
If you’re not a Howard Stern fan, you’ll wonder why anybody is wasting time writing about someone the media often portrays simply as a foul-mouthed shock jock.
Or, as my wife said last night, “You think that guy is way more important than he is. Enough with the Howard.”
I mean, what kind of show celebrates Father’s Day by giving away a free double “date” with what I’ll euphemistically call a working mom and her equally working daughter. (I got the impression, as I often do, that even some cast members, like Fred Norris, like Howard, didn’t approve. It was wrong. It was bizarre. It was compelling.).
And if you are a Stern fan, you’ll wonder why this blog veers so often toward the serious. Howard’s about giggles and strippers and midgets, right? If the show were meant to be taken seriously, it wouldn’t offer up mom and daughter hooker teams to married dads. Who dares to say something serious about that?
Well, I do. And you’re welcome to chime in.
The truth about Howard is that he’s right: he is still, despite his enormous financial success and fame, underrated and neglected as major cultural force. He is heir of a tradition of outsider satiric comedy that stretches back beyond the shtetl. He is on a pantheon of culture-changers that includes Lenny Bruce, Mort Sahl, Woody Allen and Larry David. As I wrote back in 2004, when the Federal Communications Copmmission was threatening to sue the Stern Show into oblivion:
But I digress. I digress because I get defensive talking about Stern—in polite society people who enjoy his show always have to explain themselves. After many, many years of starting my morning with Stern, I’m up to the task. Let the blogs begin.