July 6, 2009
Whether Howard Stern retires from his daily morning show at the end of his contract, or extends it for another couple years, the writing is on the wall—he isn’t going to be doing his show for that much longer. Two years? Three years? Five? Any way you look at it, it’s hard to see him going at it much longer in the current demanding format.
And why should he? There’s a lot to be said for going out at the top—and he is still at the very top of his craft. He’s achieved every milestone possible in broadcast radio, pioneered a new medium in satellite radio, and been more successful in print, TV and movies than any radio personality in history (Want to argue this? Try. Maybe I’ll grant you George Burns and Groucho as worthy quadruple-threat competitors).
That said, time is running out for all those celebrities who until now have been too scared to sit for a Howard Stern interview. Those A-listers who have can wear it as a badge of honor, something to tell their grandchildren about, something to boast to their friends about: I was interviewed by Howard Stern.
As I’ve written before, he is a master of the unscripted, unpredictable, in depth and ultimately utterly humanizing celebrity interview. They clamor to get with James Lipton of “Inside the Actors Studio”—the thinking man’s sycophant. (Lipton can shamelessly milks applause for even his guests’ crappiest movies. “And then, Ms. Hawn, there was a little something called ‘The First Wives Club….”). A Howard interview is for the celeb so secure in his or her career and his intellect that he is willing to be…honest. Or 85 percent more honest than normal.
That said, I’ve been making a list of all the people who need to sit with Howard before they lose the chance. Is that clear? It’s not for his legacy, but for theirs. Here’s my list, feel free to suggest names in the Comments:
Who am I missing?