I have written previously in this space about my unabashed adoration of Howard Stern, but even casual fans know that the King of All Media's skillful long-form interviewing style is one of his most enduring qualities. He conducts hard-hitting interrogations that feel like casual conversations, leading normally guarded celebrities to offer revelations and opinions they would probably never utter in another forum. This year alone, he has helped draw out newsworthy bites from a number of big stars, and with 2015 more than half over, I thought I'd recap the wildest, most revealing quotes that have come out of Studio 69 in the past six months and change (with attendant clips).
Here we go…
1. Jason Alexander tells the real story behind Susan's “Seinfeld” demise
Date: June 3
Behind-the-scenes dish on famous TV shows never gets old, and Alexander's tidbit about actress Heidi Swedberg (who played George's ill-fated fiancee Susan) was particularly juicy. After telling Howard that he liked his co-star personally, Alexander said that he simply “couldn't figure out how to play off” the actress, and that the decision to kill the character off (by licking too many cheap wedding envelopes) came after Jerry Seinfeld and Julia Louis-Dreyfus voiced their own frustrations over sharing scenes with her:
“I kept saying, 'I'm going out of my mind you guys, you're killing me. I can't understand how to play off of this girl. I'm sure that the stuff is not working, it can't be!'…I was the only actor doing scenes with her! And then finally — they didn't know how the season was gonna end, was George gonna marry her? Was she gonna leave him? What was gonna happen? So finally they do an episode where Elaine and Jerry have a lot of material with her. They do the week…and they go, 'you know what? It's fucking impossible. It's impossible.' And Julia actually said, 'I know, it's just, don't you wanna just kill her?' And Larry went, 'kebang!'”
Long story short: the soundbite received so much press (some of it slamming Alexander for being mean-spirited) that the actor ultimately issued a prolonged explanation and apology to his former co-star, writing in part: “…in telling this story, it sounds like we are putting a heavy burden on Heidi. I, personally, am not. Heidi would always ask if there was anything in the scenes she could do or if I had any thoughts. She was generous and gracious and I am so mad at myself for retelling this story in any way that would diminish her.”
2. Robert Downey Jr. brutally slams the Channel 4 reporter who baited him
Date: April 28
A term like “syphilitic parasite” is bound to get people talking, and that's exactly what the “Avengers” star called Channel 4 reporter Krishnan Guru-Murthy, who compelled Downey to walk out of an interview after he continued to harp on the actor's checkered past.