Artie Lange’s demons forced him out of his chair at The Howard Stern Show back in 2010, mixed in with a suicide attempt and a fight with addiction that went on until 2011. Now he’s clean, on the road, and about to appear in Pete Holmes and Judd Apatow’s new HBO project, Crashing. But according a new interview with WEEI’s Kirk Minihane, The Howard Stern Show still is an open wound that he has trouble healing.
Hitfix pulled out some interesting points in the interview — which you can listen to in its entirety here — and some of the details he shares about Stern and himself show the distance between them since he left the show. There’s also a lot about how their personal lives became fodder for the show and the public perception is misleading:
“He didn’t know the extent of it. There’s no way he could’ve. And you know, I get mad when people say Howard didn’t help me. He did. I mean, people didn’t know what happened off the air. I mean, Howard got me a therapist through his therapist, he got me into rehab. Howard at one point said, this came out on the air, he said, ‘look, go take as much time as you need to get better. When you come back, you have a job.’ What else could you ask a boss to say?”
There are loads of little details from behind the scenes, like how Lange thought he’d be fired on day one and how he feels the personal nature of his on-the-air chats affected his spot on the show. But it was one incident in particular that likely set his departure in motion:
“When I said the pelican thing, it was over. No one ever said that. And I was out of line, quite frankly. But when he said, ‘do you think I look like a pelican?’ And I said ‘yes,’ there was no going back, it was a matter of time.”
Probably not the best thing to say to the guy who is signing the checks, but it isn’t like Lange was in the right place at the time. His troubles are well-documented, but what wasn’t is how little contact he has had with Stern since living. Lange notes that he’s attempted to call the shock jock numerous times with no answer and the last time they saw each other in person was during a 2012 hospital stay for Robin Quivers:
And I understand that, but where I’m pissed off is, you know, we were really tight, on the air and off the air, very very close. We were friends, and went through a lot of battles together. And for a decade I sat two feet from that guy, and we had what some people think are the funniest moments in radio history…and he was the best comedic partner I ever had…and I just think, all that, maybe I earned ten minutes off the air to just let me say in person ‘I’m sorry’ and hear me out and hug and say goodbye. But that never happened, that closure never happened.”
You can listen to the pelican incident below to judge the severity there, but do yourself a favor and listen to the entire podcast. It’s Artie Lange, so you can hardly go wrong there.