Howard Stern opened up about former sidekick Artie Lange on his Sirius XM radio show, getting angry at a caller who wanted gory details about Lange’s gruesome January 2010 suicide attempt.
The stand-up comedian and radio personality repeatedly stabbed himself with a kitchen knife, before being found in his Hoboken, N.J. apartment by his mother, barely clinging to life. It was the culmination of years of personal drama, much of it aired publicly on The Howard Stern Show, involving major drug abuse and erratic behavior.
With Lange set to launch a new comedic sports show on Fox Sports Network this September with Nick DiPaolo, a caller on the Stern show suggested that he should call in to discuss his suicide attempt. Stern responded, “I don’t discuss Artie’s business on the radio … Stop with the nonsense! Artie needs care, and me commenting on Artie – on whether he called me, whether he didn’t call me – it’s irrelevant. Artie needs to survive. Artie is no longer a sideshow. In my world, Artie can’t be a sideshow. Artie calling in and giving us all the details? All the gory details?”
Stern’s reluctance to weigh in may come as a surprise to long-time listeners. Lange used to regularly discuss his struggle with substance abuse on-air, including his history of heroin addiction and subsequently painful withdrawal. On April 10, 2008, he walked off the show after an on-air altercation with his personal assistant, Teddy, but Sirius allowed him to return to the airwaves under the condition that another such incident would result in his immediate termination. After his suicide attempt last year, he spent eight months in a psychiatric ward, and just this month made his initial return to the air (with DiPaolo) for a guest-hosting spot on Fox Sports Network, during which he said this about a possible return to The Howard Stern Show: “That would be the greatest thing ever. But, you know… Listen, I was on the greatest show of all-time for about nine years and I put them in a very awkward situation to say the least. So what am I gonna do? But I love them all and they were great to me.”
When Stern was asked about Lange possibly returning to his lair, he said, “I don’t need his family saying I did something wrong. I don’t need Artie saying I did something – I want him to be happy. And I really am pulling for him. I’m on his team 100 percent – and I mean that.”
So a Stern-Lange reunion doesn’t seem likely anytime soon. PopWatchers, do you hope they can reteam at some point? And what do you make of The King of All Media’s refusal to discuss the situation, when clearly he had no problem airing Lange’s dirty laundry for years before?