I’ve been holding this blog for a while, but now seems a good time to post it following the Artie Lange – Joe Buck controversy. Artie went nuts on Buck’s inaugural show on HBO. It was kind of a horror show, but I have to admit, some of it was funny, and some of it was riveting, though some of it was also awkward. I do give Artie credit for being outrageous, but Stern himself is smarter, wittier. Lange is being somewhat of a caricature.
Anyway, Stern fans, let me say again, as I say on my other Stern blog entry, that the reason I can criticize the show like this is because I have been a big fan of the show for more than 25 years. (I also write blogs partly to drive traffic to my websites, such as http://www.mikeneedsakidney.com). Also, I don’t agree with everything on the show, so for those of you who may think some things on the show are inappropriate, I may agree with you on some of that. I don’t like anything that is demeaning to women. But I think the show celebrates women more than demeans them. And I will admit, that though this missive seems harsh, Artie can sometimes tell a good story and it’s not like he never says anything funny.
Let me preface this by saying that I understand that a lot of fans like Artie. I mean, a lot of fans love Artie. But I just don’t get it. I think the fat, drunk, druggie, tough guy, blue collar New Jersey guy act has been milked for all it’s worth. Artie wants to be like John Belushi and Chris Farley. Yes, we get it. He’s always bragging about how he eats so much, drinks so much, goes to prostitutes, and has a drug problem. He’s just not that funny at all. He purposely eats a lot so he can continue this image. Cupcakes and Hawaiian Punch? Who actually drinks Hawaiian Punch? You’re not a little kid living in the 70s. He also loves the Italian stereotype, but he’s half German.
He goes on too long with his stories, speaks too loudly, and a lot of his jokes fall flat. Sorry, but like Howard, I have to be honest and tell it like it is. Howard gives Artie way too much airtime, and Artie can’t tell a concise story. Part of the reason Howard has Artie is because he needs a so-called tough guy since Howard was so into American Idol, Dancing With the Stars, chess, and he doesn’t like sports. But Artie isn’t even a big sports fan. He likes the Yankees, and he has decent knowledge of baseball, but other than that, his knowledge is pretty limited. In fact, for someone who calls himself a sports fan, his lack of overall knowledge is astounding.
I don’t believe Artie is still on drugs but he probably still is drinking. Either way, they’ve milked all they can out of this. It’s one thing to be self-deprecating but Artie relishes his image and brags about being a druggie. Artie loves to talk about it all the time. It’s as if Howard has gotten bored with the show and just wants to let Artie take over 1/3 of the show. It’s getting really old. Remember, Stern listeners are known for listening for a very long time, not just 10 minutes like regular radio listeners, so the show shouldn’t do the same things over and over. They obsess over Artie’s problems on the Wrap-Up Show and Super Fan Roundtable. This was old years ago.
I think the Stern show could do just as well by rotating comedians – Gilbert Gottfried, Richard Lewis, Dave Attell, Nick DiPaulo, Greg Fitzsimmons, Richard Belzer, David Brenner, David Alan Grier, Colin Quinn (he’s not doing anything), Greg Giraldo, Paul Mooney, Judah Friedlander (I knew him in school. Well, barely – I played tennis with his brother. I know, I’m stretching it on the celebrity name-dropping here), Norm MacDonald (though this might not work because he’s friends with Artie), Jackie Martling, and maybe a few others.
By the way, I know Jackie isn’t a real comedian, and don’t try to say Artie is a lot better than Jackie because Artie’s role is to tell stories and Jackie’s role was to write one-liners for Howard and pass them to him. Of the comedians I list above, the ones I could see replacing Artie are Dave Attell or Greg Giraldo, or slightly behind them, Greg Fitzsimmons, David Alan Grier, Colin Quinn, or Jackie.