Posts Tagged ‘Joe Buck’

Howard Stern: Bring Back the Honesty

June 17, 2009

I’ve been a loyal Howard Stern fan since 1981 when he worked at DC-101 in Washington, so I’ve listened a lot longer than even Stern show Producer Gary Dell’Abate has.  I think Stern is the greatest entertainer in the history of radio.  Obviously, Howard has been a creative and revolutionary force, with such a huge influence that he completely changed radio.  But in my opinion, somewhere along the line in the last couple of years, things seem to have changed.  The show is still great, but it’s missing something.  That something is honesty.     

For example, the fight in 2001 between A.J. Benza and Stuttering John was real.  However, last summer and again this year, there were several arguments back to back that seemed to be greatly exaggerated.  After each one, I list my best guess as to whether the “arguments” or situations were real, fake, or partly real but exaggerated. 

  • The Rev. Bob Levy complained on the Miserable Men show that he wasn’t getting enough airtime on Howard’s show.  Howard pretended to be outraged and a mountain was made out of a molehill.  Best guess:  It started out as real but was greatly exaggerated. 
  • Ronnie the Limo Driver got angry when Lisa G. asked him whether he was going to get a colonoscopy.  I’ve seen less fake outrage in a political campaign.  They went on ad nauseam about this.  Best guess:  It started out as real but was greatly exaggerated.
  • The argument when Tracy the intern yelled at former Stern staffer Steve Grillo seemed way over the top.  And it wasn’t worth it to have Artie constantly do an impression of her rant.  Best guess:  It started out as real but was greatly exaggerated.
  • When Sal argued over the selection of the Baba Booey song parodies, it was truly an argument about nothing that didn’t make sense.  Best guess.  It was real.  Sal would do this.
  • Earlier this year, Artie ripped Dr. Drew on the show for supposedly taking advantage of addicts on his TV show.  Best guess:  absolutely fake.
  • Gary Dell’Abate’s wild opening pitch at the Mets game.  Best guess:  fake.  Gary knew it would be good for the show to throw a wild pitch so he did it on purpose.  Plus, nobody could throw that badly. 
  • The controversy about Sal not being invited to Howard’s wedding.  Best guess:  real. 
  • Of course, the granddaddy of them all was when Artie walked off the show after getting in a fight with his assistant, Teddy.  Best guess:  I don’t have a good feeling about this one, and I could be wrong about this, but I think it was fake. 
  • Robin’s romance with Jim Florentine.  This wasn’t an argument, but I’m listing it here anyway.  Best guess:  they may have sort of gone out for a while but it’s a stretch to think that they had a real relationship.

The show is still mostly honest, but they need to be all honest, all the time.  That’s what made the show, not the outrageousness of it, contrary to popular belief.   

Even though I don’t agree with everything about the show.  It can still be great.  If there are any loyal fans that are reading this and are upset about it, just realize that you can like something and still criticize it because you want it to be better, or as good as it used to be.  Take Philly fans for example.  Please.  They love their teams but that doesn’t stop them from booing when necessary (although I do think their criticism of Mike Schmidt and Donovan McNabb was way over the top).  I’m a big Redskins fan but I criticize them because I want them to be better like they used to be.

Anyway, I figure this is a good time to put this up, following the Artie Lange – Joe Buck HBO controversy.  Another reason I write my blog is to publicize my other websites, including www.mikeneedsakidney.com.  Just being honest.  

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Artie Lange, Joe Buck, and Howard Stern

June 17, 2009

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.