COMMENTS

Artie Lange has a cold: interview

/
Artie Lange 1 AP 2012

Comedian Artie Lange attends "On The Chopping Block: A Roast of Anthony Bourdain" on Oct. 11, 2012 in New York. He performs Saturday, September 28, 2013, at the Mahaffey Theater, 400 1st St. S., St. Petersburg; (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP Images)

Artie Lange, a mobile phone pressed against his ear, breathes heavily while walking around the airport looking for somewhere quiet with better reception. But he can’t find such a place and the interview begins. Mediabistro has just reported that Lange has signed a deal with Simon & Schuster to pen his second memoir, “Crash and Burn.” The book will come out Oct. 29.

A publicity release promises Lange will reveal the stories about how drug addiction caused him to leave “The Howard Stern Show.” It will recount numerous other public humiliations including a 2010 suicide attempt that got the comedian and actor institutionalized. “Crash and Burn” will allow readers to learn how Lange is now managing to stay clean and sober.

“I’m hoping it’s a cautionary tale about drug use,” Lange says, his voice raspy. “I hope it helps people, and something good comes out of it except of just the money.”

Lange, who performs Saturday at the Mahaffey Theater in St. Petersburg, clears his throat. When not on the road, he hosts “The Artie Lange Show,” broadcast locally on WHPT-FM, 102.5 the Bone. It’s basically a variety show with an emphasis on sports. On Monday, for instance, listeners heard a program featuring former N.F.L. defensive end Trevor Pryce as well as musician Warren Haynes and rock historian Eddie Trunk.

“You can’t be too overly critical,” Lange says when asked about the key to hosting a successful radio show. “You really have be a fan. It has to be real, it can’t be contrived. Honesty is always what makes stuff funnier.”

Artie Lange 2006

In this photo released by Echo Bridge Entertainment, co-stars Artie Lange and Cara Buono arrive for the New York premiere of "Beer League," Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2006. (AP Photo/Echo Bridge Entertainment, Dave Allocca)

Lange launched the show in 2011 with Nick DiPaolo and it was called “The Nick & Artie Show.” In January, the show returned from the holiday break as “The Artie Lange Show.” “It was a very amicable thing; we’re still great friends,” Lange says of DiPaolo’s departure. “Creatively, we wanted to go in different directions.”

The interview turns to Bubba The Love Sponge Clem. The Tampa Bay-based morning talk show host and nationally syndicated star of The Bone is a friend of Howard Stern. In fact, Stern attended Clem’s 2007 wedding in St. Petersburg.

“Oh God, Bubba,” Lange says with a congested laugh. “He and I became really good friends when we were on the same (satellite radio) channel the last half of the decade. Howard rented a plane and we all went to Bubba’s wedding. It was a great, great, great weekend.”

It sounds like Lange might be blowing his nose. The phone signal goes all white noise. He’s back. We return to the topic of Stern; more specifically, Lange’s departure from Stern’s show after being on it from 2001 to 2009. “It was an amicable thing,” Lange says. “Howard was very helpful to me and wanted me to get help and to take as much time as I needed and (pause), I needed a lot of time.”

Lange continues, “It just made sense. I had run my course. I needed to make a change in my life schedule or whatever and we amicably agreed it was time for me to leave. It was done in a very nice and a very friendly way. I’m actually grateful to him for the way he did that.”

Artie Lange 2006 Stern

This Thursday, April 27, 2006 picture shows comedian and actor Artie Lange, from the Howard Stern radio show at the inaugural Howard Stern 2006 Film Festival in New York. (AP Photo/Stuart Ramson)

In early 2010, Lange stabbed himself numerous times in a suicide attempt. Three years later, he’s determined to tell the story. The episode will appear in his upcoming book and could be discussed on stage in St. Petersburg; but it’s still tough.

“It is something I did because of heroin so it’s necessary to talk about it so people stay away from heroin,” Lange says. “It’s a scourge for this country and the pills all over the country and small towns. It’s important to talk about because here I was, successful, but heroin got me to the point where I had become suicidal. It’s important; but very difficult to talk about.”

Lange laughs - and coughs - when asked, what’s the best thing about being sober?

“Oh God, just remembering the night before,” he says. “It sounds like I’m trying to be funny but it’s so true. Nothings is scarier than waking up in a hotel and realizing the night before you spoke publicly. Oh my God! It started happening to me on the radio.

“I finally realized I can’t have this. I can’t have a couple beers. Now, my life is great.”

Artie Lange, 8 p.m. Saturday; Mahaffey Theater, 400 1st St. S., St. Petersburg; $39-$65; (727) 892-5767; themahaffey.com.

Artie Lange
8 p.m. Saturday; Mahaffey Theater, 400 1st St. S., St. Petersburg; $39-$65; (727) 892-5767; themahaffey.com.

Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: September 30, 2013
All rights reserved. This copyrighted material may not be published without permissions. Links are encouraged.
COMMENTS