Howard Stern fans everywhere have consistently complained about how Stern blatantly dodges the Artie Lange topic. Since Lange’s suicide attempt, Stern suspiciously changes the subject every time Lange’s name is mentioned, which outrages fans. On today’s Show, Stern finally addressed the elephant in the room (no pun in intended). He said that he remembers how he felt when he first heard about Lange, and he “did a lot of self examination” about whether he contributed to his demise. He therefore tries to “be extremely careful” when mentioning Lange. Though Stern didn’t blatantly say this, I think he takes a lot of responsibility for Lange, because he continued to employ him and make fun of him at the height of his drug abuse. Stern still insists that he had no idea Artie was using drugs, but I’m not sure I believe it. First, Artie admitted to using drugs, and though he said he was getting clean, Stern always questioned his sobriety on the air. The staff even called Stern a hypocrite for letting Artie show up late or not at all, while holding the rest of the staff to a higher standard. In fact, Norm MacDonald called Stern an enabler on the air, and Stern said he liked Artie and wouldn’t fire him over his drug abuse. Artie ultimately left the show because Sirius kicked him out — not Stern. They basically forced Stern’s hand. I’m not blaming Stern, though I do think he should have fired Artie long before Sirius did.
Artie Lange fans will rejoice to hear that he’s recovered from his recent suicide attempt. Lange performed stand-up at The Comedy Center this weekend, alongside Craig Gass. Gass mentioned that Lange looked great while on Howard Stern today, and Stern suspiciously avoided the subject. I’m guessing that Stern still does not know how to tactfully discuss Lange, and he therefore avoids the subject as much as possible. Judging from the pictures of Lange, it looks like he got his act together. There is a rumor that he will appear on Stern prior to Stern’s contract with Sirius ending, but who knows if he would ever return to the show on a permanent basis. It’s probably best that he doesn’t.