Monday, November 19, 2001

Howard Stern

On Friday, I listened once again to Howard Stern during my morning commute. I had been listening to Howard Stern pretty regularly since September 11. So far, I've listened to him interviewing a "hot" intern (with Gary saying that she's going to have to work, and not "hang out"), previewing songs from the September 11 tragedy, railing on Robin and her appearance on Who Wants to be Millionaire, and musing on his divorce and and his children. He has interviewed Jason Alexander, Kid Rock, and the women who interviewed O.J. Simpson under the guise of "good father".

It's odd becoming such a recent fan to Howard Stern. When he came to New York City (1983), I was in high school, and I definitely heard the buzz on him. I remember my younger brother being an early fan. But I definitely missed out on the early Howard Stern scene.

Fast forward to 1991, and I chanced upon his book Private Parts at a used book store. I buy it. To my amazement, I found myself enjoying his book. My overall impression: it was more revealing than I expected it to be, and his introspection made him seem more 'real'. He was also very appreciative of his wife, Allison, which somehow muted his on-air antics.

Fast forward to last Friday: I finally watched Private Parts, the movie. This is a very funny movie. His self-portrayal from geeky college kid to self-realized-though-misunderstood radio celebrity is wonderful. You do find yourself applauding and smiling and rooting for Howard at every turn.

The movie also demonstrate Howard's loyalty, not just to his wife, but to Robin Quivers and Fred Norris, early side kicks that helped Howard in the early years. You also saw Baba Booey ("they want you take your top off"), Stuttering John, and Jackie the Jokeman Martling. When I think of all the 'extreme' TV today, I can only imagine that the producers of those shows were saying "make it like Howard Stern".

After watching the movie, I tuned into Howard Stern on E! TV. Who do I see on the screen? Robin Quivers, Fred Norris, Jackie the Jokeman, Baba Booey, and of course, Howard. The same core people putting out raunchy fun since 1983.

If longevity is an indicator, Howard may very well be "the real deal", and his brand of humor has kept up with the times perfectly. In my one Friday with Howard Stern (the radio show, the movie, then on E! TV), I realized that this is one serious talent who's paid some serious dues, someone who is working hard to offend people in as broad and as funny a manner as possible, because he realizes that this insures him the broadest audience possible.

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