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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

What Happened To Howard Stern?

What happened to Howard Stern? Stern used to be my heterosexual man-crush. As a kid I loved listening to the show. His rise from local shock jock with a wife and young kids to feed to the conqueror of radio markets 1, 2 and 3 -- then the publishing and film worlds was amazing. The goddam stuff of legend. Howard Stern was once the hungriest man in show business. But Stern's hunger for recognition was matched by his raw talent, so few in New York media ever really hated on him. An interesting man, an excellent broadcaster and a fearless performer, Stern kept the listeners attention for the full 4 hours (How many comedians/commentators nowadays can say the same?) Stern pretty much created the whole "reality show" format (any many ex-Stern show staffers got their start when the genre took off). He was one of the first person to ask celebrities real questions in areas where people were curious -- about their finances, sex lives, leisure. Stern's fires seem to have died down now that he left terrestrial radio and corporate oversight, got married, and became a fixture in the Hamptons. Maybe we all slow down as we get older and achieve the things we want. That thought, though, is depressing. We always want our heroes to continue at the same pace that they did decades ago, which is impossible.

Stern lost his fire after making $80 million a year. The old Howard Stern used to do "Dial-a-Date" with the ex-wives of his radio competitors, but when given an opportunity to settle scores with Jay Leno, who stole one of his show regulars, Howard declined. The cause? Laziness. Mama says wha-a-at?! From HowardStern/Rundown:

Howard said he'd thought about it over the weekend and decided not to appear on 'The Tonight Show' before Conan leaves: 'No. The answer is no. And I'll tell you why. Because I'm lazy.' For Howard, the big hurdle was travelling: 'I just don't want to go out to LA. Just to fly 6 hours and get all set up?'

Howard added that he almost said yes – when Rosie O'Donnell proposed they go on together: "That really got me going [was] gonna be one big 'Scumbag Jay' party."

How could Howard Stern not use the platform of Conan O'Brien to land a crushing blow on his arch-enemy Jay Leno? The old Howard Stern would never have hesitated before applying the final shiv into the bloated comedic body of Jay Leno.


Amanda S said...

But darling, has he not earned it? I prefer the Howard Stern of today. He doesn't have to be outrageous, he already has his audience. And what he has to say about every day topics is always thoughtful and interesting. My favorite part of every show is just the crew sitting around discussing current events. The celebrity interviews are fun, but the dialog amongst the team is a finely tuned machine.

Ron said...

He has earned it. You have a point, Amanda.