You’ve got to do a lot of wrong to lose Howard Stern once you’re a Stern insider, and Stern castoff Artie Lange did more than required. Lange, an unfettered and uproarious talent, couldn’t tone down the juice off set and was on a John Belushi-style path to self-destruction. It cost him his job with Stern — the best job in radio — and it damaged his personal relationship with Stern too. They’d been pals and partners.
From this vantage it looks like losing the Stern gig was ultimately a positive event in Lange’s journey. He’s clean and touring and reportedly working in the elite comic arena called HBO, part of Pete Holmes/Judd Apatow’s new HBO show Crashing. (Lange knows intimately the world Crashing explores.) Lange just did a wide-ranging interview with Kirk Minihane, and he talks about how it went down with Stern. He paints a portrait of Stern as a compassionate boss and friend, saying:
“Howard got me a therapist through his therapist, he got me into rehab. Howard at one point said, this came out on the air, he said, ‘look, go take as much time as you need to get better. When you come back, you have a job.’ “