May 15, 2019

"Telling Carly Simon how hot she was for a half-hour or spewing sex questions to Wilmer Valderrama—this ultimately led to nothing. It wasn’t good radio."

"It was meaningless. It was just me being self-absorbed and compulsive about asking something that would provoke and antagonize. Those weren’t really interviews. They were monologues. Instead of a conversation, it was just me blurting out ridiculous things. I had some real issues. Then I started going to a psychotherapist. This was in the late nineties. I had no idea how therapy worked. The only thing I knew about it was what I saw in movies and on television, where people would just sit there and tell stories. So that’s what I did. My first session, I sat down in the chair and began telling the therapist anecdotes as if I was on the radio. I hit him with all my favorite routines. I did a thorough and involved set on the Stern family tree, complete with impressions of my family. I put together a few minutes on marriage, then moved into the pressures of the radio business, and closed with the trials and tribulations of raising a family. After I was finished with my stand-up, the therapist instead of applauding said, 'There’s nothing funny going on here. Quite frankly, some of this stuff sounds pretty sad.'"

From "Howard Stern Comes Again" (which I am reading).

35 comments:

rhhardin said...

I liked with some Howard crank calls wound up on plane crash news stories, provoking the idiotic how terrible we're serious people here reaction from the newsbabe, as they provide tragedy entertainment for millions.

Never liked Howard though.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Shouldn't this have the That's Not Funny tag?

Bay Area Guy said...

At the time, I did not particularly enjoy Howard Stern. Thought he was too coarse, too focused on sex. I thought Imus was more astute politically and funnier.

Of course, the thought of boycotting or protesting or trying to get him fired was completely ridiculous. Ya just turn the radio dial to some other station.

Why Howard is going woke as he approaches age 65 is a bit of mystery.

Rob said...

"So now ve may perhaps to begin."

Paddy O said...

"Why Howard is going woke as he approaches age 65 is a bit of mystery."

Really? He's doing what he has always done, reach out to the market with what it wants. Nostalgia regret is big business. If sex talk and shock talk sold these days, he'd still be doing that. But it doesn't sell as much and certainly not from grandpa retiree. There's a big trend, maybe there always was, in making a lot of money doing things then later making a lot more money saying how they are different now. It's a great way to get back into a spotlight that wouldn't otherwise care.

Mike Sylwester said...

Long ago in his radio career, Howard Stern would criticize male celebrities who had divorced their wives. He presented his own continuing marriage as a model.

As time went on, he became increasingly, publicly obsessed about not being able to experience all his sexual fantasies. While at home, he spent much of his time watching pornography in his basement. On his radio show, he interviewed porn stars and lesbians and asked his guests about their sex lives.

Eventually his public misconduct broke up his family. He had three daughters.

He experienced a good example of a male mid-life crisis.

Ice Nine said...

Howard did the shock jock bit strictly to get ratings and make money. It is what he did for a living. I only listened a couple times and thought it was silly and puerile. Which it was. I therefore thought he was silly and puerile. Which he is not. I learned who Howard Stern was by - shudder - watching him judge on America's Got Talent. Hey, I got a wife, ya know...

He was the most thoughtful, analytical, discerning and, really, serious of the judges. Actually, listening to him evaluate the acts was quite elucidating and interesting. And he always nailed it while the others were vapidly prattling, clowning around, and judging on emotion. Stern is actually a very good thinker and a serious guy.

Earnest Prole said...

Howard Stern's late-in-life transformation from purveyor of juvenile fart and sex jokes to master interviewer is a wonder to behold.

Gunner said...

Does Howard still think its good radio to talk in minute detail about all the fake problems and feuds that his flunkies have with some other flunkies?

Nonapod said...

It wasn't good radio

What the hell does he imagine "good radio" to be? Personally I think Howard Stern has always been at his most entertaining when he was being the most fatuous. And his strongest period was during the late 90s to early 2000s. His show has gone down hill since then. He's still an excellent interviewer, but he's become too self satisfied and out of touch with what made him fun.

J. Farmer said...

Growing up, I was a big fan of Howard Stern and Davit Letterman. And I think both careers' are examples of the pitfalls of "creative freedom." Both made criticism of management an integral part of their acts. Stern famously had prickly relations with general managers and program manaagers. He famously battled WXRK general manager Tom Chiusano. And Letterman was known for his loathing of the interference by NBC brass.

Both got what they ultimately wanted creatively. Letterman his CBS shown, owned by his own production company, and Stern his satellite radio deal. Both got fabulously rich off these endeavors, but both led to creative decline in my opinion. Without "the man" to push back against, the edge was gone. And it showed.

Darrell said...

Howard Stern is going woke because he did not come down hard enough on Trump during the campaign--at least not as much as the Left wanted him to. The long knives are out now. And he must feel he still needs an income stream.

Kay said...

He was incredibly talented before when he was doing a raunchier kind of act, but it’s incredible to see how much he’s changed. I’m tempted to say that he’s one of the better interviewers in the business, but I feel like he has been for a long time, even during this “monologue” period he’s talking about in the quote. He definitely changed the face of media and entertainment in the 90’s. He foresaw the edgy, offensive shock value comedy that became mainstream in the oughts, as well as the whole reality TV boom.

Kay said...

I don’t think Stern has gone “woke.” Not ask a guests to take off her top does not equal “woke,” otherwise so is Sean Hannity.

bagoh20 said...

I love how people make millions for years doing something, and then say they regret it for being too money grubbing and not doing something more cerebral. Really? You want to give back all that money and fame and be a regular Joe? Yea, I didn't think so. Spare me. You knew exactly the choices you were making and would do it again. That's who you were and who you are. Embrace it. You chose it. You built that.

Nobody said...

I stay away from Stern discussions, de gustabus and all, but the quoted piece in the headline sums up my opinion of Stern perfectly.

Nobody said...

He was incredibly talented before when he was doing a raunchier kind of act,

“C’mon, take off your shirt.”

“You two should kiss...”

Etc, etc, etc.

Danno said...

The one thing I absolutely insist on in my SiriusXM radio subscriptions is that they NOT include Howard Stern or other bullshit talk stuff.

CJinPA said...

The guy's pushing 70. He stopped talking about the boobs on his guests because it's gross for an old man to do that. He knows what he's doing.

As a young man, I thought he was entertaining. A guilty pleasure. Now we're both older. There's no great awakening. Just a radio talker trying to stay relevant.

narciso said...

Carlie Simon, in what universe, no entiendo.

Leland said...

I'm not a shock jock kind of listener. I'm also not a prude unable to see why others might find it exciting. I did think overall, Howard Stern's show was a debasement of our culture. For that reason, I used to reject listening to him. Indeed, I don't think I ever just listened to his show.

But I did for a time start watching his TV show. What stood out to me was Howard Stern never really got close to the vest. He sat on the other side of the studio. If you closed your eyes, you might get the impression from the back and forth that Stern was right there with his guest doing whatever. The reality is he kept his distance. To me, it suggested he was a simple entertainer, and not as much into his subjects as willing to make money off them.

Perhaps in a few years, Howard Stern will be associated with PT Barnum.

Known Unknown said...

Stern, to me, was always at his best when he wasn't obsessing with sex on the show. The more mundane stuff was waay funnier.

Known Unknown said...

"The one thing I absolutely insist on in my SiriusXM radio subscriptions is that they NOT include Howard Stern or other bullshit talk stuff."

Way to stay strong, Danno.

tim maguire said...

Stern was always a great interviewer, he could get any guest to talk about whatever he wanted. Just what he wants has changed.

Michael said...

I go back with Stern to the 80s when deregulation was turning radio in a wildly fertile place for creativity replacing the staid old popmusic/local weather/boring talk radio. Limbaugh and Stern were at the forefront.

Of course it is tough to maintain a cutting edger for 25-30-40 years. But all things lose their steam after a while, it's why I avoid aging rock concerts, the Simpsons and Maureen Dowd. I lessened my tuning in to Stern starting the early aughts and haven't bothered since Artie Lange left.

But hey, Howard Stern deserves all the props for being transcendent in his prime.

Nobody said...

I owe a comfortable retirement to taking advice from Limbaugh 20 to 25 years ago. I should write him.

Nobody said...

So now Trump is a radio jock:

https://www.orlandosentinel.com/news/os-ne-trump-speeches-panhandle-radio-20190513-777fjb7xirayra3qpft3zfvali-story.html

rcocean said...

I'd love to give a psychology test to a random, statistically valid, sample of Stern fans. The results would be interesting.

Fen said...

"It was meaningless. It was just me being self-absorbed and compulsive about asking something that would provoke and antagonize. Those weren’t really interviews. They were monologues. Instead of a conversation, it was just me blurting out ridiculous things. I had some real issues"

Okay, okay. I saw the same things whenever I flipped over to his show and considered him inferior for being a 30 year old child who arrogantly couldn't see what he had become.

But now I see I was the arrogant one - he saw exactly what I did and was disturbed by it. I'm going to give him another look (please ignore how important I am pretending to be lol)

Unknown said...

Show business guy selling new stuff.

Another book praising psychotherapy?

Unknown said...

"Wiener's out"

All we need to know about his evolution

is in his title

William said...

He certainly knows how to promote himself. His book will probably sell better than Michelle's. Fortune Magazine put him down as one of the wealthiest stars in the entertainment industry.... He's pretty shrewd. I would think his fan base is mostly pro-Trump so, as entertainment people go, he's not over the top negative on Trump. He says he's a Hillary supporter, but he doesn't particularly praise her or slam Trump.... .I enjoyed his show but not enough to follow him to Sirius or to read his books. He's like Trump in that you can be attentive and maybe even supportive without ever really being a fan.

Sydney said...

I always enjoyed his celebrity interviews. He was very good at getting them to relax and open up. I used to listen to him on my drive into the hospital and back in the mornings when I could no longer stand NPR. The local copycat shock jocks couldn’t hold a candle to him.

daskol said...

I wish he’d run for mayor.

Begonia said...

Never listened to his show.

Terry Gross' long interview of Howard Stern--which broadcast on Tuesday and Wednesday nights-- was a fascinating listen. It was like she has been itching for this interview for a long, long time. Two radio pros, talking about radio.

They talked about the different ways they conduct interviews (him in his studio, "barricaded in" by his desk, her in a completely separate studio so there is no eye contact at all). They talked about how to know what questions to ask (for example, he asked Stephen Colbert if he felt uncomfortable begin around crying women). They talked about how Terry Gross doesn't like to say the word "fart".