Stern Sidekick Artie Lange Is Out Of Rehab And Heading To San Francisco
By John Geluardi
Lange, whose dislike for Los Angeles is well known, says he has always liked San Francisco. When he was new to the comedy circuit, Lange opened for headline acts at the Punchline Comedy Club and later, when he was filming The Bachelor in 1998, he lived for a month at the Park Hyatt during which time he grew fond of the city.
“LA is a one-industry town and it’s always in your face,” says Lange who is born and breed in New Jersey. “But San Francisco is my kind of town. It’s more like New York, the climate is great, not too much humidity. The last time I was out there, I was able to see the Niners play the Detroit Lions. I really love it there.”
The rotund Lange, who is legendary for his immoderate consumption of food and drink, checked himself into a New Jersey drug rehab facility on August 6 after he began using heroin again about eight weeks ago. Lange decided to get help after he missed an appearance on Comedy Central to roast his friend Bob Saget. He had also begun to fall asleep during broadcasts of the Stern show.
After a short stint in Rehab, Lange was released to the care a mysterious 70-year-old psychiatrist who was recommended by fellow comedian Richard Lewis. Lange speaks to the shrink each day for about an hour and is also taking a prescription medication called Subutex that helps ease withdrawal symptoms.
Lange, 41, took advantage of the Howard Stern Show’s week-long summer hiatus to get sober. On Monday morning Lange was back on air with Stern and crew. Stern demands rigorous honesty from both his on and off air crew. In keeping with the show's tradition, Lange, a talented storyteller, went into great detail for nearly an hour on air about his relapse, how the drug quickly took over his life and how his mother and sister were instrumental in his recovery. At one point, Lange says he had to take the drug twice each hour.
Lange says he doesn’t mind sharing his most intimate personal problems with millions of listeners and, in fact, he prefers it because it makes him closer to his fans.
“It’s a little more honest than most shows, but it’s much better than being on some homogenous fucking sitcom,” Lange says. “Howard is edgy and most listeners understand that I’m a bit of a fuck up. When I do shows in other towns it’s like I have 10,000 friends who really know me.”
Despite his recent relapse, Lange’s career has been going well. He has a book, “Too Fat To Fish” coming out in November and he is appearing with Bob Levy and Sal Governale at San Francisco’s Nob Hill Masonic Center on September 19 (buy tickets).
Stern’s radio show is legendary for its crudeness and cheerful insensitivity to just about all creeds, ethnicities, sexual orientations, physical handicaps and disabilities. Even though San Francisco is the spiritual homeland of political correctness, Lange says his comedy show will hold nothing back.
“I respect what it’s like in San Francisco, but I would never tone down a show,” Lange says. “You have to go full throttle. And there are some crazy Raider fans out there who really like that.”