Last week on The Howard Stern Show, the King of All Media gave his audience a status update on depressed porkchop sidekick Artie Lange, who, back in January, stabbed himself nine times and has since been on the showbiz sidelines.
“What is there to update?” Stern asked. “Artie’s cuckoo!”
There has been much speculation as to whether the angry junkie will ever come back to the show — and, if not, just who might take his coveted seat? Heeb 100 alum Robert McKee, Lowbrow Reader publisher Jay Ruttenberg, fetishist phone operator Jappy Princess Melissa and 95-year-old comedian Professor Irwin Corey all weigh in on whether Artie will ever return and who might replace the suicidal tub of lard.
Despite the grave circumstances, this isn’t the first time Artie has skipped out on the show. Do you think this really is his final hurrah, or will he come back?
McKee: I’m unsure what suicide counseling entails, but I imagine it involves a lot of encouragement to restore your working relationships, especially for a celebrity. Hopefully, this experience will be an eye-opener, and he’ll rejoin the cast before they pull the plug on the show. If he gave a shit about his career, and, if he expects to maintain his current standard of living, he’d be best served by not throwing this golden opportunity away. One of the great things about Artie was his ability to laugh at himself. If anything, if he recovers, he’ll probably exploit his insider’s view into a two-hour HBO special.
Melissa: I think we might have heard the last of the baby gorilla in a regular spot, but I do think Artie will be back at some point . . . Seriously, the guy stabbed himself. No way he is getting out of the nut hut anytime soon. Get well, Artie. I love ya, you fat piece of shit!
Ruttenberg: I suspect that Artie will not be returning to the show, at least not full-time. Hopefully, I’m wrong – it seems that Stern is leaving the door open. Perhaps this question should be posed to Artie’s psychiatrists: Is working in such a volatile, ostensibly stressful environment bad for his mental health? Or is holding a regular job — surrounded by smart people who seem to care for him — beneficial?
Corey: Do I what?
This month, Jackie Martling made a bid to return to the show and take Artie’s place. Who do you think would make the ideal replacement?
McKee: When Jackie left, I found Artie’s arrival a breath of fresh air. Artie was more vocal on the show, offered input and commented on everything. Jackie mostly wrote shit on cue cards and laughed maniacally on occasion. I didn’t quite understand the dissent of listeners who made comparisons, thinking Jackie was better. To me, Jackie’s absence went unnoticeable. Having said that, Howard and Robin: It’s been nine fucking years. Throw a bone to your contingent of fans from 20 years back and give Jackie a go. Just make it temporary until Artie puts down the knife.
Melissa: All I have to say is ‘eff Jackie.’ There is no replacing Artie. Well, ok, Wendy the Retard might be pretty fun for a couple days.
Ruttenberg: Certainly not Jackie Martling, who represents a dated and kind of corny version of the show — a relic of an old ‘morning zoo’ mentality. (Who nicknames themselves ‘The Jokeman’?) Artie is perfect for that slot, and few others make sense.
Rosie O’Donnell has fantastic chemistry with Stern, but is obviously far too famous for the gig. I am a fan of Gilbert Gottfried, yet, ultimately, he would prove himself too distracting in that role. It’s a real dilemma. Word on the street is that Conan O’Brien needs a job?
Corey: Who do I think should replace him? You.