Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Too Fat to Fish by Artie Lange (Author), Anthony Bozza (Author)

Too Fat to Fish is a book written by comedian and Howard Stern Show co-host Artie Lange with author and journalist Anthony Bozza, published by Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House. It will be available in hardcover, audio CD, and audio download format on November 11, 2008[1]. The book is a collection of short stories that happened throughout Lange's life, from his childhood to his recent USO trip to Afghanistan in July 2008. The foreword is written by Howard Stern[1], with Lange also dedicating the book to Stern. It is said that Lange writes about his "most personal revelation" somewhere in the book[2].

About the author:

Arthur Steven Lange, Jr., (born October 11, 1967 in Union, New Jersey), is an American stand-up comedian, radio personality, and actor. Lange is most notable for replacing Jackie Martling on The Howard Stern Show, and as a member of the original cast of the sketch comedy series MADtv. Lange's first book Too Fat to Fish is scheduled to be released on November 11, 2008.


[edit] Early life

Artie Lange was born and raised in Union Township, Union County, New Jersey. His mother, Judy (née Caprio), was a homemaker and his father, Arthur Sr., was a general contractor. Two weeks after he was born, his father went on trial for counterfeiting money, but was spared jail time out of the court's sympathy for his young son. His family identified themselves as Italian-Americans, despite having German ancestry on his father's side. During a segment of The Howard Stern Show, Lange provided a blood sample which was taken to a laboratory for DNA testing. The results indicated that Lange was approximately 25 percent American Indian. Lange said that his father's background "has always been a gray area."

During high school Lange excelled in baseball, becoming an All County third baseman, and spent his free time working with his father. Some time after Lange finished high school in 1985, his father fell from a roof and broke his neck, becoming quadriplegic. Money soon afterwards became an issue within his family and they contacted celebrities to donate items for them to auction, the only one who responded was Howard Stern, sending them an autographed jacket and mentioning on the air "do they think it's going to make him walk again," which he found funny. His father would eventually die from complications from the fall, although Lange has speculated that his father may have committed suicide through an overdose of medications (perhaps with the assistance of a third party).

After finishing school, Lange was arrested for attempted bank robbery. He claimed he was only trying to impress a girl by passing the teller a fake holdup note that said he was armed and demanded $50,000. However, the note included his name, and the teller took it seriously and triggered a silent alarm. As part of an agreement, his lawyer arranged for Lange to avoid jail time, along with two years of probation and 25 hours of community service.

Lange attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting from March to June 1987. Based on his work at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Lange was offered a radio job in Wyoming.[1] Instead of taking the job, he stayed in New Jersey and took up work as a longshoreman to help support his family; it was around this time that, inspired by Richard Lewis, he first started doing stand-up comedy[2]. He eventually quit his job to focus full time on his comedy career. In 1995, he landed a role in the original cast of FOX's sketch comedy show MADtv.

[edit] MADtv

Lange was one of the original nine castmembers of MADtv when the series debuted in 1995. Lange had previous sketch comedy experience with the improv troupe "Live on Tape".[3] Around this time he became heavily involved with drugs, particularly cocaine. He has stated that his lowest point of cocaine use occurred during a shooting of the MADtv sketch "Babewatch" (a parody of Babe and Baywatch) in which he played Babe the pig as a lifeguard. Because the sketch involved going through hours of make-up to transform him into a pig, he snorted cocaine in his car in full pig make-up during a break in the shooting of the sketch. Upon returning from the shoot, he passed out in his hotel room, and awoke to find he had defecated in his bed. (The cast and fanbase of The Howard Stern Show now refer to this incident as "The Pig Story.") His tenure with MADtv came to a dramatic end when, during a cocaine binge, the police were called to the studio. Lange fled, running through a number of backyards and stores before being arrested. He was charged with cocaine possession, assaulting an officer, and possessing an open alcoholic container in his car, among other charges. Upon Lange's arrest, Quincy Jones, an executive producer of MADtv, intervened and arranged for him to continue on the show for a second season. Lange's sobriety did not last, however, and he was fired after two seasons.

Lange performed as a few recurring characters on the show, such as "That's My White Momma," but was mostly used for impressions. Among the people he imitated were Yassir Arafat, F. Lee Bailey, Roseanne Barr, George Clooney, Larry Csonka, Newt Gingrich, Ed Harris, Richard Karn, Wayne Knight, Rush Limbaugh, Ed McMahon, Rosie O'Donnell, Rob Thomas and Joe Pesci.

Lange appeared in an episode during the show's tenth season.

[edit] The Howard Stern Show

After Lange served a short jail term and successfully completed a drug rehabilitation program, comedian Norm MacDonald, impressed by Lange's work on Mad TV, offered him a part in the 1998 movie Dirty Work. Although Lange frequently jokes about the film's failure with both critics and audiences (on his stand-up comedy DVD, It's The Whiskey Talkin', after a fan asks him to autograph a copy of Dirty Work, he does so then gives the fan "[his] ten bucks back," saying "you don't see Ben Affleck doing that for Gigli") he credits MacDonald and director Bob Saget with rejeuvenating his comedy career, leading to several more film appearances and a lucrative (though ultimately fruitless) TV development deal.

He joined the cast of MacDonald's sitcom The Norm Show during its second season where he would remain until its cancellation the following year. Lange has since described this period as a personal high point but a creative low point; he enjoyed being paid $35,000 an episode, sleeping late and being in healthy physical shape as well as working with the cast, particularly his friend, Norm Macdonald, and Laurie Metcalf, whom he would call "a brilliant actress" and later cast as his mother in his self-written, self-produced film Beer League. However, he disliked the show itself, referring to it as "bad jokes with fake laughter" (which, he claims, MacDonald agreed with) and maintaining that it was the lowest rated network sitcom for most of its run. After its cancellation, Lange would take over Jackie Martling's chair when Martling left The Howard Stern Show in 2001; he had previously visited numerous times, the first of which was alongside Norm MacDonald to promote Dirty Work.

Since Lange joined the show, Stern has often teased him for his eating habits, his role in the poorly-received movie Dirty Work, and his lack of professionalism. Stern also makes a point to praise Lange's comedic talents; he had grown up listening to The Howard Stern Show and is a fan to the point of recalling obscure details from years ago on a regular basis since his joining. Stern and his staff have commented that Lange's life is a sort of perpetual adolescence; his mother delivers food parcels and cleans his apartment, he continually gorges himself on pizza and other fattening foods, and his past drunken binges are legendary among Stern fans.

In early June 2005, Lange began missing work at the Howard Stern Show, prompting concerns of a possible relapse of past substance abuse. The situation climaxed in Lange behaving incoherently and belligerently on-the-air. He infamously sneered at Stern and crew that: "Artie's gotta do what Artie's gotta do!" Stern later commented that this statement had scared him. Lange missed the entire week of work.

At the time, Lange's absence from the show went largely unmentioned and was written off as stress from doing the radio show and beginning production of his movie Beer League. The real reason for Lange's absence was revealed in a spontaneous revelation on the September 21, 2006 episode, on which Lange acknowledged that he was regularly snorting heroin from February to June 2005. Lange discussed past episodes of heroin use, beginning when he was a stand-up comedian and continuing until Beer League was set to begin shooting. Lange detailed his painful withdrawal, which included common side effects such as cold sweats, shaking and vomiting. Lange recalled disconnecting the telephone to avoid speaking to his mother, who ultimately intervened to help him recover. Lange was threatened with legal action by the Beer League producers (whom he later described as having "waste management connections") if he failed to show up for the first day of shooting in June 2005, which led Lange to secure a home visit from a doctor who prescribed Lange with buprenorphine (Subutex) to alleviate his heroin dependency. Since starting the medicine, Lange has claimed to be free of any illegal substances, though he has gained almost 100 lb (45 kg) since quitting heroin.

In the days leading up to Stern's departure from terrestrial radio, Lange revealed that he and Gary Dell'Abate were approached by Infinity Broadcasting about replacing him on terrestrial radio with their own show. Lange claimed he was offered roughly $5 million to defect, but he and Dell'Abate claimed to have never given the offer much thought.

Lange is known for doing many impressions on the show, among them are Rush Limbaugh, Ted Kennedy, Iron Sheik, Eric the Midget, Don Rickles, Katt Williams, Blue Iris, Johnny Fratto, Jeff the Drunk, Harry Caray, Brian Johnson, Mark the Bagger, Elliot Offen, Bigfoot, Crazy Alice, Henry Hill, Bubba the Love Sponge, The Notorious B.I.G. and others.

Due to his fame as Howard Stern's sidekick, Lange was invited by Playboy to be part of a special photoshoot as one of the Cyber Club's celebrity photographers. He chose Miss November 2001 Lindsey Vuolo as his model for the pictorial.

On April 10, 2008 Lange walked off The Howard Stern Show after an on-air argument and subsequent outburst at his personal assistant, Teddy, resulting in a physical altercation.[4] Lange expressed his disdain for his assistant of nearly two years because of recent money issues. Later in the broadcast Lange returned to apologize and tender his resignation, which Stern accepted.

The last thing Lange said to Stern before his departure on April 10, 2008 was, "I’m not a good person...I gotta leave...I love you." Atypically, the show was not re-broadcast on Howard 100 that day (normally during the week the full 6 hours of The Howard Stern Show are replayed around the clock starting at 12 PM, 6 PM and 12 AM). Tim Sabean (Sirius Program Manager) when interviewed by the Howard 100 News program stated that they have not yet decided on the fate of Artie's future on the Howard Stern Show.

On April 21, 2008 Lange did in fact return to the Howard Stern Show. He apologized for his behavior and took full responsibility. It was revealed that Sirius was allowing him to continue, but that another infraction would end his employment. Additionally, Lange explained that despite the rocky relationship that they've had, he and Teddy will maintain their working relationship.

[edit] Personal life

Lange frequently discussed his on-again/off-again relationship with longtime girlfriend Dana Sironi after they began dating in early spring 2002. Most of the couple's problems stemmed from Lange's lifestyle. In mid-2006 Lange declared that the couple had officially broken up, for which Lange cited his heroin abuse as the primary reason, and claimed to have warned her that she would be "tortured" if they stayed together. However, Lange announced on an early November 2006 Stern Show that he and Sironi were again together to some extent, but that the situation was a mystery even to him. The couple broke up in early 2007, but began dating again in December 2007. On January 29, 2008, Vinnie Favale from The Late Show with David Letterman accidentally emailed Dana the itinerary for the night of Artie's appearance. The email contained the details of the reservations Vinnie made for Artie and three Penthouse Pets at a hotel and the Penthouse club. They have since parted ways.

Lange remains very close to his family, which includes his sister Stacie, a successful corporate fashion designer[5], and his mother Judy, who retired in March 2007 from a secretarial career.[6] He considers comedian George Carlin to be the all time greatest and said "it's easy to follow the funniest guy ever" when he appeared after Carlin as a guest during his first late night talk show appearance on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.[1] Contrary to popular belief, he had not met comedians Norm MacDonald or David Spade prior to his making films with them (Dirty Work and Lost And Found respectively) though he has remained close friends with both in the years since.

Politically, he has said he does not consider himself to be a "liberal," though he is pro-choice, pro gay rights (despite his notorious penchant for gay jokes) and pro-union since his time as a longshoreman. He has called President George W. Bush a "dolt" and voted for John Kerry in 2004; he is currently "leaning towards" Barack Obama (whom he voted for in the Democratic Primaries) for the 2008 Presidential Election. He initially supported the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but has since changed his mind. When documentarian Michael Moore visited The Howard Stern Show in 2007, Lange told him that he had changed some of his political opinions because of Moore's films.

He has indicated that his favorite band is The Who, he is also a devotee of Bruce Springsteen and AC/DC. His favorite book is A Confederacy of Dunces.

[edit] Health

During a Stern Show weight loss competition, Lange was the only contestant to actually gain weight. He has also been asked to appear on Celebrity Fit Club for each of four seasons, but has declined every time due to his commitment to "The Stern Show".

In May 2004, Las Vegas station KLAS-TV reported him dead. The story turned out to be a prank executed by Stern Show regular caller Captain Janks.

The website 'www.artielangedeathwatch.com was started to predict when Lange would die if he continues this lifestyle. Before discontinuing updates, the site projected that he would die at age 53[7]. The site resulted in Artie getting turned down for special life insurance, when the company came across it.[8]

Since quitting heroin, Lange has gained well over 100 lb (45 kg); on March 3, 2008, it was determined on The Howard Stern Show that he had reached 295 lb (134 kg).

Also in September 2007, Lange gave details of his experiences with sleep apnea. Lange claims that he has awoken in the middle of the night to use the bathroom and has fallen asleep while sitting on the toilet.

Artie was tested by Jon Hein for Type-2 diabetes on October 24 while on the Howard Stern show and his blood sugar was at 238. The next day on the show Artie stated his mother took him to see a doctor and was tested for diabetes. The tests came back negative and he stated his blood pressure was normal. The doctor, however, was very concerned with the speed that Lange has gained so much weight and suggested he go on a diet to save his heart. Since this incident, Artie has begun a moderate diet. Staff members have already commented that he looks "less bloated."

On November 1, 2007, Lange revealed on-air that he had taken a tablet of Subutex and was feeling slightly high. Howard insisted it was because of his new diet. Less than an hour after feeling the effects of Subutex, Lange threw two objects, one of which being a CD case, in a fit of rage at cast member Sal the Stockbroker; the two were not on speaking terms after a heated argument that they had the day before along with Richard Christy. Artie became frustrated once Sal and Richard attempted to amend the situation with an apology he found to be "phony." Artie would soon afterwards apologize to Sal, admitting that he overreacted and "crossed a line [he] never thought [he] would" and would make up with Sal and Richard one week later on November 8.

A picture on November 7, 2007 was revealed on air from the previous day when Artie was photographed holding a McDonald's bag and drink. Artie had called in sick the next day -- blaming his "diet" for his illness -- and the cast teased him anyway.

On November 14, 2007, Lange added an additional revelation that in his early 20s, he contracted chlamydia, a sexually transmitted disease. He said that it was likely from receiving oral sex from a prostitute at a bachelor party. His doctor felt it was possible that the prostitute reused a condom from another man who was infected with the STD. Lange described having to receive a shot to fight the infection.

On August 6, 2008 , Lange checked himself into an intensive outpatient rehab program, after missing the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget.[9] On the August 11th airing of the show Artie admitted to having been back on heroin for the past 7 weeks. He stated that he had gotten drunk playing pool and was offered the heroin by someone at the pool-hall. He has started therapy on a daily basis to combat his recent relapse with a therapist recommended to him by a chance phone call from Richard Lewis, who he says inspired him to try stand-up comedy. As of the 11th, he stated that he was 8 days sober. Lange currently resides in New Jersey.

[edit] Present

In May 2008, Lange filmed a headlining set for an episode of HBO's Down and Dirty with Jim Norton. The four-part special features young comedians as well as several established headliners, including Patrice Oneal, Andrew 'Dice' Clay, Bill Burr, Jim Florentine, Sean Rouse, Andy Andrist, and Ari Shaffir.

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