By Johnny Firecloud
|For possibly the first time ever, Howard Stern was left speechless after a brawl erupted inside his Sirius Satellite studio Thursday, which ended with on-air personality Artie Lange quitting the show.|
Lange, longtime 6am sidekick to Stern and epitome of hateful fat slobs with drug problems nationwide, stormed off Stern's show on Thursday after a dispute with his assistant, Teddy.
The conflict began off the air, in the hallway adjacent to Stern's studio. Artie was overheard screaming at Teddy over a minor issue involving making a copy of Artie's passport, and Stern later brought it up on the air. Teddy eventually came in to defend himself, and Artie snapped. "He's a loser," yelled Lange. "He's the most unorganized assistant. I want to fire him, but he has no money. I hope he dies of AIDS." The confrontation escalated to the point of violence before Stern staffers intervened.
"I'm flabbergasted ... Artie is clearly out of control with this," Stern said on the air after the ordeal. "That was crazy what I just saw. I don't understand it. I don't approve of it and I don't know what I'm going to do about it."
Teddy, unfortunately, isn't the first Stern show staffer on the receiving end of Lange's outbursts. Last November, Artie hurled a CD case and threatened Stern cronie Sal "The Stockbroker" Governale for his criticism of Lange's abysmal film "Beer League." He later promised Stern that he would control his temper, a promise he refused to repeat Thursday. When Stern told Lange he needed a guarantee that he would never act out violently in the studio again, Artie replied, "I can't guarantee that won't happen again."
"Then you can't be here anymore.," Stern said, without a hint of his normal sardonic tone. Lange then offered his resignation, which Stern accepted.
Lange's accelerating streak of self-destruction for the past year or so has been no secret to anyone familiar with the show. In addition to increasingly erratic on-air behavior, he's packed a considerable number of pounds onto an already hefty physique, and his well-publicized drug habit seems to have only spiraled further downward.
Interestingly, both Artie and Teddy are in Amsterdam this week as planned, with an assortment of other Stern show characters. This is a good sign for Artie fans, who have been clogging countless message boards with frantic speculation about whether he will return to the show when Stern and crew return from vacation on Monday. After all, Lange has flirted with quitting his Sirius position before; In 2007 he announced that he planned to leave the show for a 6-month sabbatical to "dry out," only to report back to work with the rest of the Stern crew after their week-long summer break.
For now, fans will have to wait and see if the homophobic trainwreck of a former longshoreman will return.
At Stern's request, the entire confrontation will be edited out of future repeat broadcasts of Thursday's show.