Artie Lange Melts Down, and We Wait... and Wait

It was radio gold, a cliffhanger worthy of the best B-movie serial. Comedian Artie Lange, who visits Miami regularly (read here about my visit to his suite last year at the Setai)

walked off the Howard Stern Show in a major huff Thursday morning after nearly assaulting his assistant on the air. The best, or worst, part – depending on whether you’re a Sirius subscriber or a Sirius exec – is that there is no Stern show on Fridays, and the whole gang is on vacation next week.

Artie’s been on a collision course for months (see “Not Dead Yet”), if not years, as every Stern listener knows. His weight has ballooned past 300 pounds, and when he’s not cramming his mouth with junk food and Hawaiian Punch, he’s falling asleep. On Wednesday’s show, he napped for well over an hour.

Thursday’s tiff erupted over another in a series of foibles by Teddy Knuetter, Artie’s young, beleaguered assistant. (This one had something to do with Teddy mishandling Lange’s passport, and turned into a money dispute.) Usually it’s all in good fun. Not today.

As he has done more and more frequently, Artie launched into a homophobic tirade. He threw a cup at Teddy, and then apparently lunged at him before being restrained by several cast members, including executive producer Gary Dell’Abate.

Lange said that, had he reached him, Teddy would be “dead” and the rotund comedian would be in jail. A dumbfounded Stern said he couldn’t condone Lange's actions, and Artie replied that he couldn’t gaurantee it wouldn’t happen again. Howard said he couldn’t have that.

“Well, I resign,” Artie said.

Before he walked out, Lange said, “I'm not a good person ... I gotta leave ... I love you, Howard.”

“I love you too,” said Stern, audibly shaken.

“What the F just happened?” said Stern’s sidekick, Robin Quivers. It may be a while before we know. –Frank Houston

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Frank Houston