Celebrating My 25th Anniversary With @HowardStern

I was 16 when I first heard those dulcet tones, talking about sex and farting and celebrities and how much better Howard Stern was than all the Morning Zoo DJs he was going to send to the unemployment office.

And for the last three months of my junior year of high school, Howard Stern helped me survive excruciating pain, probable depression and definite loneliness.

If you’ve never woken up in agony, I don’t recommend it. I was in the throes of what would be misdiagnosed several times, but the upshot is that I had severe pain in my legs — it felt like they were in an ever-tightening vise if I sat up with them hanging over the side of the bed or a chair.

So I’d wake up, take my pre-laid-out medication with warm water that had sat by my bed all night, and turn on the neurotic New York nuttiness that was the Howard Stern Show.

And with his cadre of kooky characters — Boy Gary with his teeth, Frightening Fred Norris, Jackie The Jokeman, Stuttering John, and the “voice of reason” Robin Quivers — they took my mind off of my problems and pain.

The legend.

The legend.









Twenty-five years later, there he was again. Driving to work, in desperate need of a laugh, I flipped on Howard 100 (thanks SiriusXM).

The next 15 minutes of my commute were an escape.

—  Howard was talking about something as ordinary as his cat Yoda.

—  And then Mariann from Brooklyn called in, with her “nails on your spinal cord” voice.

—  And then the news, intro’d with a song parody of Jay Z’sEmpire State of Mind” that sang the praises of Robin’s breasts.

—  And then somehow, the subject turned to a Wack Packer-type named “Tabboo” from the mid-’90s, who was memorable for his/her song?/rap? called “It’s Natural” in a voice that haunts my dreams.

—  And then the always-reliable Fred cueing up the song right away.

—  And then Robin steers back to the news, and Howard riffing on it.

(I always told people who said they didn’t like Howard to listen during the news — that they’d see him for what he is — an  insightful, observational comic, a brilliant interviewer and basically a fucking genius.)

—  And then he did a live read of an ad with the same voice I remember, lying in my teenage bedroom with the Kathy Ireland Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar posters. The voice that started my day with celebrities, boobs, ratings battles, fart sounds and laughs — and helped me to survive all that I was going through — back in 1986, and today in 2014.


Thanks @HowardStern. You’ll probably never read this, and I know there are thousands of stories just like mine.

Just keep doing what you do as long as you can.

And Baba Booey to you all.

If It’s Rarely “Sunny” in Philadelphia (In My Opinion), Why Do I Love “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia?”

I was born and raised in Philadelphia. “The Great Northeast,” actually…which is not “Center City” or even all that close to downtown. But our mailing address was Philly, so we were official.

And I didn’t realize until we moved to Texas in 2006 how I basically never really dug where I was from. Yes, I’m still a Philly sports fan — despite the negative connotations. And I love me some Tastykakes and soft pretzels. (Thankfully, Rita’s Water Ice has made it to Texas.)

I don’t know if it’s my love for the open spaces, warmer climate, better cost of living and Southern hospitality (yes, it exists) of the Lone Star State or my distaste for the crowded streets and frozen slushy winters of the Illadelph. Whatever the case, I’m happy where we are now.

So why do I love “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia?” Possible reasons:

a) It’s funny.

b) I’ve described it as “Seinfeld with Philly jerks who own a dive bar.” And I love Seinfeld.

c) Danny DeVito’s finest and most absurd work.

d) Occasional shots and mentions of Philly places that are somewhat nostalgic/sentimental.

Did I know people like Mac, Dennis, Charlie, Sweet Dee and Frank? Not really.

Did I hang in dive bars? Rarely.

Bottom line: It’s a funny show, and it’s a weird love/hate letter to my hometown.

Oh well, too much unnecessary examination. Just know that I recommend the show. It’s an acquired taste for some, given its mostly unlikable cast of characters.  But so was the world of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer.

My blogapology to misdirected readers.

Thanks to WordPress’s really cool technology, I can see that a bunch of readers were referred here from another blog (at Reason.com) – which had hyperlinked the terms “cache out the yin-yang” to my little ramblins’.

However, I really didn’t get into discussing that Seinfeldian quote – which is one of my favorites.

Courtesy of my very good friends at Seinfeldscripts.com, here’s the scene:


[Blogger’s Note: George has recommended “Soda” as a baby name to Susan’s cousin, but the cousin didn’t like the idea. He told Susan privately that he had already chosen “Seven” as the name for their first child, boy or girl. Susan did not like this idea, despite the name being a tribute to New York Yankees great Mickey Mantle. And we fade up…


George and Susan are having dinner.

GEORGE: Aw c’mon. It’s a fantastic name. It’s a real original, nobody else is gonna have it and I absolutely love it.

SUSAN: Well, I dunno how original it’s gonna be any more.

GEORGE: Why not?

SUSAN: Well I was telling Carrie about our argument, and when I told them the name, they just loved it.

GEORGE: So, what’re you saying?

SUSAN: They’re gonna name their baby Seven.

GEORGE: (disbelief) What?! They’re stealing the name?! That’s my name, I made it up!

SUSAN: I can’t believe that they’re using it.

GEORGE: (anger) Well now it’s not gonna be original! It’s gonna lose all its cache!

SUSAN: I dunno how much cache it had to begin with.

GEORGE: (rage) Oh, it’s got cache, baby! It’s got cache up the yin-yang!!!


Speaking of Seinfeld…

The Seinfeld Campus Tour Heads to The Big Apple:
The Seinfeld Campus Tour, a 26-city, 10,000 mile portable Seinfeld experience from Sony Pictures Television, is heading to Union Square Park in New York City between 7 a.m. and 4 p.m. this Thursday, Sept. 4. The 60-foot, Seinfeld-branded bus will help integrate the show into the digital, multi-tasking lifestyle of college students and members of the 70-million-plus millennial demographic. For more information, click on www.seinfeld.com.

(Courtesy: The Programming Insider e-newsletter from Mediaweek)

RIP, George Carlin

Another comedy great is gone. As a very lame tribute, I would like to note something that would hopefully annoy Mr. Carlin enough to rant…

Our local paper published an online “article” from The Associated Press, which was basically just quotes of some of Mr. Carlin’s best and funniest observations.

And below the “article,” the AP had their legal mumbo-jumbo, copied here verbatim:

“© 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Learn more about our Privacy Policy.”

So it’s OK for the AP to redistribute Mr. Carlin’s material – without, by the way, citing where they got it – but we can’t copy and paste it?

You know what, at least the Internet is awesome and we can go find, as Jon Stewart said last night, HOURS of Mr. Carlin’s video.

RIP Harvey Korman & Sydney Pollack

First blog post in a while, and it’s a downer.

The great Harvey Korman has passed away.

You may remember him from Mel Brooks’ classics like Blazing Saddles (as Hedley Lamarr) and History of the World, Part 1 (as Count DeMoney), or from The Carol Burnett Show.


And it was a few days ago that director/actor Sydney Pollack left us.  I’ll remember him best as Dustin Hoffman’s exasperated agent in Tootsie (which he also directed), but he was probably more successful as a director (The Way We Were, Out of Africa, The Firm).


Wherever they are now, it’s a much funnier and more interesting place with those guys there.

Review: Reno 911!

An incredibly underrated, very very funny Comedy Central show.

For the uninitiated, it’s basically a fictional “Cops,” but with character actors/comedians playing both cops and criminals.

Most of the cast members of “The State”–MTV’s greatest sketch comedy show ever–are involved as actors, writers or producers.

Ridiculously absurd (or absurdly ridiculous) crimes are committed, the cops show up and usually make things worse, etc.

There are plenty of running gags, like Deputy Junior (that’s his last name) constantly getting rendered unconscious by car doors opening into his head.

A sample plotline from the most recent season’s first episode: Crazy Deputy Weigel, who had impregnated herself with a sample “donated” by one of the other deputies, was trying to sell her baby.

This is good stuff.  Catch it on Comedy Central or in syndication.

Re-View: The inspiring “Newsradio”

Not the AM format where you get your news, sports, traffic and weather.

The awesome, underrated mid-to-late 1990s sitcom with the incredible ensemble cast and great writing.  That happened to be about an AM radio station from which New Yorkers got their news, sports, traffic and weather.

Why review a show that hasn’t run a new episode in about a decade?  Because I recently got reacquainted with the show, being re-run at like 1:00 a.m.  (When you don’t have to be in work early, late-night TV is a rare treat.)  Anyway, I now DVR it.

As I re-viewed the first few episodes, I was reminded of the show’s greatness.  Dave Foley’s exasperation.  Maura Tierney’s overachieving.  Andy Dick’s, well, Dick-ness.  Beth, the redheaded spitfire whose real name always escapes me.  And of course, the late great Phil Hartman, as the pompous Bill McNeal.

Watching the show made me long for the days when quality sitcoms roamed the Earth like packs of wild velociraptors, clawing their way through our funny bones.

Maybe I’ll use some of this free time to try my hand at a sitcom script again.  I do have a pretty interesting idea, one that I’m kind of excited to explore.

Stay tuned for updates.