Artie Lange

Artie Lange
Artie Lange

Lange in September 2006
Birth name Arthur Steven Lange, Jr.
Born October 11, 1967 (1967-10-11) (age 44)[1]
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, television, film, radio
Nationality American
Years active 1987–present[2][3]
Genres Observational humor, improvisational comedy, sketch comedy, black comedy
Subject(s) Personal life, self-deprecation, human sexuality, pop culture, Italian American culture, professional sports, recreational drug use, drinking culture
Influences Howard Stern, John Belushi, Richard Pryor,[4] George Carlin, Woody Allen, Bill Murray, Jackie Gleason, Peter Sellers, David Letterman, Richard Lewis[5]

Arthur Steven "Artie" Lange, Jr. (born October 11, 1967) is an American actor, comedian and radio personality best known for his tenures with the The Howard Stern Show and the comedy sketch series MADtv.

Lange performed his first stand-up comedy routine at 19 years of age. He took up work as a longshoreman to help support his family, following the death of his quadriplegic father. In 1995, Lange starred in the first season of MADtv before leaving halfway through the second due to cocaine abuse and his subsequent arrest. After a period of rehabilitation, Lange featured in Dirty Work with Norm MacDonald, who brought Lange into the second season of his sitcom, The Norm Show. In 2001, Lange replaced Jackie Martling on The Howard Stern Show and stayed until late 2009, before a suicide attempt in early 2010 led to an eight-month stay in a psychiatric ward. He returned to the airwaves with Nick DiPaolo in July 2011, and the two plan to start a show on Fox Sports Radio within the year.

Lange has released recordings of comedy performances – It's the Whiskey Talkin' (2004) and Jack and Coke (2009). He co-wrote, produced and starred in his film Artie Lange's Beer League in 2006, and published his book Too Fat to Fish in 2008, which entered The New York Times Best Seller list at number one.


Early life and education

Lange was born on October 11, 1967 in Livingston Township, New Jersey, United States and was raised in Union Township. His mother Judy (née Caprio) was a housewife while his father, Arthur Sr., was a general contractor. His sister Stacy is a fashion designer.[citation needed] Two weeks after Lange's birth, his father went on trial for counterfeiting money but was spared jail time out of the court's sympathy for his young son.[1] In 2003, after some of the staff on The Howard Stern Show submitted a sample of their DNA for testing, it was revealed that Lange was approximately 25 per cent American Indian.[6]

Lange played baseball during his time at Union High School, where he became an all-county third baseman.[7] He spent his free time working with his father, who in October 1985, fell from a ladder and broke his back, becoming quadriplegic.[8][9] Money soon became an issue within his family, and Lange's mother took a secretary job for income. "We took out a second mortgage. Medicaid paid for a nurse eight hours a day. When my mother got back from being a secretary all day, she had to take care of him. Every night, she set her alarm clock to turn him so he wouldn't get bedsores."[8] The family contacted celebrities asking them to donate items for auction, and Howard Stern was the only one to respond, who sent an autographed K-Rock jacket in 1987, joking on the air "does this guy think that if he puts the jacket on he's going to walk again?" which Lange and his father found funny.[8] His father died from an infection on February 1, 1990, four-and-a-half years after the accident.[1][10]

In August 1985, Lange was arrested for attempted bank robbery. He claimed he was trying to flirt with the teller by passing her a note that said he was armed and demanded $50,000. The teller took it seriously, triggering a silent alarm. He was charged with disorderly conduct and entered community service in March 1986.[11] As part of his probation, Lange attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting from March to June 1987 as well as Seton Hall University for a short time before leaving. On June 12, 1987, at 19 years of age, Lange performed his first stand-up comedy routine at The Improv in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan. "I bombed for five minutes. Everyone thinks that they can do better. I was unprepared, I mumbled, and I forgot stuff. But I'm proud that I did it."[3] In February 1991, Lange took up work as a longshoreman at Port Newark to help support his family.[12][13]


Early comedy career and MADtv (1992–1997)

In 1992, Lange quit his job at Port Newark to focus on his comedy career. While searching for such work, his regular form of employment was driving a taxi in New York City.[14] The flexibility of the job allowed him to perform 20-minute sets at the Comic Strip and resume work afterwards.[15] Within the year Lange landed a role in a dinner theater play, touring restaurants and catering halls in New Jersey.[16] He then co-formed an improv troupe called Live on Tape, which led to the group performing sell-out shows at Caroline's on Broadway in Manhattan.[17] Lange was taken by William Morris Agency, where he first met Peter Principato, his manager of ten years.[17]

In May 1995, Lange flew to Los Angeles to shoot the television pilot for MADtv, a sketch comedy show that was picked up by the Fox network.[18] He landed a role as one of the eight original cast members from 8,000 comics who were screened, and moved to the West Coast in July.[19] Lange attributed his hiring to the fact that he fit the John Belushi "mold" that was popular in sketch comedy.[20] His most popular recurring character on the show was "That's My White Mama".[21] Lange returned for the filming of the second season of MADtv in August 1996,[22] but his time with the show came to an end when fellow cast and crew members attempted to have an intervention for him after a cocaine binge. Lange fled the studio, running through streets with his co-workers chasing after him. It ended in a supermarket, where he was arrested and sentenced to time served and probation.[21]

In March 1997 the producers persuaded Lange to enter rehabilitation, and he checked into Honesty House, a rehab center in Stirling, New Jersey, for two months.[23] His contract was not renewed for the third season, but Lange would make cameo appearances during the fifth and tenth seasons, including the show's final episode on May 16, 2009.[24] That night he also appeared on Saturday Night Live, MADtv's rival show, in a non-speaking role.

Dirty Work and The Norm Show (1998–2001)

After Lange served a short jail term and 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 the film was unsuccessful during it's theatrical run, Lange credits MacDonald and director Bob Saget with rejuvenating his comedy career, leading to several more film appearances and two lucrative television development deals.[25] He then joined the cast of MacDonald's sitcom The Norm Show during its second season, staying 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 with MacDonald and Laurie Metcalf; however, he disliked the show itself, referring to the material as "ridiculously lame, easy jokes."[26]

The Howard Stern Show (2001–2009)

Replacing Jackie Martling and It's the Whiskey Talkin' (2001–2004)

Lange was introduced to The Howard Stern Show by his father in 1982.[8] Following the departure of Jackie Martling, the show's head writer for 15 years, in March 2001,[citation needed] Stern announced a "Win Jackie's Money" contest, in which various comedians would audition for Martling's seat by sitting in during shows. Those who sat in included Craig Gass, Doug Stanhope, Richard Jeni, Jim Florentine and Ron Zimmerman.[27] "There were a lot of great funny guys - guys that were funnier than me...I remember saying to my manager, 'I am not the most talented guy in this group, but I guarantee that I'm the biggest fan of the show."[3] After the cancellation of The Norm Show in April, Lange sat in for a number of shows between May and October before beginning full time on October 26, 2001.[28] Since Lange joined the show, Stern has often teased him for his eating habits, gambling, drinking, drug use, and sleeping at work. Stern also makes a point to praise Lange's comedic talents. Lange had grown up listening to the show and was a fan to the point of being able to recall obscure details from years before on a regular basis.

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 while he continually gorges himself on pizza, pancakes, and other fattening foods and goes on drunken binges.

In May 2004, while The Howard Stern Show aired at the Las Vegas Hard Rock Hotel and Casino, local television station KLAS-TV reported Lange was found dead in his hotel room. The story turned out to be a hoax.[29]

Beer League and substance abuse (2005–2008)

In early June 2005, Lange missed four days of shows, prompting concerns of a possible relapse into substance abuse.[citation needed] The situation climaxed in Lange's behaving strangely and belligerently on the air.[30] On July 27, he infamously sneered at Stern and the staff, "Artie's gotta do what Artie's gotta do!"[citation needed] Lange then missed the next two days, writing off his absence as due to stress from doing the radio show and filming his film Artie Lange's Beer League.[citation needed] The truth for his absence was revealed in a spontaneous revelation on September 21, 2006, in which Lange acknowledged that he had regularly snorted heroin.[citation needed] He discussed past episodes of heroin use beginning when he was a standup comedian and continuing until Beer League was set to begin shooting.[30] He then detailed his painful withdrawal from the drug, which included side effects of aching, cold sweats, shaking, and vomiting. Lange recalled taking his telephone off the hook to avoid speaking to his mother, who ultimately intervened to help him recover.[citation needed] Lange was threatened with legal action by producers of Beer League if he failed to show up for the first day of shooting, which led him to secure a home visit from a doctor, who prescribed Subutex to alleviate his dependency.[30]

In the days leading up to Stern's departure from terrestrial radio in December 2005, Lange revealed that he and show producer Gary Dell'Abate were approached by Infinity Broadcasting about replacing Stern with a show of their own. He claimed he was offered roughly $5 million to defect, but he and Dell'Abate claimed never to have given the offer much thought.

On April 10, 2008, Lange walked off the show after an on-air argument and subsequent outburst at his personal assistant, Teddy (during which he mentioned that Teddy embarrassed him by referring to Bloomingdale's as "Bloomie's"), resulting in a physical altercation.[31] 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.

On April 21, 2008, Lange returned to the Howard Stern Show following a scheduled one-week vacation hiatus for the cast members. He apologized and took full responsibility for his behavior. It was revealed that Sirius was allowing him to continue, but that another infraction would end his employment. Additionally, Lange explained that despite their on-air confrontation, he and Teddy will maintain their working relationship.

Too Fat to Fish, USO tour and Jack and Coke (2008–2009)

In June 2008 Lange embarked on a comedy tour he named "Operation Mirth" with the United Service Organizations to entertain the U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. He was inspired to travel after viewing the documentary film Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie which was about comedian Jeffrey Ross' comedy tour in Iraq. As headliner, Lange picked fellow comedians Jim Florentine, Nick DiPaolo, and Dave Attell to join him, including producer of The Howard Stern Show Gary Dell'Abate, who served as master of ceremonies on the tour.[3]

On November 11, 2008 Lange released his first book, Too Fat to Fish. The book is a collection of narrative episodes from Lange's life, from his childhood to his USO trip. The foreword is written by Howard Stern.[32] The book debuted at number one on the New York Times bestseller list under hardcover nonfiction.[33] The softcover edition was released in June 2009 with a change to the back cover from the hardcover edition and includes a bonus chapter.

On November 17, 2009, Lange released his first comedy CD, Jack and Coke, via Shout! Factory. The 80-minute set was recorded live in New York City.

Return to radio (2011–present)

On July 6, 2011, Lange returned to radio for the first time since December 2009, guest hosting in place of Tony Bruno on Fox Sports Radio with comedian Nick DiPaolo. A caller asked Lange about returning to The Howard Stern Show, to which he replied: "That would be the greatest thing ever, but you know listen, I was on the greatest show of all-time for about nine years and I put them in a very awkward situation to say the least. So what am I gonna do? But I love them all and they were great to me."[34] On July 21, Lange announced to comedian Joe Matarese on his podcast of the plans to have him and DiPaolo to host a "sports entertainment comedy show" on Fox Sports Radio in. "It looks like it's a definite. They made an offer," said Lange. "Nothing's been signed yet, but we're gonna do it."[35] On October 3, 2011, The Nick and Artie Show debuted on DirecTV.

Personal life

Though raised as a Catholic, Lange has expressed doubts about the existence of God but is "afraid" to identify himself as an atheist in the event that he is wrong.[citation needed]

In 2002, Lange began to date his longtime girlfriend Dana Sironi. He announced in 2006 their decision to break up, citing his heroin abuse as the primary reason. However, Lange announced on an early November 2006 Stern Show that they 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. The couple have since parted ways, though Sironi accompanied Lange to an appearance on Late Show with David Letterman in March 2009.[citation needed]

His favorite book is A Confederacy of Dunces.[citation needed] He considers George Carlin to be the all-time greatest comedian and said, "It's easy to follow the funniest guy ever" when he appeared after Carlin as a guest during his first talk show appearance, on The Late Late Show with Craig Kilborn.[citation needed] He has been critical of the "unbelievably positive press" given to comedians such as Jon Stewart and Ricky Gervais, feeling that their acclaim approaches hyperbole; he acknowledges their talents, however.[citation needed]

He has been asked to appear on Celebrity Fit Club for each of the show's four seasons but has declined every time because of his commitment to Stern's show.

Political views

Politically, he has said he does not consider himself to be a "liberal," though he is pro-choice, a supporter of gay rights, and a supporter of unions owing to his former career as a longshoreman.[citation needed] He has called President George W. Bush a "dolt" and supported John Kerry in 2004 and Barack Obama in 2008.[citation needed] 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. Crumbs Bakery currently offers an "Artie Lange" vanilla and chocolate cupcake, with partial proceeds going toward the Lifebeat HIV/AIDS charity.[36]

Drug and alcohol problems

On August 6, 2008, Lange claimed to have begun an intensive outpatient rehab program after missing the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget.[37] On the August 11 airing of the show, Lange admitted to having been back on heroin for the previous seven weeks. He stated that he had gotten drunk playing pool and was offered the heroin by someone at the pool hall.[38] Comedian Richard Lewis recommended a therapist to Lange.

On the December 8, 2008 show, Lange admitted that he lied about intensive outpatient rehab and had only gone to the therapist twice, not even making it through the end of the second session.

On the June 17, 2009, episode of The Adam Carolla Podcast, Lange revealed that he had been sober for two and a half months, had lost 45 pounds, and hoped to lose 45 more.[39] On the August 10, 2009 broadcast of The Howard Stern Show, Stern noticed Lange's weight loss. Lange then confirmed that his current weight was 230 lb. and that he wished to continue in his endeavor to lose more weight.[citation needed]

2010 suicide attempt

On January 2, 2010, Lange attempted suicide by repeatedly stabbing himself in the abdomen with a 13-inch kitchen knife.[40] He was found on the floor of his home by his mother and taken to Jersey City Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. Lange was released the following week.[41] Sirius stated that Lange would be welcomed back onto The Howard Stern Show following his recovery.[42]

Lange returned to the comedy stage for the first time on September 27, eight months after his suicide attempt, performing two nights at Comedy Cellar in New York. He mentioned being in a psychiatric ward for 8 months since the incident.[2]


Year Title Role Other notes
2010 Serial Buddies Golden Graham
2009 Artie Lange: Jack and Coke Himself Stand-up comedy DVD
2007 Entourage Scott Segil Ad-libbed Leslie Bibb's ass bite
2006 Rescue Me Mike – Lou's cousin
Artie Lange's Beer League Artie DeVanzo
Fox Sports' 2006 World Series coverage Himself TV – promos alongside Jerry Stiller
Supertwink The Plumber Howard Stern on Demand film
2005 Waltzing Anna Jacob Kline
2004 Game Over Turbo Voice
Artie Lange: It's the Whiskey Talkin' Himself Stand-up comedy DVD
A Piece of My Heart Lenny Steinberg
2003 Elf Fake Santa
Mail Order Bride Tommy Jackie Martling also stars but they do not appear together
Old School Booker
2002 Boat Trip Brian Refused to kiss co-star Will Ferrell
2001 Gameday Artie Short, featured as extra on It's the Whiskey Talkin'
Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth Swim Coach Hasselhoff
1999 The Norm Show Artie Henderson Once smoked pot with Peter Boyle behind The West Wing set on the Warner Bros. studios lot
The Bachelor Marco
Mystery Men Big Red
Lost & Found Wally
The 4th Floor Jerry
Puppet Alexie
1998 Dirty Work Sam McKenna
1996 Jerry Maguire Sports radio host Deleted scene; Tom Cruise yelled at him[21]
1995 MADtv various

Roles lost

Lange auditioned for the role of Milton in Mike Judge's film Office Space, and again for the role of Judge Hank "The Hangman" BMW in Mike Judge's film Idiocracy, he lost both roles to Stephen Root.[citation needed] Lange auditioned for Paul Giamatti's role in Man on the Moon. He also auditioned for the role of Nick Volpe (Wass Stevens was ultimately cast) in the 2008 film The Wrestler. During a December 18, 2008 call to The Howard Stern Show, director Darren Aronofsky, a stand-up comedy fan, stated he was impressed by Lange's acting but felt his celebrity would be distracting to the audience; Stern, who said it was his favorite movie of the year, agreed with this assessment and Lange joked it was the most flattering reason he'd ever been turned down for a role.


  1. ^ a b c Lange, pp. 1–5.
  2. ^ a b "Artie Lange thrills audience again". New York Post. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  3. ^ a b c d Diana, Schwaeble (2008-08-03). "The other side of laughter, Part II". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  4. ^ Kirschling, Gregory (2008-11-07). "Artie Lange: 'F--- It, I'll Write a Book'". Entertainment Weekly.,,20239025_3,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  5. ^ Kirschling, Gregory (2008-11-07). "Artie Lange: 'F--- It, I'll Write a Book'".,,20239025_3,00.html. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  6. ^ The Howard Stern Show broadcast for August 21, 2003. WXRK-FM New York City. Infinity Broadcasting.
  7. ^ Steinberg, David (2005-04-11). "THECHAT". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  8. ^ a b c d Schwaeble, Diana (2008-07-31). "The other side of laughter". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  9. ^ Lange, p. 36.
  10. ^ "Artie Lange Tells All in 'Too Fat to Fish'". Terry Gross. Fresh Air. NPR. 2008-11-11.
  11. ^ Lange, pp. 50–59.
  12. ^ Lange, p. 112.
  13. ^ Lange, p. 120.
  14. ^ Lange, p. 123.
  15. ^ Lange, p. 125.
  16. ^ Lange, pp. 117.
  17. ^ a b Lange, pp. 117–118.
  18. ^ Lange, p. 138.
  19. ^ Lange, p. 137.
  20. ^ "Artie Lange: Biography". Comedy Central. 
  21. ^ a b c Lange; Bozza, "MAD Man Walking"
  22. ^ Lange, p. 171.
  23. ^ Lange, pp. 214–215.
  24. ^ "Fox Primetime Schedule". Fox Flash. 
  25. ^ Lange; Bozza, "Baby Gorilla in the Mist"
  26. ^ Biography for Artie Lange,
  27. ^ Kaplan, Don (2001-10-08). "Stern Replaces Jokeman Jackie". New York Post. Archived from the original on 2001-10-09. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  28. ^ The Howard Stern Show broadcast for October 26, 2001. WXRK-FM New York City. Infinity Broadcasting.
  29. ^ Silverman, Stephen M. (2004-05-12). "New Howard hoax: Artie Lange not dead". People.,,635761,00.html. 
  30. ^ a b c Lange; Bozza, "Heroin: It's Better for Your Liver!"
  31. ^ [1]
  32. ^ [2][dead link]
  33. ^ Best Sellers. Hardcover Nonfiction, New York Times, November 21, 2008
  34. ^ "Artie Lange says return to Stern show 'would be the greatest thing ever'". The New York Post. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  35. ^ Ford, Rebecca (2011-07-22). "Artie Lange plans to host Fox Sports Radio show". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  36. ^ "NY Mag Crumbs Menu". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  37. ^ Rehab For Stern Sidekick. (2008-08-06). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.
  38. ^ Lange; Bozza, "Greetings from Sunny Kandahar"
  39. ^ [3][dead link]
  40. ^ Everett, Cristina (2010-01-08). "Artie Lange used 13-inch kitchen knife in violent suicide try". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011=07-18. 
  41. ^ Hammerstein, BJ (January 9, 2010). "Artie Lange out of the hospital". Detroit Free Press.[dead link]
  42. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (January 8, 2010). "‘Howard Stern Show’ to Keep Artie Lange." New York Times


External links



Preceded by
Jackie Martling
The Howard Stern Show
The Jackie chair
Succeeded by

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