A lot has been said over the last few days in reference to Artie Lange's appearance on Joe Buck Live. There seems to be a divide of sports purest who believe Joe Buck walks on water and Howard Stern Fans who are of the impression that Artie "killed". Artie had a near identical appearance on "the best damn spots show" a few months back. That appearance did not make headlines because Bill Bellamy celebrated Artie for delivering the content he was sequestered to deliver. So, Joe Buck either didn't do his homework or he promoted an 'edgy' show and got in way over his head. Either way, instead of piling on Artie maybe we should hold Joe Buck accountable.
The media chastised Artie Lange throughout this week as an inappropriate bully filled with vitriol. Instead of joining the criticism, Howard Stern used his self-imposed psychological training to engage Artie in a thought process. The simple questions being posed: what is the root of all this anger?
I paraphrase Artie's response to this sincere question: "...I have anger issues because of what happened to my father...he was my hero and a man who was larger than life...he was my best friend and after a long game of catch my hand hurt because he threw the ball so hard...when he became a quadriplegic, I spent the last four years of his life wiping his nose and he asked me to kill him once a week..."
Does Artie have the right to act out on Joe Buck Live to mask the aforementioned tragedy? He is a performer and has exercised his demons by speaking his mind without a filter. Should Artie Lange put aside his anger, abandon his act and put on a tie to pander to Joe Buck?
Artie Lange has one profound insight that the Ivy League journalists turned talk radio hosts may not comprehend: When the Stern show goes off the air, when he is no longer receiving $50k for a stand up gig, when he is not topping the New York Times best seller list....Artie Lange has to go back home...to New Jersey. The barreled bellied dock laborers with canned beer in paper bags on the stoops of Artie's neighborhood won't remember the time he sung with Paul McCartney, sold out Carnegie Hall or received accolades from Dr. Drew on his best selling book. They will remember the time he went on Joe Buck Live and spoke his mind in genuine terms.
My dad worked his ass off because he never wanted to put himself in a position where he had to take short cuts. He is a man of integrity first. He taught me never to compromise my genuine intent to please anyone else and that the only expectations that matter are my own.
So on Father's Day, before I play catch with my son, I will raise a toast to Arthur Lange Jr. May your first son be a masculine son and may you meet him at short after the Yankees win a World Championship.
Happy Father's Day Artie Lange. My son and I would like to share this one with you!
Authors Note: It breaks my heart to re-read this post. Hang on Artie! On a lighter note, Joe Buck's show was cancelled after 3 shows.