Monday, January 15, 2007
Won't a talk show deal finally kill Artie Lange?
There's been talk this past week that Howard Stern's (remember him?) slovenly satellite radio sidekick Artie Lange has signed "a major deal with Fox Television" to star in his own late-night talk show (possibly to replace TalkShow with Spike Feresten. The latest conjecture is whether Lange will leave his spot on the Sirius pay-show or be held to the final four years of his contract.
But the more obvious question is why anyone would sign the self-destructive Artie-- the comedian voted most likely to wind up as the next Chris Farley-- for such a strenuous task in his condition. Don't they read the Artie Lange Death Watch web sites?
If the Fox execs don't watch the web (or CSI: Miami, they could ask for a tape of Artie's recent appearance on The Late Show with David Letterman (or Late Night with Conan O'Brien). Promoting his sorry Beer League DVD, the comic appeared disheveled and morbidly obese, about twice the size as when he appeared last summer to promote the theatrical release. Artie has said he gained the weight after quitting heroin (he's shown in his heroin days at right).
And just this past summer, as we chronicled his slide to demise, he told the LA Times: "I am a guy who has struggled with every kind of addiction. I love gambling, and it has gotten me into trouble before. I love drugs and booze. The drugs finally had to go, but the booze is still very much in play. And you know I love broads. I am definitely not someone who is embarrassed to get a hooker or two."
Poor Artie. Despite the acclaim for his comedy, the sad comic is best known for his excess, his inconsistency and absences on the Stern show from the time it was a free, influential radio program, and his often-inebriated concert performances. His last contract with Fox Television, as an original cast member on MADtv, ended when drug and alcohol abuse led to his firing.
An Artie Lange talk show promises to be Fox's biggest late night train wreck since Chevy Chase--though definitely more entertaining. Maybe they should consider a reality show.