eight am, and the peachy seren-ity of sleep beneath a foot of thick blankets is slashed apart by the suddenly activated clock radio. Reaching out to my new best friend, the snooze button -- as if another nine minutes will make all right with the world -- I'm determined to float just a little longer.Before I can wriggle my arm out from under my cat Dave, I catch a snippet of an exchange between Howard Stern and The Woman Who Brought Down Frank Gifford.
As Stern sidekick Fred Norris fires off sound effects -- a recording of Stern's mother hollering "No," then a liquid squish standing in for errant sperm -- Stern bluntly asks if Frank was any good in the sack.
Oh, dear. I know my sleeping time is over for another day. I'll be lucky to make it to work on time, especially if there's a good bit happening as I attempt to leave my car.
I admit I'm a bit obsessed. I think the guy is a comic genius and a shrewd cultural commentator. Despite his abiding affection for the bizarre, Stern evens the playing field. You might say he's an equal opportunity denigrator.
Along with literally millions of others, I was thrilled when the self-appointed King Of All Media recently renewed his contract for another five years. Five more years of snortingly funny, fearless radio. Five more years of inimitable characters: Beetlejuice, Stuttering John, Jackie the Jokeman, Bababooey, Crackhead Bob, Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf and, of course, the lesbians. With Stern, there are always lots and lots of lesbians.
Without exception, those who bitch loudest against the self-deprecating raconteur are those who've heard him the least. You can always tell, because they pluck isolated statements out of the broader context of the show to suggest Stern is racist, weightist, ageist, misogynist.
Racist? I kind of doubt a smart cookie like black co-host Robin Quivers would linger in the presence of a true hate-monger. Like us, she knows Stern's shtick is satire, and no one takes it harder on the chin -- make that the penis -- than Stern himself.
As for claims of misogyny, it's worth noting that the father of three is vehemently pro-choice. During the U.S. federal election, he urged his flock to swing Democrat because the president appoints the Supreme Court and the Supreme Court can overturn or uphold abortion legislation.
Similarly, when Stern gives Klan members air time, he allows them to reveal exactly what they are -- inarticulate, befuddled morons incapable of forming coherent thoughts about breakfast cereal much less weighty issues of race relations.
Given most media's cowering, non-confrontational approach to celebrities, it's more than just refreshing to hear Stern ask David Duchovny how many dates he had with his wife before she gave him anal. It's crucial. Stern brings a balance to celebrity reportage. Somebody had to point up how dreary these Hollywood windbags are when they're out sliming the promotional circuit. And honestly, aren't Stern's cheeky questions exactly the ones we'd most like to ask? David Lee Roth droning on about his new solo record or dishing on Eddie Van Halen's fidelity? You decide.
Granted, if the advertisements aired locally on his show are any indication, the majority of Stern listeners are bad drivers with homes prone to break-ins who are in need of engagement rings despite losing their hair. They also frequently require cash advances of up to $1,000 against their next paycheque.
Though I have all my hair and err on the side of caution behind the wheel, I rejoice in belonging to a club where the most powerful entertainers in the world are open to healthy, hilarious ridicule when they do stupid things, just like the rest of us. email@example.com