Wise guy Artie Lange is on The Howard Stern Show every day, joking about hard drinking and heavy eating, because in Artie's world, nothing is ever done "light." The 37-year-old sidekick began his career as a Mad TV cast member and soon moved to movies (Dirty Work) and back to TV (ABC's Norm). But it's been with radio icon Howard Stern that Lange has hit his groove, providing his own "average guy" sensibility to the conversational mix. Lange's new DVD It's the Whiskey Talking (out today) documents his expletive-filled live act and proves that, even when the comic is flying solo, he's always got something intriguing to say.
TV Guide Online: How much Jack Daniel's was consumed during the making of your DVD?
Artie Lange: I'd say about four carafes. Honestly, you've really only had a wild night of drinking when you pass out and wake up naked in a police car with two cops, but here's the weird thing, you're driving.
TVGO: You enjoy drinking and eating. What's your favorite road food?
Lange: Hmm... hot dogs. In Jersey, we do an Italian hot dog, which people think is a sausage, but it's not. It's a hot dog in a cut-out roll with peppers, onions, potatoes, and mustard. Go have one at Ting-a-ling's in Newark.
TVGO: Will do! You get a lot of ribbing about your less-than-healthy lifestyle. There's even a website, ArtieLangeDeathWatch.com, devoted to predicting your demise. Does it ever bother you?
Lange: Well, it doesn't help me in getting life insurance. Hey, I've learned to embrace my image. I'm not going to pretend that, on the weekends, I'm at spin class and drinking Jamba Juice.
TVGO: You also get kidded about your bombed flick with Norm MacDonald, appropriately titled Dirty Work.
Lange: Whenever I meet someone who saw it, I feel I should give them their 10 bucks back. It's my idea of a public service.
TVGO: Dirty Work isn't that bad. What's really the worst film you've ever done?
Lange: That's like asking Babe Ruth for his favorite home run. I did this movie with Chris O'Donnell and Renee Zellweger called The Bachelor. It was such nothingness. It's like something you'd put on in a dentist office — the movie version of Muzak.
TVGO: You get wild guests on Stern. Any favorites?
Lange: Nothing better than James Brown. He's so funny because no matter what weird things you bring up about his life, like different arrests, he just looks at you and laughs real hard. He never admits or denies anything. Then you just go "Ahhh, you're James Brown. You're forgiven." Steve-O [from MTV's Jackass] is good. He came in and said, "I'm going to staple my scrotum to my leg." We said, "Why?" He said, "Look guys, I'm not here to waste your time." That's the best line ever! A lot of people do waste our time on the show. But Steve-O, he never disappoints.
TVGO: And the hottest chick ever on the show?
Lange: The hottest chick was Playboy Playmate Jennifer Walcott, without question. Go check her out on the Web now. Also, one time while on the air, we went to Pam Anderson's hotel room and she was in a bikini just running around with five strippers. It was one of the greatest mornings of my life.
TVGO: What's Howard Stern like off the air?
Lange: He's one of the greatest guys and a great boss. He's really honest; you always know where you stand with him. I'm happy to say we're friends and when we go out for dinner, we end up BS-ing about the same things we talk about on the air — broads [laughs].
TVGO: Will you be moving with him to satellite radio?
Lange: Definitely. And like any fan of comedy, I'm looking forward to hearing what The Howard Stern Show will sound like completely uncensored. For me, it should be the most fun ever.