Howard Stern is, truly, the “King of All Media.”
On Wednesday, The Hollywood Reporter published a piece about the “shock jock,” who opened up about the ups and downs of his long and glorious radio career.
The 65-year-old is gearing up for the release of his new book, Howard Stern Comes Again (out May 14), a curated collection of edited transcripts from his favorite interviews.
Read all the best moments (below):
On Wednesday, May 10, 2017, Stern shocked fans when he, for the first time in memory, canceled that day’s show.
Although he reappeared days later and told his audience he suffered from the flu, it was all a lie.
That Wednesday, after attending a series of doctor visits due to his low white blood cell count, Howard underwent surgery to remove a growth on his kidney that had a 90% chance of being cancerous.
He told the publication:
“And now all I’m thinking is, ‘I’m going to die’… And I’m scared shitless.’”
Fortunately, the growth turned out to be a tiny, harmless cyst.
Despite the good news, the frightening incident shook the radio personality to his core.
Although Howard rose to prominence due to his no-hold-barred style of interviewing, he has deep regrets about his pre-SiriusXM radio days.
“I was so completely f**ked up back then… I didn’t know what was up and what was down, and there was no room for anybody else on the planet.”
In fact, he said he cannot read his first two best-selling books, Private Parts (1993) and Miss America (1995), without cringing at his own narcissism.
“My interviewing technique was like bashing someone in the face with a sledgehammer… I was like the Joker, and all I wanted to do was cause chaos.”
He even acknowledges that he “lashed out at anyone and everyone whose career was prospering,” explaining:
“I thought I should be at the center of the universe, and whenever it seemed like someone else was, I couldn’t accept it… It got to the point where it was terrifying.”
One of his biggest regrets was an interview he did with Robin Williams in the early ’90s because Stern can no longer apologize to the late comedian.
“I loved Robin Williams, but there I am beating him over the head with, like, ‘Hey, I hear you’re f**king your nanny?’ I could have had a great conversation, but I’m playing to the audience… They want to hear outrageousness, and that’s my arrogance thinking that Robin Williams can’t entertain my audience. How stupid am I?’”
In regards to the backlash he faced from the FCC, religious groups, and others, Howard remarked:
“I was a nervous f**king wreck, ready to jump out a window… Every issue — race, religion, sexuality — was dealt with as honestly and openly as possible to the detriment of everything around me. I was like scorched earth, … trying to be heard like the mountain that roared.”
However, Stern is proud of his evolution as a journalist, as “you can only interview so many strippers.”
Though he “loved the idea that we’d go on the air and measure our penises or discuss vaginal secretions,” he now finds all of that “gross,” adding:
“And I’d feel really f**king sh**ty if I hadn’t evolved. I’d be completely out of step with the times.”
Nowadays, Howard describes his interviewing technique as the “dinner party approach,” and points to an early 2015 interview with Gwyneth Paltrow as a turning point in his career.
In regards to their chat — which went from a discussion about relationships to one of oral sex:
“Had I said to her, ‘Gwyneth Paltrow, do you blow your husband?’ I’m an a**hole… But, sure enough, we start talking, and she’s fascinating, and I’m getting to know her, and then she goes: ‘One of the things you can do to make your man happy, ladies, is, like, sometimes in the middle of a fight, I just blow him. It ends everything.’ So, she took me there.’”
“America’s Got Talent”
Per Us Weekly, in his new book, Stern said appearing as a judge on America’s Got Talent from seasons seven through 10 was the “most uncomfortable” he has ever felt.
“Throughout my career I had put myself in uncomfortable situations, from dressing in women’s clothing on the Late Show With David Letterman to donning the infamous ass-baring Fartman costume on the MTV Music Video Awards to concealing my face in elaborate makeup to impersonate Michael Jackson on a pay-per-view New Year’s Eve special… Yet appearing unguarded and undisguised on AGT might have been the most uncomfortable I had ever felt.”
Once he left the reality TV show, Simon Cowell joined the series.
In his interview with THR, Stern said he is “at a place now where [he is] trying to figure out how to spend the rest of [his] life, however long that might be.”
His contract with SiriusXM — worth a reported $90 million a year — expires at the end of 2020.
Though he has been flirting with the idea of retirement, Howard is not sure if he wants to leave radio.
While looking at his desk, where he spends four to five hours three mornings a week:
“It seems weird to me not to have this.”
[Image via Ivan Nikolov/WENN.]