If I was a talent booker for the most influential radio show of the last 40 years, who would I try to get? Who would I most want to see do the program?
The Howard Stern Show has seen a wide variety of guests throughout the decades from the famous (Whoopi Goldberg, Paul McCartney, Joan Rivers) to the infamous (Joey Buttafuoco, O.J. Simpson, Eric The Midget). Some do the show once while others either become frequent visitors to the studio or call in a lot.
Because Howard is particular about who he interviews, it’s not always easy to get booked. Longtime producer Gary Dell’Abate has said that he has turned away a good number of potential guests simply because Howard wasn’t interested or didn’t think they’d be good on the show.
That being said, if I had Gary’s job here are some people I would pitch to the 57-year-old radio legend at the weekly creative meeting:
If you’ve been closely following what’s been happening in the WWE in recent months, it’s most likely because of this man. Born Phil Brooks, this Chicago grappler is at the centre of a remarkably entertaining angle that brilliantly blurs the line between reality and storytelling.
It all started in June when he got on the microphone, declared himself the number one contender to the WWE title and refused to leave the ring until the anonymous Raw general manager acknowledged this fact.
The GM refused but did allow Punk to earn the right to become next in line for a title shot after winning his next match which he did. (He defeated Alberto Del Rio and Rey Mysterio in a triple threat match.) Near the end of the show, he cost John Cena a victory in his non-title Tables Match with the hilariously nutty R-Truth.
With the WWE Champion uncomfortably resting in front of the broken table Truth speared him into, Punk retrieved a microphone, walked all the way to the ramp, sat down cross-legged and delivered a promo for the ages.
He made fun of Triple H and his wife, Stephanie McMahon, and complained about the departures of his friend, Colt Cabana (who has since quietly returned), and current MMA superstar Brock Lesnar.
He railed against the fans (he was still a heel at that point) for supporting guys like Cena instead of guys like him. He bemoaned the fact that he wasn’t being promoted properly through merchandising. And he imagined that the death of Vince McMahon wouldn’t change anything.
His rant was so compelling that when his microphone suddenly stopped working (just as he was about to tell a story about McMahon), you believed it. All of this was framed around Punk’s declaration that his contract was up the night of the Money In The Bank pay-per-view last month where he would ultimately beat John Cena for the championship and walk away. (It has since been renewed and he’s still champion.)
Since then, he’s tangled with Triple H (the new on-camera authority figure after McMahon’s on-air firing) at Comic Con and on Raw, he’s traded barbs with his SummerSlam opponent John Cena (who won a tournament to become the new WWE Champion during Punk’s brief absence), he got a grovelling apology from McMahon and has truly become a “voice for the voiceless” advocating on behalf of wrestlers past and present who he feels have been screwed over by the company. This past Monday, he certainly put executive of talent relations John Laryngitis in his place over the recent firings of Vladimir Koslov, Chris Masters and David Hart Smith, a moment so rarely seen during a wrestling show.
As a result, Punk has turned into a babyface a la Steve Austin (it was no coincidence he was wearing one of the Texas Rattlesnake’s T-shirts during that June promo on Raw) and there’s much anticipation about how this ongoing saga will unfold at tonight’s SummerSlam. (Triple H officiates the Punk/Cena “undisputed” championship in the main event.)
Over the years, Howard Stern has interviewed numerous wrestlers like Mick Foley, Golddust, Hulk Hogan, The Iron Sheik and even Bret Hart. The outspoken Punk recently gave a terrific interview with GQ Magazine. He would give an even better one with Howard. The question I most want answered: why did Punk once tip a stripper with a filet-o-fish?
Baby Ruthie and Sasha Grey
One of Howard’s longest obsessions is with pornography. He was talking about pleasuring himself to sex films and magazines long before it was ever considered socially acceptable to do so. Various porn stars like Jenna Jameson (who owes her whole career to Howard), Ron Jeremy, Bree Olson and countless others have found themselves opening up to him in ways rarely seen and heard in other interview forums.
Not all on-camera sex workers work for Vivid and Wicked, though. There’s a whole amateur scene filled with even more interesting characters. One such amateur is Baby Ruthie, an ordinary married mother of three who Howard might need to do an intervention with.
Based in the Midwest, she might be the most reckless performer in the history of the business. With the surprising encouragement of her photographer/videographer husband (who sounds like a cartoon character), she will pretty much do any guy without hesitation. She’s so easy even JD has a shot with her. (Well, he may have to lose some weight first. Supposedly, she’s not into “overweight guys” which sounds like bull to me. When did self-described “sluts” become picky?)
No condoms are used, no questions are asked and unless I’m mistaken, no testing for disease is ever done beforehand. (Ruthie’s not into any kind of small talk.) Needless to say, she is very open sexually. (Members of her site actually can call her cell phone and personally arrange hook-ups.)
Howard would have a field day with this woman (she could easily win the upcoming I’m The Biggest Whore contest) and best of all, she would most definitely ride the Sybian.
Another porn star worth booking is Sasha Grey who once angered Howard two years ago over comments she made about him during an interview with Rolling Stone Magazine. (Curiously, when her name was brought up recently, he didn’t even remember who she was. I mean, come on, it wasn’t that long ago!)
One of the few performers to transition into mainstream films, Howard missed a glorious opportunity to confront her in the studio about her bogus, false claim that he’s a “closet racist”. (He foolishly turned her down as a possible guest at the time.)
Grey bills herself as something of a porn feminist and an intellectual. Whatever subject matter Howard would want to get into with her (and obviously, sex would be at the top of the list), it would be a compelling interview. He should reconsider his earlier decision. As he already knows, confrontation makes for great radio.
Every high profile profession has its share of egotistical assholes. In tennis back in the day, there was John McEnroe. But in today’s poker scene, there’s Phil Hellmuth.
Aptly nicknamed “The Poker Brat”, the 11-time World Series Of Poker bracelet winner is the sorest loser in the game. One of the chattiest players at the table, when Hellmuth is losing, everybody has to hear about it. (Ironically, when he’s winning, he’s not such a whiny jerk. Go figure.)
After being busted early on by 2008 WSOP Main Event Champion Peter Eastgate during that year’s tournament, he called him an “idiot from Northern Europe”. (He later privately apologized to the young Dane and offered advice before he played the final table.)
Because he is oh so sensitive, needling Hellmuth during taped games has become a guilty pleasure over the years for both his fellow players and the audience. (Tony G did it artfully on The Big Game, to name just one example.)
When The Poker Brat is rattled, he makes bad decisions and starts cursing up a storm. Just ask “The Magician” Antonio Esfandiari who always seems to have his number on Poker After Dark, the NBC late night show (also airing on Rogers Sportsnet) that Hellmuth has appeared on more often (more than 30 times, according to IMDB.com) than any other in its history.
Stern would get plenty of good quote from Hellmuth who is often the most entertaining player at a poker table. Never at a loss for words, he would be an ideal guest on the show. Hopefully, he’d bring his wife. She’s a shrink.
Howard has often talked about the time he briefly met the sexy singer in person. When Jay-Z introduced her to him, the rapper referred to her quite respectfully as “his artist”. (He signed her to Def Jam half a decade ago.) God knows Howard would have plenty to talk about with her.
Clearly, the Chris Brown assault would be at the top of the list with sex a close second. Personally, I’d like to know why the Grammy winner prefers bad boys to nice guys (she finds the latter boring) when the former treat her so poorly. Also, why does she enjoy sexting so much and when did she start doing that?
Stern has expressed sympathy for what happened to her and if he ever had her on the show, as long as he could get her to open up, it would make for good radio. You’re welcome.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Sunday, August 14, 2011
CORRECTION: It took me all this time to realize that I misspelled Rihanna’s name (it’s not Rhianna). My apologies. The correct spelling now appears in the piece.
Hamilton, Ontario, Canada
Saturday, February 25, 2012