Howard Stern is finally admitting what many of us knew all along.
Earlier in his career, he was an insecure and mildly paranoid entertainer who never felt properly respected. No amount of compliments, awards or ratings was ever enough. It took him decades of therapy to understand that the respect he was looking for from others was within himself. Now, he can finally own his place in broadcasting history without petty comparisons to others or worrying whether people like him. He credits thrice-weekly therapy and his lovely wife, Beth.
As a radio host myself, I always tuned out of his more outrageous stunts (tossing bologna at the butts of strippers, ugh) but I enjoyed his interviews and studied them like a master class. He was always well researched and able to make some of his super-famous guests forget they were on the radio. He drew out details and stories they wouldn’t tell anyone else. That’s a special talent. Even today, he labours over details prior to a major interview. That’s dedication and professionalism.
The juvenile, attention-seeking side of Stern was always a little sad, to me. It was obvious that he was stunting for attention, like a toddler throwing a tantrum. This book marks a clear departure from his old persona. Howard has grown up. He discusses old Howard versus new Howard in this book, which is built around transcripts of his favourite, most fascinating interviews. He admits he’s embarrassed about the way he used to behave on the air, including his tendency to blindside his subjects with deeply personal questions about sex, or the one topic they didn’t want him to discuss – whatever that might be.
Howard Stern is 65 and a multi-millionaire for goodness sake! It’s way past time for him to enjoy some confidence in his abilities and the niche he’s carved for himself. Stern also deserves our credit for pushing the boundaries of what’s acceptable on the radio. I never wanted to discuss orgasms or quiz people about their sex lives, but I could if I wanted to, and that’s partly due to Howard’s example. This is a book about the evolution of a man, and the best examples of his work. If you’re not a fan, don’t bother. If you are, but you wish he wasn’t such a frat-boy prankster, this is the book for you. He even shares one of his paintings and his softer side. I won’t give away the details, but it’s very sweet and definitely “new Howard”.