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Howard Stern: Man or Mouth? Rolling Stone's 1994 Cover Story

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Fear drives Howard Stern, not hate or megalomania. "I'm still scared of the image of the old-time announcer showing up at bar mitzvahs and handing out pictures and balloons," he says. "I've tried to elevate the role of disc jockey to somewhere beyond circus clown and carnival barker."

He just turned 40. Because there's a chip on his shoulder the size of Long Island, all his newfound fame, cash, fandom still don't satisfy him. I ask if having his own late-night show would.

"To me, that would be the ultimate credibility," he replies. "Would I love to take Letterman's audience away from him and just shut his trap? Yeah, I would love to do that. Do I think I can do that? I know I can."

Who has the most famous penis in America, you or Michael Jackson?
John Wayne Bobbitt. Come on!

Who re-enacted his penis severing for the world on your New Year's Eve special. If you had your own late-night TV talk show tomorrow, is that the kind of quality entertainment we could expect?
Pay-per-view is great because I can go on there and do exactly what I would love to do. I can fuck a sheep. I have a lot of ideas on what I can do with network television, too, not necessarily in a raunchy way but something different.

You originally wanted to call your book "Howard Stern Has a Small Penis."
No, I wanted to call it Mein Kampf. Then my agent said, "There won't be a Jew in the world who will buy that book." So then I said the title should be Penis, because I thought if it went onto the New York Times' best-seller list, it would be "Howard Stern's Penis." And they'd have to write " Howard Stern's Penis is No. 1."

What's with the penis obsession? You've likened yours to an acorn. You claim you're hung like a pimple.
I think I might as well be upfront about it. No guy will ever admit to having a small penis. I just went on the record. I might be one of the smallest guys in the world. I had a trip to the doctor when I had an anal fissure. My asshole was a mess. I'm lying there on this doctor's table, and my penis, I mean, it was inside itself, like a turtle's head poking backward. It was so fuckin' embarrassing. Who the fuck's going to admit to something like that? And that's great radio. Because it's someone being honest about their fears and emotions.

So what exactly would you put on a late-night TV show if you had one, and how would you beat all the other shows?
First of all, seeing me on a traditional talk show like Leno or Letterman would be enough to beat them. Because my attitude and the way I handle guests would be just so bizarre. Seeing me sitting next to Goldie Hawn is different than seeing David Letterman, Chevy Chase or Jay Leno or anybody sitting next to Goldie Hawn. It just doesn't look right. I could go that way and be very successful. But I don't want to do a late-night talk show that depends on guests. I would depend more on the hot stories of the day, real people. I think people would respond to an opinionated late-night host. I know some sponsors would complain, but I'm sick of hearing Billy Crystal talk about his latest fucking picture and all that bullshit. The show's got to be about me, not about the guest.

Is that what you told Rupert?
Rupert who?

Murdoch. The guy who owns Fox. You met with him about doing a late-night show. You said on the radio that Fox would be crazy not to back a Brinks truck up to your house.
Right now, I've got a lot of offers on the table. I can do television, or I can do a film. I have a lot of good ideas for film, but the problem is there's no immediacy. It would take two years to make. I like instant gratification. I would love to make the announcement that I was going up against those late-night guys. They're just so vulnerable. Jay is so weak. Jay is like a deer that's been hit in the woods by a couple of bullets. He's just sort of wobbling around, waiting to be knocked off.

And Letterman? What kind of animal is he?
Dave is looking old, like an old elephant. He's 46. It's the same show, day in, day out. Before he gets firmly in the Johnny position where he's the guy, he's late night, I'd love to come in and burst his fucking bubble. I would just take such pleasure in that. I have a very warped feeling about myself that I'm worthless, and the only way I can prove myself to all the fucking experts is to show that David Letterman is nothing. There are a lot of people hoping I fail. But I like that. I need to be hated.

Would you give up the radio show?
I can't. I'm under contract for two years. I would have to do both. I would have no personal life. If you're getting up at 4 o'clock in the morning, and you're doing a show from 6 to 11, how much more free time do you have? If you've got a wife and kids? I hardly see them as it is. So I suppose money will be persuasive in terms of doing late-night television.

What if you did the TV show as a taped version of the radio show?
I don't think that would be the answer. There's a certain intimacy with radio that people like. They like that there's not a camera on them. They tend to admit more and be more open. It would kill me if women came in and couldn't be naked in the studio anymore. It just wouldn't be right. I couldn't get up in the morning.

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