Artie Lange riffs on local comedians
In addition to being funny, Artie Lange has no shortage of opinions, especially when it comes to comedy. Given his recent trend of performing in the Hudson Valley, Newsday Westchester asked the funnyman to weigh in on a dozen comedians with regional connections. Here's what he had to say. -Compiled by Chris Serico
Artie Lange, who was Howard Stern's on-air sidekick for eight years, is now the host of his own his own sports and pop culture satellite radio/DirecTV program, "The Artie Lange Show." In a recent conversation with Newsday Westchester, he provided his take on comedians with Hudson Valley ties ranging from Bill Murray to Rosie O'Donnell.
Howard Stern, former Westchester resident: "Howard is responsible for more hours of entertainment than anyone in the history of the world. I mean, if you think about it, he's been hosting five hours every day for close to 30 years. There's not one show when you weren't completely entertained or enthralled by it for at least an hour or so. He hasn't really had a bad show in 30 years."
David Letterman, North Salem resident: "My favorite talk-show host in the history of late-night television is David Letterman. He seems like an angry guy, who's tortured by something. As a fan of his, and as a guy who's done his show a bunch of times, it makes me sad. I wish he could be a happier person. I just don't think he is. [But] the times I've done his show have been great."
Jimmy Fallon, former Saugerties resident: "Jimmy Fallon is a friend of mine, but Jimmy is the epitome of a star. Jimmy Fallon has every single quality to be a superstar, and I think that's why he's going to be even bigger. He is likable; he's talented; he's a good lookin' guy; he could be like a leading man; he can do stand-up; he does characters; he can interview, and he can tell jokes in a monologue and looks good in a suit. ... And I think he's genuinely a good guy, and that's why people in [show] business like him."
Jay Leno, New Rochelle native: "One of the greatest stand-up comics who ever lived, [but] he really just went for the network thing to appeal to people in Nebraska. [I've heard] he does it to the tune of about $40 million per year, so, God bless him. And, again, I'm not saying there's anything bad about that, but he was a really edgy comic who just said, 'Look, I'm going to adjust my situation to be the darling of late night.'"
Bill Murray, Palisades resident: "Bill Murray is one of my heroes. Bill Murray invented everything that a lot of big stars do nowadays in movies: Guys like Vince Vaughn [or] anybody who does that sort of funny, sarcastic character in a movie -- which is almost everybody in comedy -- got it from Bill Murray. Bill Murray invented all that. He's like the Bob Dylan of sarcasm. I love Bill Murray."
Eddie Murphy, former Poughquag resident: "One of the most talented stand-up comedians who sold out like no one else in the history of show business, but y'know, the guy's got a billion dollars, so God bless him. I think in 1985, he would have hoped that a whole generation wouldn’t know him as the guy from 'Pluto Nash.'"
Bobby Moynihan, Eastchester native: "Everything I’ve seen him do on 'SNL' makes me laugh. I've met him a couple of times; he's a really nice guy. … I'm sure he’ll be around a really long time."
Rosie O'Donnell, Nyack resident: "Rosie O'Donnell is someone who was never my cup of tea, but I started to really respect her for her brutal honesty. I think she's a really good stand-up and a really good actress. Her talk show wasn't something I really watched, but I respect how honest she is about everything nowadays."
Nick Di Paolo, northern Westchester resident: "Probably the funniest comic of my generation. Honest -- brutally honest. Hilariously funny, and one of the loveliest guys I've ever known. A very good friend."
Joan Rivers, Larchmont native: "I like her more now than I did when she [first] got really famous … but now that she's lasted so long, she's one old broad that I respect."
Pete Dominick, Congers resident: "Pete is a good friend of mine, and a really good stand-up comic. When I think of Pete, I think of a guy who holds his ground politically. I’m not a political guy, [but] I also respect how he has a sense of humor about it."
Greg Fitzsimmons, Tarrytown native: "Greg [is] one of the funniest comics of my generation. One of the best writers of comedy I’ve ever known. And a good guy -- a fun guy to do stand-up on the road [with]."
So what's next for Artie Lange? His second book, "Crash and Burn," whose topics include his heroin battles, on-air blackouts and other "crazy stories from the past," will come out some time this year. He'll also continue with "The Artie Lange Show" and keep performing stand-up. Asked if an on-air reunion with Stern is possible, he was optimistic, but said that the timing would have to be right. "I think those guys [on Stern's staff] want to make sure it's the right time, and they want to make sure that nothing would happen that would be detrimental to me," Lange said.