Embattled comedian Artie Lange, who’s been off the radio airwaves since his suicide attempt in January of last year, confirmed today that he’ll be returning to the job on Sept. 12. But, it won’t be with Howard Stern. Lange told comedian Joe Matarese, on his podcast Fixing Joe, that Lange and longtime friend, comedian Nick Di Paolo will host their own show on Fox Sports Radio.
“It’s going to be in 250 markets around the country and me and Nick are really excited about it,” Lange said. “We’re going to be doing like a sports entertainment, comedy show… I just found out last night late that it’s a definite. They made an offer. Nothing’s been signed yet, but we’re going to do it. This is a bad negotiating tactic, but its either this or opening a landscaping business.”
Lange also said there’s a good chance the show will be set in a pizza restaurant or a diner. “This is all down the road. If it goes well enough, hopefully DirectTV will pick it up,” he added, explaining that the plan is for the show not to just be aired on radio but also television screens. “I’ll be 600 pounds within weeks,” Lange joked. “Since I’ve been clean and sober, I’ve been eating and drinking a lot of coffee and smoking a lot, so it’s fine.”
It makes perfect sense, as the pair of New York City-based comedians guest hosted a show on the network recently; it was Lange’s first time on any type of radio since he left the Howard Stern Show on SiriusXM. Turns out it was a test show. Throughout the broadcast, Di Paolo constantly commented about how good Lange looked, having dropped a substantial amount of weight.
During the Fixing Joe podcast, which went live today, host Matarese pointed out that Lange wasn’t going to dish on every single detail of his radio absence, saying he’ll soon appear on the Howard Stern Show to divulge more details. The comedian did, however, divulge that in the last year and a half he’s been in three psychiatric wards and two rehab centers where he participated in, among other things, group therapy and art therapy. There was also some old-school gaming: “You haven’t lived until you’ve played Scrabble in a psych ward,” he said. Lange said he’s currently attending AA meetings to help stay sober. He also explained that his family and comedian friends — especially Colin Quinn — were a big part of helping him get better. Lange even said late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel would text him at least once a week to check in.
The New Jersey-bred comedian also opened up about another suicide attempt of his; the first one happened in 1995 while he was living in LA starring on MadTV. “I ran out of cocaine, so that was depressing. So I took a bunch of pills and they put me in a psych ward at Cedars-Sinai in Beverly Hills.”
Lange explained to Matarese that rehab never worked before because he would always leave the center prematurely. But this time, he stayed at the facility for three straight months, even though he had only committed to two weeks. When Matarese asked what, then, finally convinced him to stick it out this time, Lange said the death of fellow comedian and addict Greg Giraldo pushed him over the edge. “That really fucked me up,” Lange said, before telling a hilarious story about how he and Giraldo got high on Vicodin on a flight out to Los Angeles to film the William Shatner roast for Comedy Central. “This is crazy,” he remembered thinking when he heard the news of Giraldo’s death. “People I know are starting to [die]…The whole idea of death started to freak me out more than it ever did. It really made me want to stick around.”
Lange went on to explain he was also fairly close to late comedian Mitch Hedberg, who appeared on the Howard Stern Show two weeks before he died of an overdose. “I was on heroin; he was on heroin. I remember he looked so bad,” Lange says. “After he died I felt so guilty that I didn’t handcuff him and take him to a hospital. But I needed the same treatment at that point. I was out of my mind.” That was in 2005. And even though it took until this year for Lange to finally clean up, he says he feels great. “I feel like a new person. I’ve never felt this good in my life– mentally or physically,” he said. “I can still use a few sit-ups at this point.”