Artie Lange: Drugs and Self-Loathing in Hoboken Leads to Self-Inflicted Stabbing
January 7, 2010
(ChattahBox)—- Who is comedian Artie Lange? Is he the wildly successful sidekick on the Howard Stern show, with a thriving stand-up comedy career raking in millions a year? Is he the author of a memoir that hit the New York Times bestseller list, who also has a successful CD and DVD? Or is he a hilarious comedic actor, formerly of Mad TV and the movies, Dirty Work and Old School? Maybe Artie, a 42-year-old New Jersey native, is just a drugged up mess of a self-described loser, who unfortunately, just tried to kill himself a second time in his short life. Artie Lange is all of the above. But he is also much-beloved by his fans and Howard Stern and the radio show crew.
And he is currently in a New Jersey hospital recovering from wounds, after stabbing himself nine times in an apparent suicide attempt. When Lange emerges from his latest setback, will he clean himself up and resume his career as a comedian, or is his druggie persona so much a part of his comic material that without it, he doesn’t have a career?
On Saturday, Lange was rushed to the hospital from his Hoboken apartment, after his mother found him bloody and injured from nine self-inflicted stab wounds. According to the New York Post, Lange suffered from six “hesitation wounds” and three deep plunges. Stern’s much-loved comic foil to Howard Stern’s raucous and crass morning radio show team, underwent life-saving surgery after losing a large amount of blood.
A source close to Lange confirmed to the Post that he stabbed himself, and that his mother luckily found him, when she came to his apartment to visit him that day to drop off food.
Lange had been MIA from Stern’s Sirius radio show, since early December. The 42-year-old former Mad TV star has battled with drug addiction for years; a problem that has been coming to a head in recent months. He also recently lost his driving privileges, after pleading guilty to driving under the influence in New Jersey.
He just recorded his first CD, “Jack and Coke” at New York’s Gotham Comedy Club. But despite his career successes, Lange recently announced that he was taking a break from performing, telling the Star-Ledger in early December that he needed to “try to get my head straight.”
In a revealing profile piece appearing in Rolling Stone last year, entitled “America’s Biggest Loser,” writer Vanessa Grigoriadis was just as puzzled as the rest of us, by Lange’s life-coping problems:
“Artie Lange, the 300 pound 41-year old sidekick to Howard Stern, is one of the most complicated, crass and insecure comedians working today– and one of the most successful. He makes a ton of dough: $700,000 per year at Sirius XM and about $3 million a year on the stand-up circuit,” wrote Grigoriadis. [...]
“There’s only one problem: Lange is a carousing, overeating drugged-up mess who can’t handle the mundane details of life, like keeping a girlfriend, cooking, cleaning or even getting an e-mail account. “Every single aspect of my life is totally fucked, other than work,” says Lange. “Without my career, you couldn’t find a bigger loser.”’
Grigoriadis goes on to describe a constant routine of drugs, rehab, more drugs and additional attempts at getting clean, before succumbing once again to heroin and other substances:
“What’s wrong with Artie Lange is the kind of million-dollar question that no one has satisfactorily answered, so it’s best to ditch it and just look at the particulars. He has been on and off of heroin for three years. In fact, he was on a five-day bender during the photo shoot for this article, before Christmas. Our photographer was in his living room, and Lange was hiding in the bathroom, snorting a dime bag. He gets into drugs like this every couple of months, before trying to go straight again.”
When Lange was just 28, he tried to kill himself the first time, by downing massive amounts of pills and whiskey. “I was 100 percent serious about dying,” Lange told the Rolling Stone.
Meanwhile, the regulars on Howard Stern’s show are keeping Artie’s seat empty, hoping for his eventual return. And Howard Stern is pulling for Lange’s recovery, saying on air this week: “We all have our demons. Artie has given this show tremendous moments of great comedy. He’s a tremendous contributor. He is a good man. Don’t forget how great he is.”
Photo Source: Peter Yang/Rolling Stone