Friday, May 18, 2012

World's Greatest Voff

I get a kick out of anyone or anybody has made it their point to denounce or question NBC’s decision to make Howard Stern a judge on “America’s Got Talent.” I say I get a kick out of them, but really I’d like to kick the crap out of them. Mainly because anyone who knows Stern on a professional or personal level is unequivocally certain that there has been no better judge of people – on any level – than Stern has been over the last quarter century or so. I say this because I have been fortunate enough to have sat across from him as a regular guest on his radio show some 100 times or so. And on those days I was in studio as a guest or filling in for Jackie Martling or merely phoning in, I was privy to the true genius of who Howard Stern is and always has been – even in the early days at WNBC (as irony would have it) – when some know-nothing suits were frightened by his unmatched acumen at being a true original. It’s hard for me to write anything short of an out-and-out blow job here only because I was there often enough to see how he works up close. In those early mornings – as far back at 1992, when he first had me on – I got to peek behind the curtain. Basically, what I saw – and what I would tell people who cared to listen – is that the Howard on- air is not the same guy once the mic is turned off. Howard off-air is a kind and caring person who always did whatever he could to help out his inner circle of friends. He doesn’t live to throw baloney at stripper’s butts. That’s just his schtick, folks. Say what you will about his reign as King of All Media. Whether it rang way true or too blue is beside the point. What’s most important – and what wonderfully translates to his success on AGT – is his ability to spot talent and individuality. If not for his foresight, you have to ask the question would the world of radio and TV have ever known the likes of Robin Quivers, Fred Norris, BaBa Booey, Stuttering John, Jackie Martling, Artie Lange or his under-the-radar writer, Benji? What about Hank the Angry Dwarf, High-Pitched Eric, prank caller Captain Janks, Big Black or the outspoken KKK member Daniel Carver? Who can forget (though I try) Elephant Boy, Nicole Bass, Yucko the Clown, Beetlejuice or Gary the Retard? It doesn’t just end at his Wack Pack either. Way back in his fledgling TV days on Channel 9, he was smart enough to give birth to Lesbian Dial-a-Date, Homeless Jeopardy and HowieWood Squares just to name a few. People who saw these bits some 20 years ago are still laughing. And people like myself, who still checks in with Howard from time to time, are quietly reminded why we stay close to the man who helped us all make a name for ourselves on his dime. An hour before his AGT premiered you’d think he’d have better things to do than to respond to my e-mail. But he took the time to do so, and in the process remind me why (his words, not mine) I will always be a “five-star general of gossip.” Pretty cool for a guy who’s about to debut to an audience of, oh, 10 or 15 million people. Many of who will always be clueless detractors. So bring on the dance troops, magicians, jugglers and general dreamers who might be worthy of their 15 minutes or $15 million. Howard will have no problem judging who belongs to be there.

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