Artie Lange

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This article is about the comedian. For the Scottish psychiatrist, see R. D. Laing.
Artie Lange
Lange in September 2006
Birth name Arthur Steven (Beef) Lange, Jr.
Born (1967-10-11) October 11, 1967 (age 47)
Livingston, New Jersey, U.S.
Medium Stand-up, Television, Film, Radio
Nationality American
Years active 1987–present[1][2]
Genres Observational comedy, Improvisational comedy, Insult comedy, Black comedy
Influences Howard Stern, John Belushi, Richard Pryor,[3] George Carlin, Woody Allen, Jackie Martling, Bill Murray, Jackie Gleason, Peter Sellers, Fred Stoller, David Letterman, Richard Lewis[4]

Arthur Steven Lange, Jr. (born October 11, 1967), known as Beef Lange, is an American actor, comedian, radio personality, and author best known for his tenures with the The Howard Stern Show and the comedy sketch series Mad TV. He was also the host of a sports and entertainment radio show called The Artie Lange Show.

Lange performed his first stand-up comedy routine at 19 years of age. He took up work as a longshoreman to help support his family following the death of his quadriplegic father. In 1995, Lange starred in the first season of Mad TV before leaving halfway through the second due to cocaine abuse and his subsequent arrest. After a period of rehabilitation, Lange featured in Dirty Work (1998) with Norm Macdonald, who brought Lange into the second season of his sitcom, The Norm Show. In 2001, Lange joined The Howard Stern Show until December 2009 when a suicide attempt in January 2010 led to an eight-month stay in a psychiatric ward. In 2011, Lange returned to radio with Nick DiPaolo to co-host The Nick & Artie Show. In January 2013, it was renamed The Artie Lange Show after DiPaolo's departure.[5]

Lange has released two recordings of comedy performances–It's the Whiskey Talkin' (2004) and Jack and Coke (2009). He co-wrote, produced, and starred in his feature film Artie Lange's Beer League (2006) and co-wrote his memoirs Too Fat to Fish (2008) and Crash and Burn (2013).[citation needed]

Early life[edit]

Lange was born on October 11, 1967[6] in Livingston, New Jersey, and raised in Union Township. His mother, Judy (née Caprio), of Italian descent, was a housewife, while his father, Arthur Lange, Sr., of German and Native American descent, was a general contractor. His sister Stacey is a fashion designer.[citation needed] Two weeks after Lange's birth, his father went on trial for counterfeiting money but was spared jail time out of the court's sympathy for his young son.[6]

In 2003, after some of The Howard Stern Show staff submitted a sample of their DNA for testing, it was revealed that Lange was approximately 25 percent American Indian.[7]

Lange attended Union High School and took up baseball where he became an all-county third baseman.[8] He spent his free time working with his father, who in October 1985, became quadriplegic after he fell off a ladder and broke his back.[9][10] Money soon became an issue within his family, and Lange's mother took a secretary job for income. Lange recalled, "We took out a second mortgage. Medicaid paid for a nurse eight hours a day. When my mother got back from being a secretary all day, she had to take care of him. Every night, she set her alarm clock to turn him so he wouldn't get bedsores."[9] In 1987, the family contacted celebrities asking them to donate items for auction, and Howard Stern, the only one to respond, sent an autographed K-Rock jacket and said on the air, "Does this guy think that if he puts the jacket on he's going to walk again?", which Lange and his father found funny.[9] His father died from complications of an infection on February 1, 1990, four-and-a-half years after the accident.[6][11]

In August 1985, Lange was arrested for attempted bank robbery. He claimed he was trying to flirt with the teller by passing her a note that said he was armed and demanded $50,000. The teller took it seriously, triggering a silent alarm. He was charged with disorderly conduct and entered community service in March 1986.[12] As part of his probation, Lange attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting from March to June 1987 as well as Seton Hall University for a short time before leaving. On June 12, 1987, at 19 years of age, Lange performed his first stand-up comedy routine at The Improv in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan. "I bombed for five minutes. Everyone thinks that they can do better. I was unprepared, I mumbled, and I forgot stuff. But I'm proud that I did it."[2] In February 1991, Lange took up work as a longshoreman at Port Newark to help support his family.[13][14]



In 1992, Lange quit his job at Port Newark to focus on his comedy career. While searching for such work, his regular form of employment was driving a taxi in New York City.[15] The flexibility of the job allowed him to perform 20-minute sets at the Comic Strip and resume work afterwards.[16] Within the year Lange landed a role in a dinner theater play, touring restaurants and catering halls in New Jersey.[17] He then co-formed an improv troupe called Live on Tape, which led to the group performing sell-out shows at Caroline's on Broadway in Manhattan.[18] Lange was taken by William Morris Agency, where he first met Peter Principato, his manager of ten years.[18]

In May 1995, Lange flew to Los Angeles to shoot the television pilot for Mad TV, a sketch comedy show that was picked up by the Fox network.[19] He landed a role as one of the eight original cast members from 8,000 comics who were screened, and moved to the West Coast in July.[20] Lange attributed his hiring to the fact that he fit the John Belushi "mold" that was popular in sketch comedy.[21] His most popular recurring character on the show was "That's My White Mama".[22] Lange returned for the filming of the second season of Mad TV in August 1996,[23] but his time with the show came to an end when fellow cast and crew members attempted to have an intervention for him after a cocaine binge. Lange fled the studio, running through streets with his co-workers chasing after him. It ended in a supermarket, where he was arrested and sentenced to time served and probation.[22]

Lange attempted suicide for the first time in 1995, he explained the attempt saying "... (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.”[24]

In March 1997 the producers persuaded Lange to enter rehabilitation, and he checked into Honesty House, a rehab center in Stirling, New Jersey, for two months.[25] His contract was not renewed for the third season, but Lange would make cameo appearances during the fifth and tenth seasons, including the show's final episode on May 16, 2009.[26]

After Lange served a short jail term and a drug rehabilitation program, comedian Norm Macdonald, impressed by Lange's work on Mad TV, offered him a part in the 1998 movie Dirty Work. Although the film was unsuccessful during its theatrical run, Lange credits Macdonald and director Bob Saget with rejuvenating his comedy career, leading to several more film appearances and two lucrative television development deals.[27] He then joined the cast of Macdonald's sitcom The Norm Show during its second season, staying until its cancellation the following year. Lange has since described this period as a personal high point but a creative low point. He enjoyed being paid $35,000 an episode, sleeping late, and being in healthy physical shape, as well as working with the cast, particularly with Macdonald and Laurie Metcalf; however, he disliked the show itself, referring to the material as "ridiculously lame, easy jokes."[28]


Lange was introduced to The Howard Stern Show by his father in 1982.[9] Following the departure of comedian Jackie Martling from The Howard Stern Show in March 2001,[citation needed] Stern announced a "Win Jackie's Money" contest in which various comedians would audition for Martling's seat by sitting in during shows. Those who sat in included Craig Gass, Doug Stanhope, Richard Jeni, Jeff Ross, Jim Florentine, and Ron Zimmerman.[29] Lange commented about the contest: "There were a lot of great funny guys - guys that were funnier than me ... I remember saying to my manager, 'I am not the most talented guy in this group, but I guarantee that I'm the biggest fan of the show."[2] When The Norm Show ended in April 2001, Lange sat in for a number of shows between May and October before beginning full-time on October 26, 2001.[30]

In 2004, Lange recorded and released his first comedy DVD, It's the Whiskey Talkin'.

In June 2005, Lange missed four days of shows, prompting concerns of a possible relapse into substance abuse.[citation needed] The situation climaxed in Lange's behaving strangely and belligerently on the air.[31] Lange then missed the next two days, writing off his absence as due to stress from doing the radio show and filming his film Artie Lange's Beer League.[citation needed] The truth for his absence was revealed in a spontaneous revelation on September 21, 2006, in which Lange acknowledged that he had regularly snorted heroin.[32] He discussed past episodes of heroin use beginning when he was a standup comedian and continuing until Beer League was set to begin shooting.[31] He then detailed his painful withdrawal from the drug, which included side effects of aching, cold sweats, shaking, and vomiting. Lange recalled taking his telephone off the hook to avoid speaking to his mother, who ultimately intervened to help him recover.[citation needed] Lange was threatened with legal action by producers of Beer League if he failed to show up for the first day of shooting, which led him to secure a home visit from a doctor, who prescribed Subutex to alleviate his dependency.[31]

In December 2005, Lange was offered $5 million to replace Stern on terrestrial radio with a show co-hosted by Gary Dell'Abate.

On April 10, 2008, Lange walked off the show after an on-air argument and subsequent outburst at his personal assistant Teddy resulting in a physical altercation, in which it took several staff members, including Gary Dell'Abate, Benjy Bronk, Ronnie Mund, Scott Salem and Sal Governale to restrain him.[33] On April 21, Lange returned to the show and apologized, taking full responsibility for his behavior. Sirius management warned Lange that another infraction would end his employment with the show. Lange and Teddy maintained a working relationship.

In June 2008, Lange headlined a comedy tour he named "Operation Mirth" with the United Service Organizations to entertain the U.S. troops serving in Afghanistan. He was inspired to do so after viewing Patriot Act: A Jeffrey Ross Home Movie, a documentary about comedian Jeffrey Ross' own comedy tour in Iraq. Lange picked comedians Jim Florentine, Nick DiPaolo, and Dave Attell to join him, including Gary Dell'Abate, who served as the tour's master of ceremonies.[2]

Lange released his first book, Too Fat to Fish, on November 11, 2008.[9] It is a collection of memoirs from Lange's life, from his childhood to his USO trip, co-written with Anthony Bozza. Lange described them as "short stories that are real stories ... about different things that happened to me at different times in my life ... They range from funny to dark, to tragic, to sad."[9] Lange dedicated the book to Stern who also wrote its foreword.[34] The book entered the The New York Times Best Seller list at number one[35] and held the position for one week.[36] The book remained on the list's top ten for 11 weeks.[37] A paperback edition was released in June 2009 with an alternate back cover and an additional chapter.

On June 15, 2009, Lange made a controversial appearance on the first episode of Joe Buck Live where he exchanged insults with host Joe Buck that HBO Sports president Ross Greenburg said "bordered on bad taste" with a "mean-spirited" tone.[38] The show was cancelled two episodes later. Buck defended Lange and subsequently wrote the foreword to his next book.[39][40]

On November 17, 2009, Lange released his second comedy DVD, Jack and Coke, via Shout! Factory. The 80-minute set was recorded live at the Gotham Comedy Club in New York City.

On December 9, 2009, Lange made his final on-air appearance as a staff member of The Howard Stern Show.


Lange returned to the comedy stage for the first time on September 27, 2010, eight months after his suicide attempt, performing two nights at Comedy Cellar in New York City. He mentioned being in a psychiatric ward for eight months since the incident.[citation needed]

On July 6, 2011, Lange returned to radio for the first time since December 2009, guest hosting in place of Tony Bruno on Fox Sports Radio with comedian Nick DiPaolo. A caller asked Lange about returning to The Howard Stern Show, to which he replied: "That would be the greatest thing ever, but you know listen, I was on the greatest show of all time for about nine years and I put them in a very awkward situation to say the least. So what am I gonna do? But I love them all and they were great to me."[41]

In 2012, Lange made an appearance as a chemical truck driver in the Louie episode "Barney/Never." Lange's second New York Times best selling book, Crash and Burn,[42] was published in October 2013.

Lange hosted the Nick and Artie Show, which later became the Artie Lange Show until it was cancelled on April 28, 2014. The radio show had a total run of 538 episodes from October 3, 2011 (not including guest hosts). On April 15, 2014, Lange went into diabetic shock in Detroit, Michigan, and was hospitalized for several days.[43]


On Mad TV as well as in his stand-up and radio work, Lange included several celebrity impersonations in his regular repertoire. These include Mike Tyson, Rush Limbaugh, The Iron Sheik, Biggie Smalls, Earthquake (comedian), Goldust, Chaz Bono, and various members of Howard Stern's Wack Pack, and AC/DC singers Bon Scott and Brian Johnson.

Political views[edit]

Lange has said he does not consider himself to be a "liberal," though he is pro-choice, a supporter of gay rights, and a supporter of unions owing to his former career as a longshoreman.[44] Crumbs Bakery offered an "Artie Lange" vanilla and chocolate cupcake, with partial proceeds going toward the Lifebeat HIV/AIDS charity until its closing.[45] Lange has said he "leans to the right." [46]

Substance abuse[edit]

On August 6, 2008, Lange claimed to have begun an intensive outpatient rehab program after missing the Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget.[47] On the August 11 airing of the show, Lange admitted to having been back on heroin for the previous seven weeks. He stated that he had gotten drunk playing pool and was offered the heroin by someone at the pool hall.[48] Comedian Richard Lewis recommended a therapist to Lange.

On the December 9, 2008 show, Lange admitted that he lied about intensive outpatient rehab and had only gone to the therapist twice, not even making it through the end of the second session.

On the June 17, 2009, episode of The Adam Carolla Podcast, Lange revealed that he had been sober for two and a half months, had lost 45 pounds, and hoped to lose 45 more.[49] On the August 10, 2009 broadcast of The Howard Stern Show, Stern noticed Lange's weight loss. Lange then confirmed that his current weight was 230 lb. and that he wished to continue in his endeavor to lose more weight.[citation needed]

2010 suicide attempt[edit]

On January 2, 2010, Lange claims to have attempted suicide by stabbing himself in the abdomen with a 13-inch kitchen knife nine times and drinking bleach.[50][51] He was found on the floor of his home by his mother and taken to Jersey City Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. Lange was released the following week.[52] Sirius stated that Lange would be welcomed back onto The Howard Stern Show following his recovery,[53] but he has not returned to the show since the suicide attempt. Stern has stated that he has declined Lange's offer of returning and discussing the incident as he thought it would not be good for Lange.[54]

Twitter controversy[edit]

On November 4, 2014, Lange sent out a series of tweets in which he discussed in detail a fantasy about ESPN sportscaster Cari Champion. In his fantasy, he was Thomas Jefferson, she was a slave, and he attempts to whip her but fails. She beats him up and escapes. [55] This resulted in substantial controversy both on Twitter (e.g. #ISupportCari) and in mainstream media.[56]

Lange has been banned for life from ESPN as a result of his comments; additionally, he lost a scheduled appearance on Comedy Central.[57]


Year Title Role Other notes
2014 The Stench of Failure Himself TV stand-up special
2013 Californication Himself II
2013–2014 The Artie Lange Show Himself
2012 Dave's Old Porn Himself
2012 Louie Truck Driver
2011–2012 The Nick & Artie Show Himself
2010 Adventures of Serial Buddies Golden Graham
2009 Leisure Suit Larry: Box Office Bust Al Jones (Big Al) Voice (Video game PC, Xbox360, PS3)
Artie Lange: Jack and Coke Himself Stand-up comedy DVD
2007 Entourage Scott Segil
2006 Rescue Me Mike – Lou's cousin
Artie Lange's Beer League Artie DeVanzo
Fox Sports' 2006 World Series coverage Himself TV – promos alongside Jerry Stiller
Supertwink The Plumber Howard Stern on Demand film
2005 Waltzing Anna Jacob Kline
2004 Game Over Turbo Voice
Artie Lange: It's the Whiskey Talkin' Himself Stand-up comedy DVD
A Piece of My Heart Lenny Steinberg
Perfect Opposites
2003 Elf Fake Santa
Mail Order Bride Tommy Jackie Martling also stars but they do not appear together
Old School Booker
2002 Boat Trip Brian Refused to kiss co-star Will Ferrell
2001 Gameday Artie Short, featured as extra on It's the Whiskey Talkin‍ '​
Shriek If You Know What I Did Last Friday the Thirteenth Swim Coach Hasselhoff
1999 The Norm Show Artie Henderson
The Bachelor Marco
Mystery Men Big Red
Lost & Found Wally
The 4th Floor Jerry
Puppet Alexie This film was never released.[58]
1998 Dirty Work Sam McKenna
1996 Jerry Maguire Sports radio host Deleted scene; Tom Cruise yelled at him[22]
1995–1997 Mad TV various



  1. ^ "Artie Lange thrills audience again". New York Post. 2010-09-27. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  2. ^ a b c d Diana, Schwaeble (2008-08-03). "The other side of laughter, Part II". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  3. ^ Kirschling, Gregory (2008-11-07). "Artie Lange: 'F--- It, I'll Write a Book'". Entertainment Weekly. Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  4. ^ Kirschling, Gregory (2008-11-07). "Artie Lange: 'F--- It, I'll Write a Book'". Archived from the original on December 12, 2008. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  5. ^ The Nick & Artie Show profile,; accessed November 8, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c Lange, pp. 1–5.
  7. ^ The Howard Stern Show broadcast for August 21, 2003. WXRK-FM New York City. Infinity Broadcasting.
  8. ^ Steinberg, David (2005-04-11). "THECHAT". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  9. ^ a b c d e f Schwaeble, Diana (2008-07-31). "The other side of laughter". Hudson Reporter. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  10. ^ Lange, p. 36.
  11. ^ Terry Gross (2008-11-11). "Artie Lange Tells All in 'Too Fat to Fish'". Fresh Air. NPR. 
  12. ^ Lange, pp. 50–59.
  13. ^ Lange, p. 112.
  14. ^ Lange, p. 120.
  15. ^ Lange, p. 123.
  16. ^ Lange, p. 125.
  17. ^ Lange, pp. 117.
  18. ^ a b Lange, pp. 117–118.
  19. ^ Lange, p. 138.
  20. ^ Lange, p. 137.
  21. ^ "Artie Lange: Biography". Comedy Central. 
  22. ^ a b c Lange; Bozza, "MAD Man Walking"
  23. ^ Lange, p. 171.
  24. ^ "Artie Lange confirms return to radio, opens up about his recovery". LaughSpin. July 21, 2011. 
  25. ^ Lange, pp. 214–215.
  26. ^ "Fox Primetime Schedule". Fox Flash. 
  27. ^ Lange; Bozza, "Baby Gorilla in the Mist"
  28. ^ Biography for Artie Lange,
  29. ^ Kaplan, Don (2001-10-08). "Stern Replaces Jokeman Jackie". New York Post. Retrieved 2009-10-29. 
  30. ^ The Howard Stern Show broadcast for October 26, 2001. WXRK-FM New York City. Infinity Broadcasting.
  31. ^ a b c Lange; Bozza, "Heroin: It's Better for Your Liver!"
  32. ^ Helen A.S. Popkin (February 14, 2007). "Howard Stern’s Sirius question is answered". The Today Show. 
  33. ^ [1]
  34. ^ [2][dead link]
  35. ^ Best Sellers. Hardcover Nonfiction, New York Times, November 21, 2008
  36. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times. 2008-11-28. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  37. ^ "Best Sellers: Hardcover Nonfiction". The New York Times. 2009-02-08. Retrieved 2011-01-11. 
  38. ^ McCarthy, Michael (June 16, 2009). "Comedian Lange crosses the line on 'Joe Buck Live'". USA Today. 
  39. ^
  40. ^
  41. ^ "Artie Lange says return to Stern show 'would be the greatest thing ever'". The New York Post. 2011-07-07. Retrieved 2011-07-24. 
  42. ^ Wohlfarth, Matt. "Comedian Artie Lange is back and happy to laugh at himself". Triblive. Retrieved August 18, 2013. 
  43. ^ Artie Lange hospitalized after suffering diabetic shock,; accessed November 8, 2014.
  44. ^ "Artie Lange". TMZ. Retrieved May 19, 2014. 
  45. ^ "NY Mag Crumbs Menu". Retrieved 2011-03-29. 
  46. ^
  47. ^ Rehab For Stern Sidekick. (2008-08-06). Retrieved on 2011-04-30.
  48. ^ Lange; Bozza, "Greetings from Sunny Kandahar"
  49. ^ [3][dead link]
  50. ^
  51. ^ Everett, Cristina (2010-01-08). "Artie Lange used 13-inch kitchen knife in violent suicide try". New York Daily News. Retrieved 2011-07-18. 
  52. ^ Hammerstein, BJ (January 9, 2010). "Artie Lange out of the hospital". Detroit Free Press.[dead link]
  53. ^ Itzkoff, Dave (January 8, 2010). "'Howard Stern Show' to Keep Artie Lange." The New York Times
  54. ^
  55. ^ Adler, Lindsey (November 5, 2014). "Artie Lange’s Appearance On "@Midnight" Cancelled After Explicit Twitter Rant". Retrieved November 5, 2014. 
  56. ^ Gay, Roxanne (November 7, 2014). "Nobody cares about your erection, Artie Lange. And women don’t think it's funny". Retrieved November 8, 2014. 
  57. ^ Fox (November 6, 2014). "Artie Lange banned from ESPN, loses Comedy Central gig after racist, sexist rant". Fox News. Retrieved November 6, 2014. 
  58. ^ "[T]hat summer [of 1996], I booked my first [serious acting] role, in an independent movie called Puppet. ... This film, which to this day I have never seen because I don't think it's possible to purchase a copy of it anywhere at any price, starred Rebecca Gayheart and Fred Weller ... I don't know anyone who has ever seen or even heard of Puppet. All I can say is that it was screened in a theater at least once, because my manager went to see it." Lange, Artie, with Anthony Bozza and Howard Stern (2009). Too Fat to Fish, Random House Digital, Inc, ISBN 978-0-385-52657-9, p. 172

External links[edit]



Preceded by
Jackie Martling
The Howard Stern Show
The Artie chair
Succeeded by