March 14, 1961
Uniondale, New York, U.S.
|Other names||Baba Booey|
Gary Dell'Abate (born March 14, 1961), also known as Baba Booey, is an American radio producer, and has been the executive producer of The Howard Stern Show since 1984. His autobiography, They Call Me Baba Booey, was released on November 2, 2010.
Early life and career
Dell'Abate was born and raised in Uniondale, New York, on Long Island. He comes from a large Italian-American family. His father, Salvatore Dell'Abate, was an ice cream salesman, while his mother sold cooking items such as frying pans at the local supermarket. Dell'Abate attended Adelphi University, receiving the Richard F. Clemo Award his senior year, and he interned at several radio stations including WLIR. While interning with Roz Frank, a traffic reporter on WNBC, he came into contact with Howard Stern.
The Howard Stern Show
Dell'Abate has worked on The Howard Stern Show since September 4, 1984: originally on 66 WNBC, then syndicated through K-Rock in New York City, and later broadcast on Sirius XM Radio. Dell'Abate was originally hired for $350 (approximately $1,000 today) a week, with duties including getting Stern's lunch and scheduling guests for the show.
Previously nicknamed "Boy Gary" (Howard called his college roommate Dr. Lew Weinstein "boy" when giving an order; preceded by "Boy" Lee Davis at WNBC), Dell'Abate's "Baba Booey" moniker originated on The Howard Stern Show on July 26, 1990, after telling a story of his prized collection of animation cels. In the course of discussing a Quick Draw McGraw cel he might purchase, he misstated the name of McGraw's sidekick Baba Looey as Baba Booey. As is typical of the show, the rest of the cast "goofed" on his mistake, becoming especially merciless since he was mulling the purchase of a cel of a character without even knowing the character's correct name. Speaking to Howard at the end of the show, Dell'Abate said, "I think we've taken this as far as it will go." Howard Stern replied, "Gary, we've only scratched the surface of this." Dell'Abate remains Baba Booey to this day. Eventually he titled his autobiography They Call Me Baba Booey. Dell'Abate later recalled that when he watched the cartoon as a child, Quick Draw would often call Baba Looey "Baba Boy," usually in frantic moments ("Help me, Baba Boy!"). Quick Draw's drawn-out pronunciation of "boy" often sounded like "booey," which led Dell'Abate to think that the character's name was actually "Baba Booey."
"Baba Booey" as a term has become a mantra for fans of The Howard Stern Show and is often used during crank calls to live network television or radio broadcasts. For example, a call made to ABC News during the low-speed police chase of O. J. Simpson's Ford Bronco through the streets of Brentwood, Los Angeles, California, signed off with "And Baba Booey to y'all!" Sportscaster Al Michaels explained to anchor Peter Jennings the significance of the phrase. More recently, Freestyle wrestler Jake Herbert yelled "Baba Booey" as the camera panned over Team USA during the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games. Beginning in 2013, there have been hundreds of instances on the PGA Tour in which spectators have shouted "Baba Booey!" as soon as a golfer has completed his swing.
Dell'Abate has been married since 1992 to Mary Dell'Abate (née Caracciolo). They have two sons, Lucas and Jackson.
Dell'Abate is an avid New York Mets fan, and, on May 9, 2009 he threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Mets game. The pitch is ranked on many lists as the worst throw ever, "the most embarrassing ceremonial first pitch in baseball history.", as it landed down the third-base line and hit an umpire. Dell'Abate is also a fan of the New York Islanders hockey team, and was interviewed for the 2012 book, Dynasty: The Oral History of the New York Islanders, 1972–1984, by author Greg Prato. Dell'Abate's thoughts and memories of following the Islanders (he also interned for the television station that broadcast the team's games at the time, SportsChannel) are featured throughout the book, as well as several photos of Dell'Abate with Islanders players at a Stanley Cup victory parade in 1980.
- "They Call Me Baba Booey". Random House. Retrieved April 29, 2010.
- "Alumni Profiles in Success: Gary Dell'Abate". Adelphi University. Archived from the original on 19 July 2011. Retrieved 30 June 2013.
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- Vigdor, Neil (15 March 2011). "Stern show producer basks in afterglow of parks board approval". Greenwich Citizen. Retrieved 12 April 2011.
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- Dynasty: The Oral History of the New York Islanders, 1972-1984. Retrieved 2012-12-30.
- Vigdor, Neil (2011-03-14). "RTM approves Dell'Abate to parks board seat". Stamford Advocate. Retrieved 2011-03-17.