Believe it or not, the T&A is actually NOT the best part of the show, despite the fact that non-Stern listeners seem to think that it' the only thing the Howard Stern show is about.
Let' be honest- boobs on the radio can only be interesting for so long. What' really kept fans tuning in since the local Channel 9 TV show days is the feeling that we're listening in on a family- a highly dysfunctional family- but a family, nonetheless. Of all the many facets of the show, the strange camaraderie between Stern and his sidekicks is what we hope stays intact after the move to Sirius.
Here are our favorite moments…
CRACKED' Top 25 Stern Show Moments
25. Artie Lange gets ridiculously drunk in Las Vegas -- and cameras capture every hilariously slurred insult. The carnage is currently up on Howard On Demand (check local cable listings).
24. The Jackie Puppet- commanded by Billy "Ren & Stimpy" West in the mid-'90s-was one brutal block of wood. Most common victim? Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling, of course.
23. World's Meanest Listener Contest: Listeners submit entries roasting the staff of the Stern show. Slipping through a loophole in the system, the Reverend Bob Levy wins, barely beating out Yucko the Clown and Sal the Stockbroker.
22. Backside Boys (animation): This animated parody music video for the Backside Boys' "I Went the Gay Way" is the stuff of legend. The video should be launched into space as an ambassador of the Planet Earth.
21. Craig Gass as Gene Simmons: The anti-Christopher Walken impression. Have you EVER heard of anyone doing a Gene Simmons impression before? Craig-along with Stern crew writing-did everything with this that should be done with an impression: spot-on voice, and (moderate) exaggeration of what makes the real-life Gene what he is… a KISS marketing whore! And then ultimately, Gene met "Gene." Phenomenal.
20. AJ Benza bitch-slaps Stuttering John- and gets banned from the show-almost surreal.
19. "Brown Fingers" video starring Scott the Engineer — circa 1995: The crew alleged that Scott' smoking was so out of control that the cigarette tar was actually staining his fingers brown. Thusly was born a parody of the Stones' "Brown Sugar" and an accompanying music video starring Scott Salem as a seven-foot cigarette.
18. Wood-Yee: He will be missed, as we cannot confirm he's moving over to Sirius. Played by Woody Allen sound-alike Steve the Engineer, he would often sit in when the show had an attractive female guest on… of the Asian persuasion. Typical Wood-Yee proposition: "Go ahead and swallow, I don't contain any MSG." And there were hundreds more.
17. Rita G has the World's Most Perfect Natural Breasts: What was most hilarious about this episode was the legion of K-Rock male employees who were "skeptical" of them being real, and lined up to squeeze them for themselves. Benjy actually resorted to a taste test. (Currently available On Demand).
16. Hollyweird Squares: The game show spoof, using different Wack Pack permutations each time, would throw in an occasional real celebrity for good measure. One hilarious tangent that comes to mind is Howard asking Daniel "KKK Guy" Carver if he'd allow Jeff "The Drunk" Curro into his white-hooded club. Daniel said that he'd have to ask Jeff a few questions first, to see if he'd qualify. Jeff to Daniel: "Ask me the questions, bitch." That disqualified Jeff, right there.
Continue on to moments 15 through 6
15. Elegant Elliott Offen is either legitimately insane or SO sane that he has us all fooled. Either way, he's hilarious. Anyone who' lived on New York's Upper East Side has had the pleasure of seeing him run right up 2nd Avenue in lingerie. Or whatever the fuck he wears when he runs.
14. High-Pitched Eric' dead fish phobia: What kind of guy is like 300 pounds, yet is afraid of a dead cod? The same retard whose voice sounds like Mickey Mouse got hit in the nuts. Of all his oddities- and much to the delight of the E! crew- it was discovered that dead fish paralyze Eric with fear.
13. Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf is one guy who won't be making the move to Sirius for sure. With unforgettable quips like, "Go have sex with Jesus Christ, you faggot!" Hank will be dearly missed as long as angry drunken dwarfs are funny (read forever).
12. The Girl who "Lights up a Room": Of the dozens (hundreds?) of evaluations that have been conducted over the years- be it for Playboy, or the Intern Beauty Pageants- this one from 1997 stands out. Judges Kevin Smith, Jason Mewes and AJ Benza had to hand down the bad news to an aspiring actress who thought she "lit up a room." Not only did she not light up a room, Howard recommended that she go "light up a cigarette."
11. Jeff the Vomit Guy: This psychopath gets turned on from women puking on him. Or at least that' what he claims- might've all been a ploy to get on the show. Anyway, what made it eye-tearingly hilarious was not him getting yakked on, but listening to Howard and crew watch him get yakked on. Bababooey gagging over a bucket. Way before MTV knew what Jackass was.
10. The Channel 9 Show: Once a year, Howard let' a caller through asking about when this will finally be released on DVD. We're still waiting on the good news. It seems to be out of Howard' control- an ownership issue. The Channel 9 Show (WWOR-NY) '90-'92 TV run was many a fans' first intro to Howard, or at least provided the shocking revelation that Robin Quivers wasn't white. From Kenneth Keith Kallenbach attempting to blow smoke out of his eyes to Stuttering John "interviewing" Imelda Marcos, to the final episode' no-questions-barred "Sternlywed Game," no one could believe what we were seeing. Howard got away with murder every week. It was the greatest.
9. Erica the Gymnast: Possibly the sweetest, cutest girl-next-door ever on the show… looking to win implants. Killer athletic body, but yes, her chest was flatter than a week-old open soda. It didn't matter to Howard and the guys, though- they found her so endearing (and fit) that they basically begged her NOT to get the implants. This was the epitome of the "human" Howard shining through: he adjusts his interaction with a woman based on that particular woman. If you're a slut, he interacts with you as such. If you're not a slut, he ratchets up the respect. Well, to a certain degree"¦ this is The Howard Stern Show, after all. The guys clearly all fell in love with Erica, but unfortunately after some semi-innocent nudity, she won the saline bags she was after"¦ with the Howard restriction that she "wouldn't go too big." (Currently available On Demand.)
8. Battle of Wits (Beetlejuice vs Gary the Retard) We're sure many Stern fans would rank this in their Top 3, if not the pole position. With IQs rivaling the final score of most baseball games, Beetlejuice and Gary engaged in a trivia bloodbath moderated by Howard. Brain-bending questions included spelling "RED"-which Beetlejuice couldn't achieve, despite Gary (sitting right next to him) spelling it correctly THREE times. Right in front of him. Funniest aspect of all of this? Jackie cackling in the background throughout the entire contest.
7. The Jesus Twins: To this day, some maintain that these guys (along with their "manager") were a comedy troupe. Robin really thought so. In early 1997, right before Howard' Private Parts movie was set for release, The Jesus Twins- emulating obnoxious rock stars- demanded to be on the radio show, demanded to have their music played and demanded that it be included on the Private Parts soundtrack. They accomplished the first two. These guys were SO obnoxious and SO ridiculous in their approach, that Howard actually loved them. Gary, Jackie and Stuttering John felt the opposite"¦ and on top of that, the twins almost got into fisticuffs with Crackhead Bob, right there in the studio!
6. Win Fred's Money: The quiet sound effects genius of the show- who' been with Howard the longest- sometimes gets to make noise that' not pre-recorded. His impressions are A+, but there' no better spotlight venue for him than Win Fred' Money, in which a listener or occasional celebrity challenge his general world knowledge, a la Ben Stein. Confident, but never cocky, Fred Norris usually kicks ass. Once in a blue moon he' defeated, but mild-mannered Fred just shrugs it off.
Continue on to moments 5 through 1
5. Stuttering John kidnaps the Gary Puppet: That very same Fred Norris does a mean Gary Dell'Abate impression, especially when operating the beloved Gary Puppet. Introduced circa 1994 and becoming the instant star of the new E! show, Howard loved the Gary Puppet more than his own children. Despite Howard' plea that the puppet remain safely in the studio, Gary (the real one, that is) brought it along to a weekend personal appearance"¦ only for it to be ripped off, right under his teeth! After letting poor Bababooey sweat it out for a few days- including a ransom demand from the "kidnapper"- Howard and the crew revealed it all to be an elaborate practical joke. Orchestrated, of course, by dickhead Stuttering John.
4. Al Michaels / "I see OJ" prank call: Remember the good ol' days, before hurricanes, tsunamis and terrorist attacks? When we had REAL disasters worthy of media coverage, like football legends running from the law? 1994 was a very special year… especially for prank phone calls to major news networks. Amazing that it took Al Michaels to decode the word "Bababooey" for the American public. Really, could this ever be pulled off again?
3. Howard withdraws from NY Governors race: Howard enters the 1994 NY Gubernatorial race… then quits. The press conference during which he makes his drop-out announcement is the epitome of out-of-the-studio Howard: some sincere answers juxtaposed with hilarious barbs at the news media.
2. Scott the Engineer's "Push-up Challenge": Possibly the greatest skill of Howard' is manipulating a small internal dispute into a water-cooler event. In late 1997, a debate emerged over how many push-ups Scott (heart-is-a-time bomb) the Engineer could do. He couldn't even do one. Somehow, this snowballed into a challenge for Scott to do 17 pushups, with all kinds of betting and counter-betting on the event. Scott was given two months to get in shape for the task, and coming back from the holiday break in early 1998, was put to the test. Did he do it? Yes and no. And, no and yes. The final verdict was Scott conceding "No,"after he reviewed the tape of his attempt. As with Stuttering John' boxing matches, the most entertaining facet of all of this was not the actual event, but the weeks of hype leading up to it. Howard On Demand right now has available "Scott Goes Berserk," an "incident" that occurred during Scott' training period- looking at it in context now, perhaps it was Scott' 'roid rage.
1. Gary' "I want you back" tape, aka "The Babapology": OK, this Top 25 list wasn't at all meant for those unfamiliar with the Stern show. It was by a fan, for the fans. If you've come this far, and don't know this Gary tape-this EVENT-it' like being a Star Trek fan and not knowing Spock dies at the end of Wrath of Khan. It' just not conceivable that you wouldn't know it. And just like Spock dying in Trek II, Gary Dell'Abate died a bit in June of 1999, when this tape was "outed." But hey, money changes everything. For a detailed account of that legendary week, please visit Mark Mercer' Marksfriggin.com.
Currently, available in its pure, unedited form On Demand. Hopefully, we'll soon also get the in-studio analysis version. Just edging out Scott' pushups for our top spot, can't wait for the Sirius show to give us something even more ridiculous to displace it! Congrats to Howard and the crew on their move and new home!
Special thanks to the following online Stern archives:
www.marksfriggin.com (for exhaustive, jaw-droppingly detailed accounts of the radio show, archived back to 1996)
www.animaux.net/stern/eshows.html (for a detailed list of every E! show)
www.tvmegasite.net:8080/prime/shows/howard/sternepi.shtml (for a detailed list of every Channel 9 show)