Chatting with Artie Lange
Thu, Jun 25, 2009 (midnight)
Illustration by Jerry Miller
How is your health?
I’m healthier than I’ve probably been in five years. I took some drastic steps in my life to keep myself entirely drug-free and alcohol-free. I’ve been exercising every day, and I’ve dropped 40 pounds in the past month. I feel fantastic. So right now, stuff is beautiful. My mother and sister really were worried about me. They shoulda been. You don’t think clearly. I had a bad cocaine problem in the ’90s. The last five years have been heroin. Opiates and booze. I think I’ve gotten to the point probably where I got with coke. I haven’t done coke in 12 years. I haven’t done heroin in over a couple months. I hope it works out.
Were you surprised by the response your book, Too Fat to Fish, received upon its release?
Yeah! I think they sold over half a million books so far. The paperback version [just came out]. I actually wrote a new chapter in the book about when I missed the [Bob] Saget roast. I turned green ’cause I took a bad combination of drugs. I told a bunch of friends of mine who have kids that are 4 or 5, at the next birthday party, hire me. Because I can play the Hulk for real. I can turn green in front of your kids: Just have an ounce of heroin, some Sobox and a quart of whiskey. I think I’ll start doing that for private parties.
But Too Fat ... the success is unbelievable. It’s sorta touching. A lot of it’s funny, but a lot of it’s about crazy stuff that happened in my life. Some fans are like, “We laughed, we cried, and we love you even more,” which is nice. Too Fat to Fish was such a success that before the book actually hit stores, based on all the presales on Amazon, Random House gave me a second deal. So I’ll write the second book.
Is it in the same vein, autobiographical?
They wanted the same exact setup. They said, “Do you have any more loser stories?” and I was like, “Oh my God, I have enough for 50 books!” So it’ll be a bunch of nonlinear stories. I wanted each story to stand on its own, so you could just pick up the book, go to a story and read. So the next book will be the same exact format.
Do you have a dream project in the back of your mind?
I guess I’d love to do a follow up to the movie Beer League. The guy who wrote it with me and directed it, we have another idea for a movie, and I’d love a chance to do that one day. Beer League was hard for me because I was doing it the same time I was doing the [Howard Stern] show. The buddy I did it with—Frank Sebastiano—we’re very proud of it. If I do a TV show or movie, I would just like to have creative control over it. I’m spoiled by the Stern show. I’ve done three major projects outside the Stern show in the eight years I’ve been on it: It’s the Whiskey Talking, Too Fat to Fish and Beer League. Whether you love them or hate them, I had total control over them because of the power of the Stern show, so I’ve become spoiled. Creatively, I’ve been in control of my own destiny the whole time. I did seven episodes of Rescue Me, and that was a fantastic show to do. They let you be yourself within the confines of the story and the script. Whatever I do after Stern, I just want to keep the creative freedom I have.