If chucking a water bottle at your personal assistant, then having to be physically restrained, then quitting on air doesn't get you fired from Sirius radio, then what does? In a bizarre conclusion to the great mystery that lots of people couldn't care less about but that a few people care a lot about, Artie Lange returned, contrite and reasonably controlled, to "The Howard Stern Show" this morning. The show tried feebly to draw out the tension as to whether Lange was in the studio — ah, the wonderful blindness of radio — as caller after caller asked if "he quit or what." Then one caller blew the show's cover when he recognized Lange's laugh. Then Lange said. "Yes, I am here." Then he apologized.
Apparently, Lange spent much of that latter part of last week fielding concerned calls from everyone from Mel Karmazin to David Spade to Jimmy Kimmel. (Spade even offered to let Lange crash at his house for awhile, though as Stern pointed out, "Staying at David Spade's house may not be the best thing.") He's realized that the Stern show is his "family," leaving fans to wager on when the next outburst will come. One caller asked Howard, "Why does he get chance after chance after chance?," which Stern neglected to answer.
As for Teddy, the beleaguered assistant and water-bottle target in question, he's apparently still in Lange's employ, and Lange called him "a good kid." Which will, one suspects, stave off the lawsuit, at least for now. —Adam Sternbergh