Artie Lange Bags a Buck

Dan YokeCorrespondent IJune 16, 2009

JACKSONVILLE, FL - FEBRUARY 6:  (L-R) FOX game broadcasters Cris Collinsworth, Troy Aiken and Joe Buck during the XXXIX Superbowl pregame show at Alltel Stadium on February 6, 2005 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Frank Micelotta/Getty Images)

I woke up today to listen to my favorite radio show, “The Howard Stern Show,” and heard caller after caller express their strong opinions on sidekick Artie Lange’s provocative appearance on the inaugural “Joe Buck Live” show. 

Some people claimed that it was the rudest, most obnoxious sabotage of a show they had ever witnessed on live television. Others said that it was the single greatest guest appearance in the history of television. 

What everyone seemed to agree on was that it was very interesting, and a definite must see.

If you subscribe to the theory that there is no such thing as bad publicity then Artie certainly did a wonderful job. However, according to a “USA Today” article this morning Joe Buck is trying to make it seem as though he is outraged by Lange’s behavior.

I am not trying to convince anyone that Artie did or did not cross a line. If you like racey, dirty humor you will love it. If you are easily offended, you will be.

As for me, I could care less.

The reason I felt compelled to make this statement is that I felt it needed to be pointed out that this whole stunt was a manipulative and two faced attempt to create publicity by Joe Buck and his producer.

If anyone feels that Joe Buck has any right to be outraged, let’s take a look at the plain facts. As the host of the show I would assume that Buck has a fairly good amount of say as to who gets booked on his show.

If you concede that thought to me then you must find it equally strange that Buck would have a guest on from the Stern show and not expect something a little edgy to happen. 

If Buck goes to the store to buy chocolate ice cream, does he get mad when he opens it up at home and finds that it isn’t vanilla? Does he go into a strip club and get offended by the nudity?

If you are a guest on a talk show you must clear your topics of conversation with a segment producer. Artie claims that he met with producers who told him that if the other guests were boring he had permission to go wild.

Watch the show and come to your own conclusions about whether the other guests were boring or not (snore).

Also, Buck told Lange before the show that he was a huge fan. He even claimed to have watched Artie’s movie “Beer League” and watched his stand up act, “It’s the Whiskey Talking.” 

If this is true (and I stress “if”), then Buck had heard two thirds of the jokes Lange told before last night.

If you, as a host, are really upset with a guest there are two ways to handle it. You can have him removed from the stage, or you can ignore his comments and stop asking him questions.

If you watch the segment Buck does neither. In fact, there are clearly times when Buck could have changed the topic but tried to jab Lange with an insulting comment instead. And to my knowledge, a play-by-play man has never won a battle of wits with a stand up comedian.

My take on this is that Joe Buck definitely was offended by Artie Lange last night. But the reason he was offended had less to do with obscene material and more to do with Artie pointing out how truly awkward Buck is as a talk show host.

This was a calculated move by the people in the Joe Buck camp to drum up publicity for a new show. It has succeeded. Buck should kiss Artie, because without his appearance the only headline Buck’s show would have garnered would have been “Stick to baseball, Buck”.

I’m not asking you to like Artie Lange, or to not be offended by what he says—that is your prerogative. What I am saying is that you shouldn’t feel sorry for Joe Buck or pretend that he was blindsided by Lange’s vulgar display.

The Artie Lange appearance on Joe Buck Live did exactly what it was supposed to do—ensure that Buck will get a second show. Maybe that is the most offensive thing of all.