I finally get into Howard Stern’s studio for the first time and what do we talk about? What else? Small penises. How appropriate.
I was headed in yesterday morning to talk about Lotus Notes vs. Google with Howard’s tech guru, IBM’s Jeff Schick, and get a tour of the studio and its operation. Then Howard invited us in, on the air. We talked geek stuff for a few minutes (more on that later) when Howard asked what I was up to next. I came prepared. I said I was working on a possible book about publicness (new idea) and wanted to talk to him about it. Ask what you have to ask on the air, Howard said. So I asked him whether he had regrets about his public life and about his view that people are better off public. He said he thought his listeners were better off because he was willing to talk about anything, even masturbation and lesbians.
I told Howard that he had cleared the way for me to — even inspired me to — talk about my prostate cancer in public. Howard, of course, cut to the blunt question: “Are you getting it up now?” Answer: no.
We talked about the gory, intimate details of prostate cancer: the strange, “internal” orgasms; the harpoons up the ass for biopsies; the garden hose out of the dick after surgery. The cast groaned at each of these. “You fucking shut me up,” Howard said. I fear I was discouraging men from getting tested when I meant to do the opposite. And Howard acknowledged, as hard as it was, that he, too, would have opted to get the cancer out. Hell, he can’t stand sniffing brass polish on his condo door without thinking he’s getting cancer.
I wish I were funnier and more fun. Over the years, I’ve called into the show about the First Amendment and the FCC, about gadgets and geek stuff, and now about cancer. What a ball of fun I am. Good thing we didn’t talk 9/11.
It was great fun visiting the show. On the air, as a guest, I stood right inside the door, by a wall behind the couch, with a headset and mic on. To my right was Fred and I was delighted the first time he played a sound effect to back up what I was saying. I got Fredded! To my left was Jeff Schick and behind him, behind glass, Robin. Howard sat three-quarters of the way across the studio — quite a distance — in his command center, looking a little gaunt (too much exercise, I’d say), and beyond him was the Wheel of Sex and the Gary puppet and all that.
As soon as the show went to break, folks walked into the studio, Howard chatted a bit, and I left him to his work. Outside the studio. Steve Langford of Howard 100 News held his mic in front of me sucking quotes out with his puppy-dog silences. They take video. They get releases.
And then Jeff and I toured, meeting Scott the Engineer, Sal and RIchard (so polite), the Howard TV folks, and more. The amazingly nice Gary Dell’Abate and I talked gadgets. What impresses me is just how nice these folks are. Makes you want to work there, even with the ball-busting.
LATER: Howard talked about prostate cancer again this morning after having obsessed on it last night: “I was so upset for him. And then of course, it turned to me and I have cancer…. Seems to me that doctors ought to sit down and figure out how to remove prostate cancer without removing a guy’s boner…. Every male on the planet should be donating money to prostate cancer research….
“I just had a bad day with that. Every day seems like a bad day to me because everything drives me nuts.”