Howard Stern: 'I Admire Charlie Sheen'
"In a way, I'm in as weird a place as Charlie Sheen. He doesn't care at all and I care too much. Where's the middle ground?" says the radio show host.
Howard Stern says he has a lot in common with Charlie Sheen.
"I sort of admire Charlie Sheen's ability to say f**k you to the world. It's a fascinating car wreck because, you know, how many people are in Hollywood dying for a hit television show?" Stern tells Rolling Stone. "I don't know whether to give him a medal or to throw him in a loony bin. He doesn't care, and that's not me. Oh, I care! I care what my parents think, I care what you think, I care too much. In a way, I'm in as weird a place as Charlie Sheen. He doesn't care at all and I care too much. Where's the middle ground?"
Stern calls his early days on radio his "everything" and compares himself to Sheen again.
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"I had to win – at all costs, no holds barred. Not to sound like Charlie Sheen, but losing was not an option," he says. "I put in a lot of hours of work on it. I listened to every show back on tape. I sat there and thought everything through. I spent thousands of hours editing tapes, writing commercials, incorporating sound effects. I spent endless days and nights thinking about this and nothing else."
Not much has changed, despite his multimillion-dollar contract with SiriusXM.
"I enjoy doing the radio show every day. But the neurotic attention I devote to it and the inability to get rid of that insecurity is very fatiguing for me," he admits. "The curse is that I take it so seriously. I just can't walk out of here and say, 'I did a good show today and I'm very satisfied.' No, I gotta know, do you think I did a good show and are you satisfied? And that's the neurosis and that's the source of all problems for me."
He calls his show "maddening."
"Literally, after the show, I come back to my office, I do Transcendental Meditation and I pass out. My head is on fire," Stern says.
Stern calls himself "a people addict."
"That's what an addiction to people is: [The need for] attention, acclaim, validation. I think all of that is operating there. It's desperate," he says.
He's no fan of Rush Limbaugh.
"I get angry with performers like Rush Limbaugh who are just shills for the Republican Party. I'm not a big listener of his, but wouldn't he be a lot more interesting if once in a while he was for something that the Republican Party was against?"
"I thought he had a real opportunity with that whole drug-addiction thing to maybe open up and say, 'Man, I'm as confused as all of you.' But, no, he has to keep the persona. He's an expert. He knows everything. It's boring," he goes on. "The audience has to feel that growth. There are so many guys doing the same act, like Sean Hannity. If Limbaugh was the one guy who started talking about his insecurities, then he'd have a following that would be 10 times the size. If you want to go to the next level, you gotta open up a whole bunch more. That's the secret for anybody who's considering a career in radio."