Artie Lange Overview:
Quick Artie Lange Facts:
- Artie Lange was born and raised in Union, New Jersey.
- He started doing stand-up comedy and sketch comedy in New York City in the late 1980s.
- In 1995, Lange became an original cast member on the sketch comedy MAD TV. He was fired halfway through his second season for legal troubles and substance abuse.
- In 2001, Lange became a member on Howard Stern's nationally syndicated radio show, The Howard Stern Show.
- He released his first stand-up DVD, It's the Whiskey Talkin', in 2004.
- In 2008, Lange released his first book, called Too Fat to Fish.
Young Artie Lange:
Losing a Father and Finding Comedy:
In 1985, Lange's father -- a roofer -- fell off a ladder and broke his neck, becoming a quadriplegic. He died just over four years later.
While taking care of his father, Lange began performing stand-up around New York City. He performed in dinner theater and founded his own sketch comedy group, called Live on Tape. After his father died, Lange got a job as a longshoreman in New Jersey, but after saving up enough money to live off of for a while, he decided to give being a full-time stand-up comic a try. He spent the early 1990s doing comedy and driving a taxi to support himself.
Artie Lange Gets MAD:
In 1995, Lange was cast in the brand-new FOX sketch comedy, MAD TV. During this time, he created several popular characters on recurring sketches like "That's My White Mama."
However, he was also struggling with a major cocaine and alcohol addiction during his time at MAD TV. After stints in rehab and an arrest for assaulting a police officer, Lange was fired from the sketch show during its second season. He spent a short time in jail, but eventually got out and cleaned up his act.
Dirty Work and The Norm Show:
In 1998, Lange returned to show business when he was cast opposite recently-fired Saturday Night Live cast member Norm MacDonald in the comedy Dirty Work. The film, directed by comedian Bob Saget, was a box office dud, but Lange's friendship with MacDonald -- and a visit to The Howard Stern Show to promote the film -- would lead to more opportunities.
In 2000, Lange joined the cast of MacDonald's low-rated ABC sitcom The Norm Show. The show was canceled a year later, but Lange's next gig was waiting in the wings.
A Face for Radio:
After several guest appearances on the show, Lange became a permanent cast member on The Howard Stern Show in 2001, filling the slot left when comedian Jackie Martling quit. He quickly became one of the most popular characters on the show, entertaining the radio audience (and Stern) with colorful stories from his past. When the show moved to SIRIUS Satellite Radio in 2006, Lange went along.
Lange's first stand-up DVD, It's the Whiskey Talkin', was released in 2004.
Artie Lange: Comedy Star, Movie Star:
During his years on the Stern show, Lange's stand-up career exploded. He began selling out theaters, and played a sold-out show at Carnegie Hall in 2006.
Also in 2006, Lange had his first starring role in a movie, Beer League, which he also co-wrote.
In 2008, he released his first book, called Too Fat to Fish (co-written with Anthony Bozza). The book is a memoir collecting stories from Lange's life, including the death of his father and his struggles with addiction. The book quickly found itself on The New York Times bestseller list.
His second comedy DVD and first stand-up album, Jack and Coke, were released in 2009.
Additional Artie Lange Facts:
- Lange has continued to act throughout his career, and has had small roles in films such as Old School, Elf and Mystery Men.
- He was scheduled to appear on The Comedy Central Roast of Bob Saget in 2008, but instead was in rehab for a heroin addiction relapse.
- In 2009, Lange created controversy after a very profane appearance on the first-ever episode of the HBO sports show Joe Buck Live. HBO claimed they would never have Lange back on any of the network's shows.
- In January of 2010, Lange was hospitalized for a suicide attempt in which he stabbed himself nine times. It was the second time the comedian had attempted suicide; the first involved an intentional drug overdose in the mid-'90s.
- In October 2011, Lange made a deal to co-host a syndicated sports talk radio show alongside comedian Nick DiPaolo called The Nick and Artie Show.