Perhaps the shocking thing is that there is an audience—make that a huge audience—for the way guys talk sitting around a bar. But here we are in the rabbit-eared, offend-at-your-peril '90s. A torch tongue like Stern cuts through heaps of what might strike guys in a bar as "phony, backslapping, kiss-ass sucking up to anybody" (Stern, delicately critiquing Arsenio Hall).
But don't call Howard a Shock Jock. Try his own favored moniker: King of All Media. And smile when you say it. For starters, Stern's top-rated radio program amuses and/or offends 3 million listeners each day. Private Parts sold more than 1 million copies in its first two weeks, hit No. 1 on the bestseller list and attracted 45,000 fanatics to three book signings in New York City and Philadelphia. The Howard Stern Interview is one of the highest-rated programs on E! Entertainment Television. Stern's upcoming soft-porn special, The Miss Howard Stern New Year's Eve Pageant, insiders predict, may earn him $5 million and become the most popular non-sports pay-per-view show ever. A movie could be next.
Maybe most shocking is that the man who boasts he has "a tongue like an anteater's" has been, as he says, "happily married" for 15 years and lives on Long Island with his wife, Alison, and their three daughters. But he can dream, can't he? "It would be great to have all this success and be single," he says. "I'd be orgying every night."
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