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CRASH AND BURN by Artie Lange


by Artie Lange with Anthony Bozza

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 2013
ISBN: 978-1-4767-6511-2
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon & Schuster

A tedious tale of substance abuse told by a self-admitted opiate-addicted, self-loathing slob.

Comedian Lange (Too Fat to Fish, 2008), best known as a co-host on Howard Stern’s radio show, has made a lucrative career of being obnoxious. The author explains he was driven to make listeners laugh by “busting people’s chops” and boasts that his cocaine- and heroin-fueled tantrums on the air and train-wreck TV appearances were legendary. Written with the assistance of former Rolling Stone writer Bozza (co-author: Slash, 2007, etc.), Lange’s story has careened from bender to binge, with a few half-hearted attempts at getting straight. Considering his severely altered state during his two-year slide, his recall of how many Vicodin pills he smashed and snorted, and every prostitute he hired is remarkable. Throughout this overlong book, he remains aware of the grief he caused loved ones who tried to help him get better, but he's also proud of the heights of obnoxiousness he reached. To his credit, Lange doesn’t blame others for his becoming an addict, nor does he expect anyone to clean up the mess he made. But he is a contradiction, aware he feels equally shameful and proud of his wasted condition, and explains that he was driven by both greed and love for the drugs he hates. Ultimately, his stories of countless blackouts and emergency room visits become tiresome. Reading the book is like watching a fly bounce off the window screen after you open it, refusing to escape despite your encouragement and exasperation, and Lange’s self-indulgence makes it tough to feel much sympathy for him. He describes feeling “paralyzed with depression, guilt and embarrassment” after he moved in with his mother, but his repeated refusals to stay in treatment programs try readers’ patience.

For Howard Stern devotees, the stoners who harassed members of the school band in the high school cafeteria, and all their buddies doubled over with laughter beside them.