In over 40 years in the radio business, Howard Stern has conducted many interviews. His new book, Howard Stern Comes Again is part career retrospective as Howard looks back on memorable interviews. Order your copy of Howard Stern Comes Again.
Howard Stern and Robin Williams interview
Talking with The Hollywood Reporter, Howard named the one interview that left him with his biggest regret. The shock-jock reveals that the interview he wishes he had done differently was with Robin Williams. Howard explains that he was in a position in life where he felt invincible, and at times he treated his guests poorly. Unfortunately, the stand-up comic Robin Williams was on the receiving end of Howard’s nastiness during this interview.
About the Robin Williams interview Howard says:
“I loved Robin Williams, but there I am beating him over the head with, like, ‘Hey, I hear you’re f—king your nanny?’ I could have had a great conversation, but I’m playing to the audience,” he said. “They want to hear outrageousness, and that’s my arrogance thinking that Robin Williams can’t entertain my audience. How stupid am I?”
In Howard Stern Comes Again, he goes on to explain that this time before he went to SiriusXM, was particularly nasty. He says that he would be contentious with guests that he perceived as having good careers. Howard says that he was in a position where he felt no one was as deserving of praise than him so when he had interviews with guests like Robin Williams, or Rosie O’Donnell he would be antagonistic.
Of that time in his career, Howard says that he was playing to his audience. The audience wanted him to be more and more outrageous, and this worked up to a point. Howard says that his years of therapy have helped him understand his behavior was wrong and looking back on some of the situations he has regret.
Did Howard Stern apologize to Robin Williams for the interview?
No, Howard never apologized to Robin Williams. Howard said, many years later through therapy he realized that he needed to reach out and apologize to Robin. He said he was trying to track down Robin’s phone number when the comedian committed suicide. Howard says in the book:
“Years later, I realized I finally needed to apologize,” Stern continues. “It took me twenty years to work up the nerve. I was in the midst of tracking down his phone number, and the next day he died. I’m still filled with sadness over his loss and remorse for my failure to reach out sooner.”
How did Howard Stern evolve as a shock-jock over the years?
Starting his career in the ‘70s, Howard used his outrageousness to gain a particular audience. By interviewing strippers, porn stars and other interesting characters, Howard Stern quickly became known as a shock-jock. While Howard has embraced the shock-jock label, he has changed his style over the last few years. He had this to say about evolving:
“I loved the idea that we’d go on the air and measure our penises or discuss vaginal secretions — whatever it was, if it freaked you out, I loved it because, to me, it was not a big deal. But now I find it gross. And I’d feel really fucking shitty if I hadn’t evolved. I’d be completely out of step with the times.”