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October 25, 2010

Book Review: Too Fat to Fish by Artie Lange

Too Fat to Fish by Artie Lange; Anthony Bozza
Artie Lange is a fascinating guy. He's had the world and his career by the balls for almost a decade. Though he may not be an instantly recognizable name to some, he's been the best part of The Howard Stern Show since he took over for Jackie "The Joke Man" Martling. I didn't pick up the book until after his bizarre suicide attempt almost a year ago. After reading all that Artie's been through, I can understand why a guy like him feels depressed.


Like most comedians, Artie Lange isn't just a non-stop ball of jokes. He's a regular guy who got to pursue an amazing lifestyle. Unfortunately, he hit several speed bumps along the way.

Artie was born in New Jersey to a set of loving parents. His dad was a guy that was always looking for a way to get rich, and sometimes it got him into trouble. After falling off a roof, he was paralyzed, and Artie started down a few rough avenues. One was drinking. Another was gambling. Eventually, Artie got hooked on cocaine, then pills, then heroine, and he had to kick all three. I'm leaving a lot out, but I could never do Artie's stories justice.
The stories are spectacular and well told. You halfway don't want to believe them, but you also realize that they couldn't be made up. From the self-sabotage at MadTV to his attachment to The Howard Stern Show until his USO trip, Artie becomes someone you feel and root for. I was on a plane heading to my grandmother's funeral when I started reading the book. It was a bad time to read about the night Artie's dad died. It was so thoughtful and heart breaking. I had to stop. Imagine sitting in the middle seat in coach trying not to lose your shit. Not fun, but I think reading it at that moment helped me in some way.

Too Fat to Fish ends on a positive note. Artie doesn't exactly say that everything is fine and good, but he seems optimistic. Reading that made his suicide attempt more confusing, though it wasn't his first, according to the book. He promises a second book on the back of the book jacket, and I hope we get to see it. He's a funny guy and has plenty to share. Here's a funny clip of him on The Late Show with David Letterman.

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