I’ve never been a listener of The Howard Stern Stern Show, but I vaguely knew who Artie Lange was before picking up Too Fat to Fish and seeing him demolish Joe Buck on live TV earlier this week. Artie is a fat comedian who has struggled with drugs his whole life, and was in the massively underrated film Dirty Work. Too Fat to Fish isn’t an amazing piece of literature, but it has some funny stories, mostly revolving around cocaine abuse and Artie’s struggles to work in Hollywood and remain sober.
The biggest take away, whether genuine or contrived, is that deep down, Artie is a nice guy who has feelings and insecurities about his life and what he has done. Sure, he’s vulgar, insensitive and selfish, but he’s a successful comic. What do you expect? It’s obvious that his offensive stage persona has been crafted in a way to protect the real Artie, the one who we are exposed to in the book. The best stories–like him celebrating the Yankees’ 1977 World Series victory on the field with his dad, or how he tried to commit suicide at the Oakwoods Apartments in L.A. (Hey! I lived there too! That generic coffee table he did blow off, I had that in my place too!)– are the ones where he is completely honest and cuts through the bullshit.
Too Fat to Fish is a summer page turner that is a must read for Artie fans, and definitely something to check out if you’re into comedy or doing massive amounts of drugs. According to Artie on Adam Carolla’s podcast this past week he’s two and a half months sober and has lost 40 pounds. That’s great but as I’ve learned from reading his chapters, good things don’t last, and his fall off the wagon will make for an even better sequel.
But I hope I’m wrong.