This book is pretty intense. Was it hard to write?
It wasn’t hard writing once I made the decision. I think making the decision was a lot harder than actually writing it.
Your mom is still alive.
Yeah, I see her twice a week. I drop by and give her a cupcake for cupcake Wednesday and then I try to bring her home to my house on weekends when I can.
Was she okay with you writing the book?
I talked to her about it. I told her what it was going to be. I’m not blindsiding her, that’s for sure.
Does she realize how tough it was for you growing up?
No, my mother definitely doesn’t think anything went too wrong but I think that happens a lot when you’re in these dysfunctional families, they don’t recognize it. The problem was that she was on medication back then but she was on all sorts of medication and it wasn’t being properly monitored. It was all over the place. I felt my mom had a chemical imbalance and if she could have found another treatment earlier on it would have been a whole different life for her and for me.
When Howard would complain about his parents didn’t you want to scream, ‘You don’t know what a bad childhood is?’
The weird thing is I didn’t know that I had a bad childhood, I really didn’t. I just thought my mom was a little out there. It takes some distance and maturity to realize that things are different.
What’s your favorite Baba Booey shout out?
It just happened the other day. There was a really good Baba Booey mention on ‘The Simpsons.’ My kids are huge Simpsons fans so I just think that’s cool.
Isn’t it weird how famous those words have become?
I say it’s like a battle cry for the show. It’s like a secret handshake. If you yell out Baba Booey it’s not really about me. It’s I’m in the club, you’re in the club. It’s crazy; I thought that joke was over that morning. Sometimes when people say it to me they say it in a really obnoxious way but as a general rule it’s a fun word and when people say it they’re usually pretty happy.
How do you stand being picked on so much?
I joke around that my mother inadvertently prepared me for this job. I was at my shrink’s when we had this revelation. He said, ‘So everyday when you went home you weren’t sure if you were going to get kicked, emotionally, or hugged when you opened the door. You never knew what was on the other side of that door. Does it sound like anything else?’
So you’re recreating your childhood at work.
That’s one way of looking at it or that I’m the perfect guy for the job.
Ever cry in the toilet?
No! The one time I was upset was after my girlfriend broke up with me and Howard was mocking me, it was bothering me and Howard just told me to grow up. We’re all thick skinned here. If you can’t stand the heat you better get out of the kitchen. You won’t last long here if you go to the bathroom to cry.
So seriously Howard hasn’t told you if he’s retiring?
To the best of my knowledge he hasn’t made any decision, if he’s made it he hasn’t told us anything.
What do you think?
I think that he wants to continue to work. He’s made that very evident on the radio and where that is, is I think the question.
What are you going to do if he leaves?
I have thought about my future. I’ve gone out and taken a couple of meetings with different people just to what if but I want to work here. I want him to sign another three or five year deal. But inevitably I think the next deal is the last deal no matter what so I have to get ready anyway.
Why do you think Howard has such a terrible reputation?
I think it all comes from people who don’t listen to the show. Headlines are killers, sometimes people have written really great articles about Howard but with shitty headlines. They don’t know the show but they know he’s the guy who talks dirty, or he’s the guy who the FCC is after so they’ve formulated in their minds that they don’t like him.
He’s definitely my favorite interviewer.
He does such a great job. He really does make people forget they’re on the radio.
Does your wife get jealous of the porn stars and strippers?
I think we’re long past that. No she doesn’t. If she did she would have left a long time ago. I’m not allowed to touch but I think that’s a fair rule. She thinks we’re just a bunch of juvenile idiots and she’s not far off.
Any updates on Artie?
I speak to Artie fairly often. I spoke to him two weeks ago. He seems to be doing well. Every time I speak to him I think he’s a little bit better. He’s just trying to make his way and get it all together. I saw him not long after everything happened in January and the guy I spoke to the other week is a million times better than the guy in January.
Think he’ll come back?
I don’t know the answer to that. It depends when he’s ready what he’s capable of doing.
What’s the more embarrassing moment? The “hello hello” tape or the Mets first pitch?
God they’re so close. They both give me the same feeling of misery and dread. It’s one of those things where if you ask me on two different days the answer will be different. I think the “hello hello” tape is a little bit worse.
I can’t stand Ralph.
That’s why people love him. They love to hate him.
He just irritates me.
You’re not alone. I think he serves a function on the show. I think he’s a villain. He’s not completely without value. When he’s not being a dick to me I really do like him a lot.
How embarrassing was it when your mom called Howard’s mom?
It was mortifying because I was already living in the city on my own. I was a grown man with a job. As embarrassing and mortifying as it was it’s also sort of part of the charm of my mother. That wasn’t my mother acting crazy that was her being protective.
Does it bother you to wear the beekeeper’s mask?
I don’t wear it that much anymore but yeah I don’t like wearing the beekeeper’s mask. I don’t like wearing it because the girls look at me like I have a disease