If there’s one thing Howard Stern has made crystal clear during his 40 year career in radio, it’s this: he does not like to be edited. Not by the FCC, not by his program directors and certainly not by the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
The SiriusXM radio host opened Monday morning’s (May 7) show with a 20-plus minute rant about how irritated he was with the way his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction speech for Bon Jovi was edited for broadcast on HBO.
“I really crafted my words, I wanted to make people laugh. I wanted to have a good time,” Stern said at the top of Monday morning’s Howard 100 show, adding that he he was careful not to say anything unkind about any of the band members in what was an otherwise very irreverent, heartfelt speech. “I really crafted the thing…so some editor could determine if I was funny in places? They were probably like, ‘Hey, that’s a funny joke, but we gotta cut somewhere.’ No you don’t have to cut somewhere!”
Stern said that Rock Hall Foundation co-founder Jann Wenner and Azoff MSG Entertainment CEO Irving Azoff wanted him there so much that they flew him to Cleveland on a private jet so the travel-wary radio veteran could attend the event. “They wanted me there…ya got me there, now fucking air my fucking speech ya fucking cooks!” he shouted in mock anger.
Stern has devoted a number of segments in recent months to the process of Bon Jovi co-founder Jon Bon Jovi, asking him to induct the New Jersey band, as well as his crippling angst about writing a perfect speech, traveling to Cleveland and the general agita he’s suffered over the push and pull of doing a favor for his old friends and just wanting to stay home on the weekends and not be bothered with anything.
When Stern show producer Gary Dell’Abate chimed in that producers had cut about three minutes from Stern’s speech to fit the nearly three-hour broadcast for air, the host agreed that there were plenty of other speeches that could have been snipped. “Oh yeah, trust me there was another 15 minutes…I understand they have to edit it down,” he said, joking that a heavy-handed “intern” probably did the deed. (Spokespeople for the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and HBO could not be reached for comment at press time.)
“Who is the fucking genius who decided to cut me talking about the women [guitarist] Richie Sambora banged?” he asked, likening the Hall of Fame speech edits to his early days in radio when program directors insisted on having a heavy hand in slicing up his shows to his eternal consternation. “I want to know the comedy genius…I’ve sat in on these sessions. It’s kind of like, ‘Yeah, cut that!’ It’s like a butcher shop. ‘Cut the fat off!’ It’s like, ‘Yeah, well we gotta cut something.’ No, you don’t! If something’s good, you don’t cut it!” Stern said that he would have been okay with the edits, had producers come to him beforehand with an agreement that he would have approval on cuts.
“You can’t fly me to fucking Cleveland and ask me to make a speech and then edit the shit out of me,” he said, pointing out how some bits came off confusingly due to set-ups that were trimmed. “I wasn’t there talking about my career. I spent a lot of time on that and they spent three minutes deciding what should be in and out…They completely…gutted me. Like a rotting fish, which I am. That’s how I feel inside.” After the April 14 taping at the Public Auditorium Stern returned to air excited about what he said was a fun, sometimes R-rated roast/appreciation of his old friends. But following the HBO airing, he said he was bummed out all weekend over the end result, detailing a call to his longtime agent Don Buchwald, who agreed that his star client had every reason to be upset about the results.
Even though he said he understood the process and had come to peace with the HBO edit, promising not to dwell on his irritation, Stern mentioned it several more times during the Monday broadcast.
Bottom line: don’t call Stern anymore, for any reason, to give any speech. “I did that for Jon and Richie and David [Bryan] because I’ve known them for so long and I couldn’t say no,” Stern said. “And I’m glad I went…but watching it back was painful because I didn’t like being edited. And they might have been right…I just don’t want to be edited.”
This article originally appeared on Billboard.