George Takei discusses his unlikely friendship with Artie Lange, formerly of The Howard Stern Show. When Takei started to become a regular guest and eventually the announcer on Stern, he and Lange bonded rather quickly.
“He’s a funny guy and he’s a very original guy,” Takei said. “A guy who has a lot of demons. And again, he’s a flawed human being. I love the guy. He’s basically a very decent guy.
“He plays that New Jersey macho guy. Sports-loving, beer-swilling and yeah, other problems,” Takei continued, alluding to Lange’s well-documented struggle with heroin addiction. “But demons have a way of suddenly overtaking him.”
In early 2010, Lange stabbed himself nine times with a 13-inch knife.
“That attempt at self mutilation,” Takei remembered. “It was horrific. Blood spattered all over that apartment. I tried to get in touch with him and got no response. So finally I wrote to his sister. And his sister said he was healing. He was in a sanitarium and isolating himself.”
Takei had only one message for his friend:
“I told him that we love him. We used to talk regularly but I haven’t gotten any communication since [the suicide attempt]. But he has a lot of things haunting him. Maybe what he did has given him a guilt thing about it. That’s why, I think, Howard’s still a little skittish about it. Because Artie’s so volatile and explosive.”