Howard Stern, radio personality extraordinaire, is arguably the poster child for personal transformation. He’s morphed into an enlightened and evolved man. For decades, The King of all Media fed his soul, and his insatiable need for ratings, with sophomoric and vulgar humor, a preoccupation with sex and bodily functions, dressed as a drag queen, was known as “Fartman” and had a dysfunctional entourage known as the Wack Pack.
That Howard Stern, however, is dead and gone. The new Stern is a pussy cat! As Andy Greene wrote in 2019 for Rolling Stone, “To Stern die-hards, this was blasphemy — the equivalent of Johnny Rotten singing Pat Boone songs.” But for others like me, the transformation was welcome. The die-hards may have abandoned him, but there’s a new audience that tunes in to hear what some call the King of Interviewers.
So how exactly did Howard transform himself? True redemption requires looking inward, being brutally honest with yourself, and having a soft place to land. What happened to Howard was psychotherapy, honesty, and his beautiful wife Beth.
In his latest book, Howard Stern Comes Again on the topic of Religion and Spirituality, Howard said, “I so desperately want to believe. I don’t want the party to end when I die. I can’t grasp that the world is going to go on without me and not miss a beat. Really, at the end of the day, I’m hoping for the movie Ghost: I drop dead, wrap my arms around Demi Moore, and we make pottery for eternity.”
So what does this have to do with A Saint and a Sinner – The Rise and Fall of a Beloved Catholic Priest. Imagine for a moment, Stephen Donnelly, the ex-Catholic priest perched on the famous couch in Howard’s state-of-the-art Sirius studio talking about sex, drugs, and religion with the one and only Howard Stern, a non-practicing Jew. Both of them possess larger than life personas, and I guarantee the interview would be fascinating. Even if only in my dreams. What do you say, Howard? Do you have room on that couch for a fellow sinner?