Finally got to watch Howard Stern on America’s Got Talent. Big highlight? Howard’s dad, Ben Stern. There were lots of other dad-oriented moments. Here are the ones I can remember, along with video clips from the show.
- LOTS of fathers. The guy whose act consists of him getting hit in the nuts? Got kids. (Won’t be having any more, as Howie Mandel pointed out.) The comedian? Kids. America’s Got Children.
- Comedian Tom Cotter, who was pretty funny, said the AGT appearance was “birth of my children” big, or something to that effect. In general, I try to avoid statements like that. Clearly it was an honest reaction, though. Here’s a clip.
- The dog act was a father-son thing. I was surprised by how much everyone liked their routine. I love dogs, but I guess I’m not a fan of dog acts, because I was uncomfortable watching two guys in blue sparkle suits tell labradoodles to walk around on two legs. (“Four legs good, two legs bad.” See below for video explaining this reference.)
I was tempted to wake my kids up, call them into the room, and show them the doggie duo, as if to say, “See what a good dad I am? I’d never make you do that. Now go back to sleep.” I didn’t do that, because I’m a good dad and who the hell wants to wake kids up after they’re asleep? Here’s a clip of the dog act. Maybe you’ll like it.
- To set the record straight, Howard Stern did not make a 7-year-old cry. He did hit the buzzer on a little boy first; Sharon followed almost immediately. The kid was cute but really wasn’t good enough to be performing the way he did. As soon as Howard saw that the kid was crying, he walked up onstage and comforted the little guy in a genuinely sweet and parental way. There were, of course, headlines saying “Howard Stern Made a 7-Year-Old Cry”. Not true. Howard was clearly shaken up by the experience, enough that he changed his vote to a “yes” after the kid left the stage. Sharon and Howie, however, said no. Here’s the performance and Howard’s reaction.
- Last but certainly not least was Ben Stern. Both of Howard’s parents, Ben and Rae, were in the audience. Ben got up on stage to explain to a contestant that he should perhaps consider a different line of work. For the millions of Stern fans who have heard Ben tell a young Howard “I told you not to be stupid, you moron,” this was television gold. Watch.
I’ve been listening to Howard Stern on the radio since he came to New York in the ’80s. I am extremely familiar with his parents, both of whom have spent a lot of time on the air. You could tell that Howie Mandel is a listener by his reaction to the mere presence of Howard’s parents in the audience and Howard’s hilarious imitation — ”Your father and I…”
I have no idea what America’s Got Talent was like before Howard joined the panel. With him, it’s a surprisingly entertaining show with genuinely emotional moments, some provided by Mr. Stern himself. He doesn’t just sit there and judge, he interacts with the contestants and joins them on stage, sometimes taking a boring act and making it funny, like he did with The Savage Men, a terrible male stripper routine. One of the pleasures of listening to The Howard Stern Show is not knowing what’s going to happen next. If they can continue to do the same thing on TV, AGT should be eminently watchable while Howard is a judge.