Tuesday, Dec. 08, 2009

Artie Lange Steals Joe Buck's Show

Joe Buck Live debuted with high expectations. The late-night HBO program, a fusion of sports talk and sketch comedy, was billed as a vehicle for the laconic announcer to expand his empire behind the sports realm. Joe Buck scored a coup by landing quarterback Brett Favre — who was then wrestling with whether to return to the NFL — as a marquee guest for the inaugural episode. But after Favre's appearance, the show careened off course. During a panel discussion, comedian Artie Lange, a frequent sidekick to radio shock-jock Howard Stern, hurled a series of caustic barbs at the stunned host. The lewd, homophobic jokes made audience members squirm. "It's refreshing to see white-on-white crime," former Dallas Cowboys wideout Michael Irvin, a guest on the show, cracked after the debacle. The nadir of the exchange came when Lange acknowledged that he had torpedoed Buck's debut. "Sorry to ruin your great f____ing show," he said. "I appreciate the apology, because you have," Buck replied. HBO later blacklisted Lange, saying, "We didn't expect the guy to hijack the segment for his own personal gain."