We gave it a B-
Stern, bad-boy New York-based disc jockey, goes national with this show. It’s the best TV format yet for a radio personality, because Stern has had the good sense just to do his radio show in front of the TV cameras. He sits around with his sidekick, Robin Quivers, commenting on the state of the world, and even does his own commercials. Guests include standbys from his radio show, such as Jessica Hahn and comic Richard Belzer. And then there’s the guy who tried to blow cigarette smoke out through his eyes. (The poor fellow’s eyes got very watery, and he choked a lot, but no smoke emerged.)
Stern, who looks like a greyhound who just stole Cher’s wig, prides himself on his bad-taste humor, and he’s famous for trying to get laughs by joking about blacks and gays. But he’s impossible to pin down; he often defends minorities by savaging the straight white world with considerable vituperation. He is at once a jerk and a funny man.
On television, his rancor is comparatively mild — for all his boasts of rebelliousness, he clearly wants to stay on the air. The strain shows — he smiles a bit too much, and after every lame comedy ”bit” (such as putting a hidden camera in Hahn’s dressing room), Quivers is obliged to reassure her boss: ”It was a great bit — it was perfect!”
The Howard Stern Show is considerably less than perfect, but it has a loose, anything-can-happen atmosphere that, over time, will either reveal Stern’s talent or expose him as a creep. B-