Comedian Artie Lange said he’s been fired from the HBO show “Crashing” following his recent arrest in Hoboken. But shortly after Lange asserted he would no longer be working on the show, HBO said it hadn’t fired the comedian.
Lange, 49, who grew up in Union Township, was arrested on charges of drug possession on March 12 in the parking garage of his Hoboken building. Hoboken police said officers found Lange with cocaine, heroin and drug paraphernalia.
Playing himself, Lange has been a memorable recurring character on “Crashing,” the comedy currently airing on HBO created by and starring comedian Pete Holmes. Lange serves as a kind of unruly mentor to Holmes’ aspiring comedian, and Holmes’ character tries to keep Lange away from drugs and alcohol (at his instruction). When the series was picked up for a second season, Lange seemed overjoyed, calling his work with the show “another amazing chapter” for him.
The comedian, who has long wrestled with addiction, claimed he would no longer be working on the HBO series during radio interviews on Thursday with WOR’s “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning” and 77 WABC’s “The Bernie and Sid Show” with Bernard McGuirk and Sid Rosenberg. He had been promoting his stand-up show this Friday at the Wellmont Theater in Montclair.
McGuirk and Rosenberg made mention that Judd Apatow, executive producer of “Crashing,” had expressed support for Lange.
“We would never give up on Artie or anyone struggling with addiction,” Apatow tweeted on March 17, a sentiment later retweeted by Holmes.
We would never give up on Artie or anyone struggling with addiction. https://t.co/zhm8VBwdnR
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) March 17, 2017
“Well that sets me up perfectly,” Lange told the radio hosts. “I was fired today.”
“It’s not Judd, it’s the insurance company,” Lange said. The hosts tried him again, to see if he was kidding. No, Lange said, he’s definitely off the show.
“I just got a text from show business,” he later joked. “It says ‘bye.'”
But in a statement published by The Wrap later the same day, the cable network said Lange was not fired.
“HBO has not fired Artie Lange,” it read. “‘Crashing’ has completed production for season one and has been recently renewed for a second season.” The statement also said the scripts for the second season hadn’t been written.
Apatow backed up this statement by simply tweeting that Lange was not fired.
Artie was not fired from the show. https://t.co/fXCQAWreFb
— Judd Apatow (@JuddApatow) March 23, 2017
After news broke of his arrest on March 17, Lange tweeted at length about the incident, thanking Hoboken police.
“To u worried fans pls know I love u,” Lange said. “Also know I’ve never wanted to live more! If HBO has to let me go Its my bad! Judd, Pete & u. Thx!”
When asked on the ABC radio show if any famous faces had reached out to the former “Howard Stern Show” sidekick after his arrest, Lange, who added that he was sure he’d get more work, mentioned that he’d been in touch with Bruce Springsteen, though maybe not after the arrest.
“He called again recently,” Lange said. “He called and said ‘I’m glad you’re on that show.'”
The Hardest Time I Laughed – Crashing Episode 1 (HBO)
But in keeping with his history of ups and downs as an addict, Lange added that he went to see Springsteen perform in Paris and told him he’d beaten “heroin and booze.”
“Literally 20 hours later I was in a Paris jail for public drunkenness,” he said.
On Thursday night, after Apatow and HBO denied Lange had been fired, the comedian fired off two quizzical tweets referencing the matter.
Hold on. I am not Fired. Artie Lange tells the broad who produces Len Bermans radio show he has not been fired
— Artie Lange (@artiequitter) March 23, 2017
Lange documented his experiences with drugs and rehab in his 2008 memoir “Too Fat to Fish” and his 2013 memoir “Crash and Burn,” and has spoken openly about using. In 2010, the comedian was hospitalized after a suicide attempt. He has said his problems with drugs cost him his relationship with Howard Stern.
“It was nothing but my fault,” Lange told NJ Advance Media before his arrest. “Howard tried to help me.”
@artiequitter way too funny!! pic.twitter.com/nycWMTi7lw
— Bernie and Sid Show (@bernieandsid) March 23, 2017
On Thursday morning, Lange, who hosts a podcast called “Artie Quitter,” told “Len Berman and Todd Schnitt in the Morning” that he’s been in rehab and has been clean for the last two weeks.
“There’s a reason why people get addicted to (heroin),” Lange said. “I don’t want kids to hear this, but it feels amazing. That’s why you get addicted to it and then it becomes a living hell after a while. That’s the problem.”