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Literature / Private Parts

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Private Parts is a 1993 book and adapted 1997 movie by Howard Stern, a mixture of an autobiographical tale from his childhood through to the the height of his career in the early '90s on The Howard Stern Show, plus various inserts detailing various aspects of his show and life. The movie adaptation focused on the autobiographical aspect.

Stern describes in humorous detail growing up a Jewish kid in Roosevelt, Long Island, NY, son to a stern radio engineer and an overbearing housewife mother. He details the turn of his neighborhood from White and Jewish middle class to blue collar Black and his parents refusal to leave and the bullying he received being one of the few Jewish and White kids left in his school.

He then proceeds to talk about his trials and tribulations chasing women (unsuccessfully mostly) from high school through college, along with experimenting with drugs and his first early attempts and entertaining people. After college, he proceeds a long of string of jobs in radio, slowly cultivating his on-air persona while collecting colleagues along the way (notably Fred Norris and Robin Quivers). The culmination of his radio career leads him to his infamous stint as the afternoon drive DJ at W EEEEEEN BC, where he has a legendary hate/hate relationship with his program director ("Pig Virus", based on real life radio personality Kevin Metheny) and rivalry with morning DJ Don Imus, while his popularity soars. He is eventually fired, but hired immediately by WXRK, and the bio parts end with him triumphant in the ratings over Imus in morning drive and briefly on his eventual syndication from there.

The rest of book is a hodgepodge of various topics, including his interactions (good and bad) with various celebrities, his opinions on various comedians, persons in the news and other topics.

The book was huge NYT bestseller, and the movie was a moderate success. Howard followed it with Miss America, and has mused various times to write another detailing his life since then.

Private Parts Provides Examples of the Following Tropes:

  • A Minor Kidroduction: The first 10-15 minutes of the movie includes Howard Stern as a young boy and tween.
  • Adapted Out: The rivalry with Don Imus is mostly absent from the movie (an Imus-like character merely passes by briefly), probably for legal reasons.
  • Arch-Enemy: Several, but Pig Vomit, aka program director Kevin Metheny (last name changed to Rushton for the movie adaptation) and Don Imus stand out.
  • Dawson Casting: Invoked and lampshaded in the movie, as Howard plays himself as a college student while he was in his 40s, his narration points out you just gotta suspend disbelief sometimes.
  • Defeat Equals Friendship: One chapter describes his various feuds with local competition in the various markets he syndicated in. Most of these were fairly vicious wars, as Howard ran them down on air as being hacky and terrible, and how his loyal army of fans would clog up their phone lines with prank calls. Mark and Brian in LA, Mancow in Chicago were among these, but most vicious was with John De Bella in Philadelphia and his morning Zoo Crew. Howard eventually beat him in the ratings, and, despite still being #2 in a large market, De Bella ended up fired, after being humiliated with a public "funeral" from Howard and even enlisted his ex-wife to attack him. Years later, he appeared on Howard's show and they put it behind them, with Howard giving his blessing for him to work again for their shared company, citing it was just business.
  • Fanservice Extra: The film has two of them:
    • The first is a buxom blonde woman who is a huge fan of Howard and calls into his show. He convinces her to straddle her stereo speaker. He then makes low droning sounds until the bass vibrations cause her to have an orgasm, at which point she tears off her top.
    • Adult film star Jenna Jameson has a small role playing a nude woman who Howard interviews in his studio.
  • Gag Censor: The basic cable edit for the movie has Howard stepping into the scene itself describing why it's being censored (nudity, mostly), and at one point urges the viewer to just go rent it.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partner: The late Sam Kinison seems to be one of the closest friends he had before his death.
  • Kids Are Cruel: The description of the beatings he took in school are...pretty terrible, really.
  • My Beloved Smother: Howard describes his mother raising him "like a veal."
  • Teeny Weenie: Discussed throughout the book, as was a staple of his schtick for years. Interestingly, years later, all the male staff members (heh, male staff members) had their penises measured for a show bit...and Howard was in fact, shockingly in the normal range, and was actually over the median range of the rest of the staff (6 inches if you're really wondering). Turns out it was just a matter of perspective (he's 6'5", so to him...)
    • His (now ex) wife always claimed when interviewed that it was in fact normal.
  • The Vamp: Jessica Hahn, Penthouse Pet and former mistress of disgraced televangelist Jimmy Bakker. During the height of the scandal, she was a regular on The Stern Show and became...enamoured with Howard, and him to her. Howard was married at the time. He describes in the book as her being one of the biggest temptations to cheat on his wife he ever had, and put a strain on his marriage at the time, even more than the various bimbos who've been naked and butt bongo'd in the studio.
  • Verbal Backpedaling: Howard ran down many celebrities he never met as of the writing of book, and was forced to do this when they came on his show years later. He usually doesn't even remember what he said in the book (they certainly do, tho).
  • We Used to Be Friends: A good chunk of his "Star Wars" section is about the feud between former friends Sam Kinison and Andrew "Dice" Clay (with friend of both Howard in between them...but hey, it's good radio).
  • Wham Line: The opening sentence of his chapter on Rodney King.
    They didn't beat this idiot enough.