Artie Lange opens up about his struggles with addiction

Artie Lange has returned to the airwaves on The AA Show with Anthony Cumia following his latest stint in rehab, and faces sentencing Feb. 23 from his arrest last fall.

In a lengthy interview with Mandy Stadtmiller published this week in The Daily Beast, Lange opened up about struggling with addiction, his love-hate relationship with Howard Stern, Donald Trump, scandals befalling himself and other comedians, and how HBO’s Crashing is helping save his life. Lange also dispelled the rumor that he attempted to commit suicide in 2010. Rather, he said:

“That was not a suicide attempt. I was in such bad withdrawals. Believe me, I leave a note. The one other time, I left a note. But shrinks go, ‘You’ve never tried to kill yourself. Because there was always a mountain of drugs involved.’ I was in such bad withdrawals, I wanted to feel something different. I was by myself. I wanted to lose enough blood to pass out.”

I’ve known Lange for over a decade now myself. When he spoke to me at the end of 2015 from his apartment in New Jersey, he seemed happy, content, and financially successful. Of course, the truth for an addict who still suffers is much more difficult to face, or to reveal to the world. As Lange told Stadtmiller, the longest he has been able to stay clean and sober so far has been 11 months.

When I last saw Lange last summer, we spoke openly on the steps of The Comedy Cellar. He wanted what I have but couldn’t comprehend how to get it.

I worry about him. I have no firsthand experience with heroin or fentanyl. But I know that any addicts who want recovery have to want it for themselves first. They can’t get sober for a job, for a loved one, for anyone else. Recovery offers a daily reprieve for anyone willing enough to take the next right steps. Willingness and action are the keys to get honest with yourself and ultimately change your behaviors and thinking.

Then you can climb up from your bottom. Has Lange reached that point yet? I’m praying for him.

Artie: No, I don’t want to die. I want to be high.

Mandy: But that will eventually kill you.

Artie: I’m 50. If you would have told me in 1995, if you tried to bring up “2018,” it would be like The Jetsons. I’d be like, “What are you talking about?”

Mandy: So you’re having fun on borrowed time.

Artie: I’m playing with the house’s money. As far as I’m concerned, I’m an overachiever. A lot of money changed hands on the internet when I turned 50. I was so happy. Fuck ’em all.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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