No Injuries Reported as Convoy is Attacked After USO Show
Howard Stern comics bombed, no joke
Thursday, July 3rd 2008, 4:00 AM
Howard Stern nearly lost his closest cohorts in Afghanistan this week.
Stern’s Sirius radio show producer Gary Dell’Abate, show regular Artie Lange and comedians Nick DiPaolo, Jim Florentine and Dave Attell had just finished a comedy show for troops in Kandahar when the base came under attack.
“Everything was going fine until the end,” a friend of the comics, who heard from them by cell phone, tells us. “They were all done with their sets, and they were headed in a car convoy to a meet-and-greet elsewhere, but they only made it about 20 yards.
“The military base they were on came under mortar fire, and the convoy was turned around.”
Troops led the comics into a secure bunker, where they all waited for a very unfunny 35 minutes as the shelling continued.
Eventually it stopped, and the comedians, all uninjured, went on to continue the USO/Armed Forces Entertainment tour at other undisclosed locations in the Persian Gulf. Tony Burton, Dell’Abate’s rep, confirmed the incident but couldn’t comment.
Before they left for Afghanistan, callers like lawyer Dominic Barbara phoned in to the Stern show and wondered if the comics, especially those like Dell’Abate, who has children, should be risking their lives.
But Dell’Abate seemed most concerned about the 22-hour flight to the country, saying he’d never flown longer than seven hours.
Lange seemed most worried about what material they could use, given the Army’s orders not to make jokes involving President Bush, sex, race, religion, drugs or drinking.
Any safety fears he may have had surely disappeared when he heard how desperate the troops are for entertainment. In fact, when the soldiers heard they were getting a show, they were ecstatic, according to the Stern fan site Marksfriggin.com.
So far, Scarlett Johansson, Robin Williams, Kid Rock, Toby Keith, Morgan Freeman, Jessica Simpson, Kelli Pickler and bands O.A.R. and Five for Fighting have been among the few courageous enough to go to the war zones to bring soldiers a bit of cheer.
But Stern himself may have had the last word on the tour when he joked, “Why is Gary going, anyway? He’s not even funny.”
No worries: Dell’Abate is serving as the tour’s emcee.