Last week, Howard Stern and his hapless menagerie feigned mild amusement at a series of profane and poorly edited sound clips of Dolly Parton talking about penis, shit, Kenny Rogers, Johnny Carson’s “big black cock,” and other sundry topics in her new “audiobook.” One drive-time commute that was not enriched by this cut-up comedy was Dolly Parton’s, who’s hopping mad and threatening a lawsuit. Howard will undoubtedly send her a bouquet of flowers and a picture of his butt as thanks for the attention with which this may eventually reward him.
I have never been so shocked, hurt and humiliated in all my life. I cannot believe what Howard Stern has done to me. In a blue million years, I would never have such vulgar things come out of my mouth. They have done editing or some sort of trickery to make this horrible, horrible thing. Please accept my apology for them and certainly know I had nothing to do with this. If there was ever going to be a lawsuit, it’s going to be over this. Just wanted you to know that I am completely devastated by this.
What surprises me about the “audiobook” bit isn’t the vacuously bawdy humor so much as the lack of enthusiasm those involved can muster. The recording is full of dead pauses and only the mildest of chuckles. It sounds like naptime is just as likely to follow as an interview with someone who once had sex with a famous person. I always assumed shock jockery was full of sound effects and hyena-like henchmen keeping the mood boisterous and lively, but this comes off like an anally fixated Tom Snyder.
Are bits like this really so crucial to Stern’s art that he’d rather sit alone in a void than return to terrestrial radio? Is making Dolly Parton cry and getting idiot teachers fired all that he’s been up to? Is he giving shock jocks a bad name here or is he still a cut above the competition? And why don’t people in cars just put on a fucking CD?