Howard Stern Didn’t Learn John Hughes’ Lesson

Quick quiz: What’s a better movie, “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or “Baby’s Day Out?”

John Hughes wrote the former in 1986 and the latter in 1994. The guru behind “The Breakfast Club,” “Pretty in Pink” and “Sixteen Candles” had lost his mojo by the mid-90s, no doubt.

He soon retired from filmmaking, years before his death in 2009.

Hughes reportedly wanted a life outside of Hollywood, thus his decision to quit a legendary, lucrative career. It’s possible he realized he had lost his creative fastball. Better to go out on top than drag his legacy through the mud.

Someone forgot to share that lesson with the King of All Germaphobes, Howard Stern.

The iconic talker ruled radio for decades. His sharp wit, eagerness to offend and unchecked Id made “The Howard Stern Show” a must-listen in a sea of generic shock jocks.

As Stern’s autobiographical 1997 movie “Private Parts” famously shared:

Researcher: The average radio listener listens for eighteen minutes. The average Howard Stern fan listens for – are you ready for this? – an hour and twenty minutes.
Pig Vomit: How can that be?
Researcher: Answer most commonly given? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”
Pig Vomit: Okay, fine. But what about the people who hate Stern?
Researcher: Good point. The average Stern hater listens for two and a half hours a day.
Pig Vomit: But… if they hate him, why do they listen?
Researcher: Most common answer? “I want to see what he’ll say next.”

Everyone wanted to see what he’d say next … for a while.

That’s no longer the case.

It’s been years since Stern’s SiriusXM radio show showcased that “must listen” vibe. He downsized the show in recent years, upping his vacation time and going live just three days a week.

He started pulling his punches, too, making nice with frenemies like Rosie O’Donnell and throwing softballs at Hillary Clinton. When the cartoonishly corrupt Gov. Andrew Cuomo lorded over Stern’s home state, the SiriusXM star didn’t lay a glove on him.


Stern grew up, to a certain degree, along the way. That kind of change is both inevitable and good. Do we want a 68-year-old flinging bologna slices at porn stars’ derrieres?

What’s missing from Stern’s current model? Courage. Fire. Passion. Integrity. The old Howard Stern would spend hours ripping the 2022 model, and it would be can’t-miss radio.

The only time Stern makes headlines now is when he attacks Donald Trump or threatens to run for office.

His latest news cycle might be the most embarrassing.

Page Six reported that Stern finally hit the town with his A-list chums two-plus years after the pandemic rocked America.

Stern has been broadcasting from his home since March 2020, but that isn’t his only pandemic precaution. He’s mostly stayed isolated since then, even when the country went back to normal earlier this year. Or in 2020 if you live in the free state of Florida.

The saddest anecdote from Stern’s night out?

“I really had an exhausting weekend, emotionally, physically,” he said on his radio show Monday. “For the first time in two years I ventured out of the house.”

He continued about the dinner, “It was too much for me. It was too much. I haven’t been out in two years.”

It’s normal for a star to hang on longer than his talents allow. Comedy queen Lucille Ball’s final stab at sitcom glory, “Life with Lucy,” proved more embarrassing than revelatory. The network pulled the show after just two months.

Chevy Chase’s stab at late-night fame lasted all of six weeks.

Filmmakers like Brian DePalma, Oliver Stone and John Carpenter no longer deliver like they once did. Clint Eastwood’s 2021 release, “Cry Macho,” disappointed, but his 2019 drama “Richard Jewell” can stand tall next to the auteur’s best films.

Saying goodbye to a public career isn’t easy. For Stern, hanging up the mic means closing the chapter on a gig that changed the medium forever.

What would he do? Where would he go? Who would listen to his next rant?

It’s clear any answer would be better than watching the germaphobe now, so afraid of a cold he can’t take a long, hard look at a legacy in free fall.

Originally published at

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