Artie Lange's Near Suicide Reveals Dark Side of Funny

Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange's suicide attempt exposes comedy's dark side.

ByABC News
January 7, 2010, 9:26 PM

Jan. 8, 2010— -- When standup comedian and Howard Stern sidekick Artie Lange attempted suicide last week, it was no laughing matter.

Lange, who often joked about his battles with weight and drug addiction and recently published a revealing memoir about his tumultuous childhood, was found by his mother in his Hoboken, N.J., apartment with nine self-inflicted stab wounds, according to the New York Post. The newspaper said surgeons were able to save the comedian despite massive bleeding.

Lange's representative did not respond to requests for comment.

"Artie doesn't hold anything back," Anthony Bozza, co-author of Lange's 2008 memoir, "Too Fat to Fish," told "He's incredibly honest. I've never met anyone who is able to do that and is still so obviously in the throes of it."

Lange's suicide attempt has once again exposed the dark side of comedy. Too often, the people who make us laugh are the ones who struggle most with painful personal lives.

"I think most people have painful lives," Dick Cavett, the venerable comedian and talk show host told "It's always surprising when the comedians who make us laugh do. The contrast is so dramatic. They seems so bright and animated on stage."

"There's been a thing for a long time that comedy comes from pain," longtime comedy writer Jeffrey Gurian told "So many comedians are not happy when they're off stage. Their happiness comes from performing. Once the applause ends, they have to go back to their regular lives, which are not so fulfilling."

Gurian, who has known Lange for a long time, said the troubled comedian is beloved in the comedy community.

"He has a lot of support, so many people who care about him, a lot of people who look out for him," Gurian said.

One of those people is Howard Stern, who hired Lange in 2001.

"I know everybody has their demons, including myself, but he's wrestling with some serious stuff," Stern said Thursday on his radio show.

"I haven't spoken to Artie. I'm just freaked out," Stern added. "I only wish him well, and I don't know what's going to be. But it was pretty upsetting when I heard the news."

Robin Quivers, Stern's longtime sidekick, said on the show that she had spoken to Lange.

"He's doing well physically," she said.

"My heart goes out to him," said Bozza, who was working with Lange on a follow-up book to his bestselling memoir. A spokeswoman for the publisher told the book is on hold.

"He has a lot of demons," Bozza added. "I just want him to come to terms with his demons. He's in my thoughts and prayers. I love the guy very much. I hope that everyone puts good thoughts out there for him and his family."