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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Jock Gives Rise to 'Private Parts'

NEW YORK -- The film based on HIS life and starring HIM became the U.S. top box office hit over the weekend, so radio shock jock Howard Stern will no doubt once again be proclaiming HIMSELF "King of All Media."


Move over Robert Redford, take a seat Tom Cruise, you've got competition. Stern has added movies to his list of worlds to conquer, and even the critics are praising the film version of his bestselling autobiography, "Private Parts."


As the host of a nationally syndicated radio show in 35 cities, Stern has parlayed unabashed ego, outrageousness, tastelessness and a teenage fixation with the size of his sexual organ into a can't-miss winning combination -- except when it comes to the Federal Communications Commission, which has fined him a record $1.7 million for offensive remarks.


Only in America can a man who makes fun of the lame, the blind and the dead be hailed as a superstar. Typical of Stern's on-air comments is this recent one: "I say if Elizabeth Taylor dies on the operating table, we stuff her like Trigger."


His stock in trade is va-va-vooming endlessly on big breasts, lesbian sex, his reputedly small penis and his fidelity to his wife Alison, with whom he has three children. Stern has already published two best-selling autobiographies, put together a racy pay-per-view cable show that pulled in revenues of $40 million and made a big foray into television.


Stern, a film buff who disdains most contemporary comedies, did not exactly leap at the first movie script thrown his way. In fact, he held steadfast for years to his vision of how real a comedy about his life could be. He could afford to because he cannily retained script approval of any movie he would make and rejected more than 22 screenplay drafts, including a "Fartman" movie based on one of his on-air characters.


"That was a brooding superhero who passes wind," he said."The scripts they were doing were so over the top. I said, 'Guys, the story of my life is interesting, my mother saying she's half Negro -- these are great stories.'"


Instead, he said, he saw scripts with diet guru Richard Simmons "in a tutu in my house chasing my children and saying he can't baby-sit them. How f---ing ridiculous."


"Why make up s---?" he asked in his overheated midtown Manhattan office down the hall from his broadcast studio. "I told them, 'We'll be the laughingstock of the industry.' I knew in my heart, none of these things were the right way to go."


Not until he teamed up with comedy veteran Ivan Reitman ("Twins") did Stern's vision coincide with a film script. The clue to his success, as depicted in "Private Parts" at least, is his willingness to not censor himself, to say anything that pops into his head over the air.


What followed after he unleashed his id on the world were bevies of busty women who took their tops off to better discuss their assets over the air, a lesbian dating game, and even jokes about his wife's miscarriage. "We all have this internal dialogue going on," Stern said.


Stern has been fined repeatedly by the FCC for breaking broadcast standards but also praised as a First Amendment crusader, something he strongly denies.


Does he see any parallels with "The People vs. Larry Flynt," the controversial film that just won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival?


"I hated the movie of Larry Flynt. It was pretentious and pompous, and I don't see any parallel except one. It tried to somehow tie in Larry Flynt as a First Amendment crusader. Larry Flynt was no more a crusader than I was," he said.


"Larry Flynt no more cared about the First Amendment than I did. I got caught up in a First Amendment issue because the FCC keeps fining me, but my career was making people laugh. Larry Flynt's career was about taking girls' legs and spreading them apart. ... Ours is a comedy, Larry Flynt is insufferably boring."