Brush with Greatness


Mark At The Howard Stern Film Festival (With VIP passes!) 04/27/06

I didn't do it... I just don't have it in me. In my last 'Brush' I said that the next time I got close to Howard Stern I would just butt in and introduce myself and finally meet the guy I've been listening to for the past 18 years. More on that later.

Shortly after the 2006 Howard Stern Film Festival was announced, I asked Doug Goodstein how I could get on the guest list. All I had to do was ask and Doug put me on the list, no hesitation. A few weeks later I get a DHL delivery with not just one, but two VIP passes to the festival! Little did I know that those VIP passes were also the tickets into the After Party for the festival.

My wife and I headed into New York City extra early to make sure we'd be there in plenty of time for the start of the show at 7pm. We lucked out and got in about an hour before they started letting people into the theater. We saw High Pitch Eric hanging out by the entrance so we figured we'd see what he was up to in his giant tux (size 60 jacket, size 56 waist). While hanging out with Eric we started to see a bunch of the Wack Pack members, show cast and other familiar faces.

Mariann from Brooklyn, Crackhead Bob, Joey Boots, Double A, Irish John, Zolar, Hook Nose Mike, Doc Ivan (from SFN), Copter (from SFN), Jason, Shuli and many others were wandering around. Across the street were some barricades where people were starting to gather to see the arrival of Howard Stern and the rest of the crew. There were camera crews and reporters filming the crowd and hyping them up for the big arrivals.

Where's The Friggin Tux?

Artie Lange was one of the first 'big' stars to show up. Howard had suggested that everyone get dressed up in tuxedos for the event but Artie came shuffling down the sidewalk wearing some tan corduroy pants, a t-shirt and a sport jacket... no tux in sight. Surprising? No, not with the most laid back man in show business. Who am I to talk, I was wearing my mail ordered suit that I wore to my wedding last year. I wasn't exactly 'dressed to impress.'

Fred, Robin and Howard all showed up and quickly said hello to the crowds that were gathered around. Most of them took time out to sign autographs for a few fans who were standing by. I was standing right next to the short red carpet that the stars were walking on as they entered the theater. I was within about 2 feet of everyone but I'm so quiet that didn't shove my way in and try to shake anyone's hand, I just stared in awe of what was going on just inches from me.

Let Me In!

Once all of the stars were in the building the staff started letting the VIPs follow. Since my wife and I were standing right next to the red carpet, we were let right in. We skipped the real red carpet where the press were interviewing the 'real' VIPs. I'm just a lucky fan with a VIP pass, I don't belong on the red carpet. Not only that, I have nothing to say when I get on air anyway. We had no idea where to go next so we just wandered around and stared at the stars.

Fred was hanging out with his wife so I was going to go up to him and say hello... but I didn't want to interrupt his conversation. I waited too long, he was gone a few seconds later. Oh well, maybe later. My good buddy Rev. Bob Levy was there so we said our quick hello to him. We were brought to our seats a short time later, a good half hour before the show was going to start. The lower level of the theater was all VIP seating so there were a bunch of stars wandering around.

I finally got to meet Sam Simon (a supporter of this site), Tim Sabean and Bubba the Love Sponge. Much to my surprise, all of them visit or have visited Tim Sabean, Program Director for Howard 100 and 101, told me he visits my site just about every day to find out what he missed on the show. It still surprises me when all of these people know the site. I don't know why that is, it just does.

Show Me Some Movies!

The film festival eventually got underway with Sal, Richard and Rev. Bob Levy entertaining the crowd for a few minutes. Then Howard was introduced and came out on stage. He kept things moving along pretty quick since everyone had to be out of there in 3 hours. Artie hosted the show and also kept things moving along pretty quick. He joked around with the crowd and then showed the trailer for his movie ''Artie Lange's Beer League'' which is opening August 11th. The crowd seemed to enjoy the trailer.

Not too much later they started to show the 9 finalist's movies. The whole idea of the film festival was to have fans make movies that were based on something to do with Howard's show that were 5 minutes, or less, in total run time. I honestly thought that the movies were going to be mediocre at best. Man was I wrong! The finalists put a lot of time and effort into these things.

There were some technical problems during the festival so some time was wasted trying to get the movies running on screen. Artie had to fill some time on stage at one point because they weren't able to get the next movie running. ''Blood on the Tissues'' was one movie that kept starting over and over again. The next movie on the playlist, ''Radio Play,'' was the best of the bunch... and it ended up winning. This movie was a hit as soon as it hit the screen. The crowd went nuts when it was over because it was so great. In my opinion, it's worth getting Howard TV On Demand just to see ''Radio Play.''

All 9 of the final movies were good but ''Radio Play'' stood out above them all. Before the winner was announced, we got to see all of the staff entries. They were all pretty entertaining as well. Robin and Fred's movie, ''Trans-Siobhan America,'' tied for first place with Doug Goodstein's movie but Robin felt that Sal's movie was so good that she generously handed over her first place prize to him. By this time they were running so late that they didn't have time to let Sal say anything.

It's Party Time!

After the film festival, all of the VIPs were invited to an After Party at the bar/pub that was inside the same hotel where the Hudson Theater is located. There were a lot of VIPs and not a hell of a lot of room in the party room... in other words, the place was friggin packed... like sardines. In one corner Mutt from SFN and some other Superfans were doing the Superfan Roundtable live on the air. In the back of the pub there were some bikini-clad dancers up on podiums dancing away for the crowd. Howard was in his own little VIP area that was guarded by a crew of security guys.

My wife and I wandered around and spoke to a few other VIPs. People like Gary Dell'Abate, Red Peters, Craig Gass, Lisa Lampanelli, Kenneth Keith, Jason Kaplan... and others. Rev. Bob Levy was standing out near the entrance speaking to a woman who turned out to be Scott the Engineer's wife. We spoke to her a little bit and found out that she had visited my site at least once in the past. She brought us over and introduced us to Scott who appeared not to care and just wanted to go home. He must hate crowds as much as I do.

I spent a couple of minutes talking to Red Peters who is also a frequent visitor to my site. Gary is always very approachable as well so my wife and I spent a short time talking to him as well. This party really was like a Stern Fan's wet dream. Being among the other people from the show is pretty wild.

Oops! There Goes Howard.

After the Superfan Roundtable show was over, Jon Hein and Gary Dell'Abate did a live Wrap Up Show from the party. Robin had made an appearance near the end of the Roundtable show so she hung around with them for a while. Then Howard came out of his little VIP area to make an appearance on that show. I was standing a few feet from the room when he came out and just watched as his security guys cut a path through the crowd for him. Craig Gass was standing there so I told him how I still haven't met Howard even after all of these years. The first time I came close to Howard I was about 10 feet away, this time I was about 2 feet... and still didn't just get in there and introduce myself.

I figured I'd just hang around the doorway to his little VIP area and wait for him to go back in. Then I'd just say ''Howard... Mark from MarksFriggin dot com... Just wanted to say thanks for the past 18 years of entertainment.'' and then leave him alone. We waited there for about 20 minutes but it seemed that he was going to do another four hour show with Jon and Gary.

I saw Levy and Joey Boots sitting out in the lobby so I figured we'd just hang out with them and then get out of there since it was getting pretty late. My wife had picked up a gift bag before we left the club so she and Joey Boots went through their stuff and compared notes on what they had gotten. Sphincterine, Massage Oil, Vibrators, Howard TV temporary tattoos, a Scores hat... Things like that were in the bag. Joey and Bob wanted to go out for a smoke so we followed them out.

We were standing out in front of the hotel/club/theater and I assumed that Howard was going to leave that way. So did a bunch of fans who were waiting out front to catch a glimpse of him. Little did we all know that Howard was going to head the other direction when he left the party. That's exactly what he did about 2 minutes after we walked outside. Oh well, maybe next time. So what, I still haven't met Howard, I still had a great time at the Film Festival.

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