Have you ever helped someone out only to have them burn you later? Greg Giraldo is that guy, but at least he did it with humor.
Artie Lange spoke with Joe Rogan about Giraldo—a fellow comedian and roaster. Sadly, Giraldo passed away in 2010 from an overdose, but Lang has found a way to surround his memory of Giraldo with humor. Lange specifically recalled meeting Giraldo at JFK airport right before their flight to LA for the filming of Comedy Central’s Roast of William Shatner in 2006.
“I had partied with him [Giraldo] a couple of times and, you know, we both had the same problems,” Lange admitted to Rogan. “He shows up five minutes before the plane takes off and he goes, ‘Artie man!’ and he like hugs me, sweating, and he goes, ‘I’m tweaking’ like he was on, taking amphetamines.”
Giraldo’s paranoia from the drugs had gotten the best of him, and he nearly refused to fly. Lange had to convince Giraldo to get on the plane and then sat with him the entire flight, taking care of him.
“So I had all this Vicodin I smuggled under my, under my sock,” Lange told Rogan. “I said ‘take a couple of Vicodin and have a beer.’ So I got him a beer and he started to calm down a little bit. I literally held his hand, okay, I held his hand and got him on a plane. I changed my seat to sit next to him.”
Once they got to the dress rehearsal in LA at CBS Radford, Giraldo’s trip continued to prevent him from functioning properly. Giraldo insisted he’d hug Farrah Fawcett and, later, decided he’d go over and kiss her—both actions Lange joked he prevented him from doing so Giraldo didn’t mortally damage his career.
After spending a night in the hotel room, Giraldo came down off the drugs, and he started crying and thanked Lang for helping him.
“Okay, so now we go to the roast. He’s the first roaster up,” Lange added to finish the story. “First thing he says, he goes ‘Artie Lange’s here. How about a hand for Artie Lange?’ And everybody applauds and he looks at me and goes, ‘look at you Artie, you fat fucking drug addict.’”
What came next, according to Lange, was a silent exchange between the two comedians where they shrugged at one another, the story leading up to the show itself almost like an unspoken secret.
Watching the roast itself, there doesn’t seem to be an obvious moment that viewers can catch on camera, but it’s still fascinating to understand the story behind Giraldo’s mini-roast of Lang where he literally says, “Artie Lange you… you… you fat, drunk slob. Artie your liver has more holes in it than Mel Gibson’s apology.”
Lange finished his interview with Rogan by telling one more story. He mentioned a time around 1998 when he performed a set with Mitch Hedberg and Giraldo at the Comedy Cellar in NYC.
Afterward, the trio headed to the Chelsea Square Diner, and discussed the state of their lives in regard to drugs. During this conversation, Hedberg admitted he would never stop using drugs even if it killed him. Though Lang didn’t mention what Giraldo had to say about this, it seems very clear that Giraldo and Lange were very much a part of this culture while making the comedy circuit rounds.
“Why God spared me out of the, that three, I have no idea. It’s just sheer luck,” Lange said.
For more, be sure to check out the interview with Joe Rogan. Lange will also be performing live shows throughout November and December, and you can catch his touring schedule here.