Howard Stern has been rethinking his entire life after going through a serious cancer scare two years ago.
In a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the legendary shock jock reveals that in May 2017 he secretly underwent surgery to remove a growth on his kidney, which doctors said had a 90 per cent chance of being cancerous.
“And now all I’m thinking is, ‘I’m going to die,'” Stern recalls of learning the news. “And I’m scared s**tless.”
After taking the day off from his radio show and claiming that it was due to the flu, Stern had the growth taken out only to discover that it had been a harmless cyst.
But the brush with mortality left the 65-year-old looking back on his life, the decisions he’s made and the way he’s behaved over the years.
“I was so completely f**ked up back then,” he says of himself in the years before his move to satellite radio. “I didn’t know what was up and what was down, and there was no room for anybody else on the planet.”
Looking back, Stern says the interview he regrets most is one he did with the late Robin Williams.
“I loved Robin Williams, but there I am beating him over the head with like, ‘Hey, I hear you’re f**king your nanny?’ I could have had a great conversation, but I’m playing to the audience,” he says. “They want to hear outrageousness, and that’s my arrogance thinking that Robin Williams can’t entertain my audience. How stupid am I?”
Over the years, Stern’s style has changed, leading him to be a lot mellower and more serious as an interviewer in 2019.
“You can only interview so many strippers … [I] loved the idea that we’d go on the air and measure our penises or discuss vaginal secretions —whatever it was, if it freaked you out, I loved it because, to me, it was not a big deal. But now I find it gross,” he explains. “And I’d feel really f***ing sh**ty if I hadn’t evolved. I’d be completely out of step with the times.”
With his SiriusXM contract set to expire at the end of 2020 and the possibility of retirement looming, Stern says, “I’m at a place now where I am trying to figure out how to spend the rest of my life, however long that might be,” though he adds, “It seems weird to me not to have this.”