Howard Stern bets $100,000.00 in Las Vegas
February 7, 2002 12:48 PM   Subscribe

Howard Stern bets $100,000.00 in Las Vegas and the winnings would have gone to one of three contestants whose story is the saddest. The woman with the dying daughter actually played, decided to hit on 15 and busted. Sorry lady, your kid's just gonna have to croak from brain cancer while you're working and and struggling to pay her hospital bills.
posted by Modem Ovary (23 comments total)
Just to be clear: the woman would have lost whether she hit or stayed (the dealer had 20; hitting was the correct move). Last year Stern did the same thing and the Sad Woman won the $100,000. This year's loser did receive $5K as a consolation prize, but the whole thing was very depressing to listen to.
posted by KenGoldstein at 1:01 PM on February 7, 2002

So, don't then.
They are gambling, you know.
posted by dong_resin at 1:07 PM on February 7, 2002

Just to be clear: Howard Stern peaked with his lesbian interviews about a decade ago. His fifteen minutes have expired and he's about as interesting as an overdue library book. He's always been depressing to listen to. So don't.
posted by ZachsMind at 1:12 PM on February 7, 2002

::hanging head:: Yeah, I IS Stern, and they ARE gambling, and I usually listen, but it was depressing for me to hear nevertheless.
posted by Modem Ovary at 1:22 PM on February 7, 2002

There was a time when I could listen to Stern, but those days are long gone. The capper for me was when I happened upon his TV show once. He had a topless woman on her hands and knees, and she was racing against a dog--racing to finish a bowl of dog food. I just couldn't (pardon the pun) stomach that.

Having said that, Zachsmind and dong_resin have the right idea. You don't like it, don't listen.
posted by jpoulos at 1:24 PM on February 7, 2002

am I crazy to think that just giving her the $100,000 straight up would've been easier, and actually helpful?

oh yeah, that makes for boring ratings
posted by billder at 2:35 PM on February 7, 2002

oh yeah, that makes for boring ratings

*ding ding ding* we have a winner. exploiting the downtrodden--essentially giving her $100K and making her give it away--it's the American Way.
posted by jpoulos at 2:40 PM on February 7, 2002

He could have thrown in a Door #2:

'...or, I get a night with your dying daughter!'
posted by obiwanwasabi at 3:19 PM on February 7, 2002

posted by dong_resin at 3:29 PM on February 7, 2002

Ratings? Howard hasn't had much problems with ratings. His radio show has been #1 in most markets, including the big ones like LA and NY.

And his show on E! is the highest rated one on the network.

Only in America (and MeFi) can a guy give people $5,000 with a chance of making it $100k and get hissed at.
posted by tsarfan at 4:40 PM on February 7, 2002

Its always russian roulette to hit with a 13 -16 but if the dealer shows a 7 or better is your only choice, statistically speaking (unless you count cards). So she made the right move. As it turned out either way she would have lost which is about right for that draw. Sucks to get such a crappy hand and bust with that kind of money in play, always more fun to bust after takeing a few.
posted by stbalbach at 5:55 PM on February 7, 2002

Stern just recently came back in the north Texas radio arena after a long hiatus. Now he's on 106.1 "The Talk That Rocks!" Ugh.
posted by ZachsMind at 8:27 PM on February 7, 2002

It's my own biased opinion that, among all that Stern has dished, nothing has ever made me feel really bad with the exception of this case, where a daughter is dying. Women competing against dogs, lesbians being farted on, hell...even if he journied into the scat realm...wouldn't offend me. People dying when they could have a chance at an easier, less painful death...THAT offends me. On Stern, depravity is always the subject's choice. For me, this is different. That Stern offers a chance of hope to a mother's dying child over a hand of black jack...makes me sad.
posted by Modem Ovary at 8:55 PM on February 7, 2002

Its always russian roulette to hit with a 13 -16 but if the dealer shows a 7 or better is your only choice, statistically speaking.

I dunno. If you have a 15, and are hoping for a 5 or 6, then (depending where you are on the table, what the people ahead of you have, whether you are playing more than one spot, etc.) it makes sense to pass it along to the dealer (the same 5 or 6 that is good for you is bad for him; vice versa with the high cards).
posted by sylloge at 9:16 PM on February 7, 2002

A lot of people get mad at Stern for his exploiting of people, including the late Hang the Dwarf and others. But, the fact is, these people live better lives thanks to Stern.

A lot of people who are regulars on the show can have a living making guest appearances. He gives money to people who have the saddest stories all the time, to help that person out, and I say good for Howie.
posted by Mark at 10:11 PM on February 7, 2002

It's my own biased opinion that Stern has always strived to profit by the depravity of others to make himself and by proxy his audience feel better about themselves. He's fully within rights to do so and his audience is fully within their rights to be entertained by this smut. Viva America!

But if one has to wait until Stern dashes the hopes of a mother and her dying child in order to see the inhumane stupidity of such social abuse and exploitation, that is what personally offends me.

I personally believe we should have the right to shout "fire" in a movie theater. We have the inalienable right in a democracy to do so. However, each American should also have the common sense and the scruples to understand why that is not such a good idea. Because so many Americans abuse our inalienable rights through lack of common sense, our government feels it necessary to create laws that restrict our freedoms.

Stern metaphorically shouts fire in a movie theater repeatedly. It's stupid of him to do that and it's stupid of his audience to support his doing it. He abuses the first ammendment.

By comparison, George Carlin has been shouting at fires in movie theaters for most of his career. The difference is that the fires that Carlin shouts at are actually there. Hypocrisy in politics and religion. Double standards in our society. Stupidity in the media. Carlin's job is to entertain his audience, but the messages behind his levity are valid arguments. In comparison, Stern has zero validity.

Andy Kaufman challenged his audience to look at their own perspective of reality. Stern challenges nothing, and because of that, his attempts at humor are hollow. And they hurt people. One of my favorite quotes from Mel Brooks is that "tragedy is I stub my toe but comedy is you fall in a manhole and die." Stern takes that concept to an extreme that ruins the comedic effect.
posted by ZachsMind at 10:36 PM on February 7, 2002

i dont know what radio show that some of you are listening to, but Stern is on 4-5 hours a day being as painfully honest as he could possibly be. and even for some of us biggest fans of his, sometimes it can be too painful, including the $100k blackjack game.

there is nothing that this man wont touch, from his sexual attraction of his mother, to the diminutive size of his manhood, to the sexual abuse of his co-host Robin. he isnt afraid of making fun of any part of himself or others. ideal for a journalist, interviewer, and talk show host.

as an entertainer, you can expect just as much freak show as rock show or talk show. he gets the biggest names and the smallest and treats them all EXACTLY THE SAME: with absolute curiosity about the most interesting parts of their lives.

i couldnt disagree with you more, Zach, Stern took Carlin's act to the mainstream airwaves and is, obviously, still the lightening pole to everyone who is uncomfortable with the cutting edge ground zero of First Amendment. it can be sometimes very raw on that edge, but who else has chosen to make a home there who actually has something to say And is funny?

but he's also done it in a way that is financially successful for his bosses, quite a trick. as great as Carlin and Lenny Bruce are, they were never the most successful stars in their fields. somehow Stern's pulled this off.

daily he pushes the envelope of what is okay to say on the public airwaves, and he does so at the center of the microscope of censorship and conservatism. no one has to watch their tongue closer than Stern.

I agree that this particular segment was tragic. but what else could have been done? he was sitting at a blackjack table conducting a week of shows. all the participants in the game knew that they had a chance to win money and a chance not to win money.

when the segment was over, the entire cast was understandedly shaken, all in agreement that what went down was the saddest, worst thing they'd ever seen.

tragedy, emotion, surprise on morning radio? shocking, i know, and in my opinoin, heaps more interesting than all the other phony mindless chatter anywhere else on the dial.
posted by tsarfan at 1:56 AM on February 8, 2002

I dunno. If you have a 15, and are hoping for a 5 or 6, then.. it makes sense to pass it along to the dealer

Looking at the dealers hand, who was showing a 10 on the up-card the dealer was most likely allready at 17 or better. She had to hit. This is called the "basic strategy" and is best explained in the Blackjack FAQ
posted by stbalbach at 6:18 AM on February 8, 2002

"painfully honest as he could possibly be"

I'm not sure that I would refer to his material as being "painfully honest". As a confirmned non-fan, it seems to me more like "painfully whoring for controversy so his ratings will stay up so he can continue to be rich."

Just a thought, though. Like a guy I am a fan of says, I might be wrong.
posted by Irontom at 6:22 AM on February 8, 2002

It's funny how many people are willing to comment on Howard Stern, having either never listened to his show, or listened to it 10 years ago, or listened to it once.

Talk about hypocrites. So much for informed opinion.

Stern is real, he is neither hollow nor shallow. The moments he has produced on the show over the past 2 decades have been some of the most real and compelling radio I have ever heard or listened to.

Yes, if you want, "This is Crazy Jack and Goofy on the Hot Z100 morning drive!!!", Stern isn't for you. If you want, "And now this, from NPR, National Public Radio," again, you'll be disappointed. I listen to NPR, I listen to music, I listen to other morning radio shows, but nothing compares to the ecelctic nature of the Stern show. Nothing.

And the beauty of radio is just like TV -- turn the channel if you don't like it. Coming onto MeFi to bitch about your unhappiness with a radio show you claim not to listen to is like me complaining about how tiring it is to sleep with Britney Spears every night -- ultimately a pointless opinion.
posted by yarf at 7:39 AM on February 8, 2002

Stern was much more interesting when he wasn't such a celebrity whore. You used to listen to funny and original material on the show and have a laugh, and now all he does it talk about celebrity events and say "ooooo what celebrities where there??? Can I talk to them???" Puh-leeze. Put that on top of the ridiculous infighting with his ever-diminishing talentless crew, and listening to him is about as attractive as a coma.
posted by adampsyche at 7:44 AM on February 8, 2002

Stern is real, he is neither hollow nor shallow.

There's the rub, you see. All his little dittoheads talk about how real he is, when the fact is, it's all an act. Of course it's an act. He knows exactly what works, and what doesn't. He knows the numbers intimately. He works the system better than anyone else in the business. But he's not fucking real ferchrissakes. It is naive to think he is.
posted by jpoulos at 8:53 AM on February 8, 2002

I suppose a twisted narcissist can be entertaining. Occasionally.
posted by rushmc at 8:58 AM on February 8, 2002

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