The First Episode of Joe Buck's Show Is a Trainwreck

Buck knew what he was getting with Stern's sidekick

If you missed the premiere episode of Joe Buck's HBO show on Monday night, you've probably heard what happened by now. If not, here's a quick recap. Three-quarters of the show was typical sports interview stuff with guests like Brett FavreChad Ochocinco and David Wright and absolutely nothing to write home about. The final segment was a panel with actor Paul Rudd, Jason Sudeikis of Saturday Night Live and comic Artie Lange.

Lange's work, well known to anyone who has listened to Howard Stern, is rarely fit for the easily offended and he didn't disappoint during an expletive riddled, full-frontal assault on Buck. Personal taste will determine if you thought Lange was funny, offensive or a little of both, but there's no question that Buck and HBO got exactly what they wanted.

We'd direct you to the video, but HBO has had the videos pulled from YouTube as part of their faux-outrage at what went down.

Buck, who made it clear that he hoped this show would break out from the sports world by showing off a funnier, edgier side of his personality, tried very hard to make it clear that he wasn't fond of what Lange was saying. He spoke to USA Today about what went down.

"I thought that spending time on a treadmill felt long. That was like 8 or 9 minutes that turned into an eternity. You know, it's cable, you can get away with it. It's not my style. But, you do one show and you learn and you move on. ... We didn't book him to be crude. We didn't book him to walk and cross some line. We booked him because he's a comedian, he's in town, he's a funny guy and somebody who loves sports."

Cue world's smallest violin.

Not one word of what Buck said is rooted in truth. You don't book Artie Lange when you want Ray Romano. You knew he was going to be offensive to an audience that knew Buck's bland stylings from football and baseball games, and to act surprised or shocked that he went where he went is as disingenuous as the day is long.

If he wasn't, you wouldn't see a single repeat of the show on HBO. The chances of that are about as good as the chances that Buck's show would have made one-eighth the impact on the marketplace without Lange.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to and in addition to his duties for

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