Artie Lange returned from a mysterious week off from his gig on the Howard Stern Show on Tuesday, admitting he had a “mini nervous breakdown” and a near-relapse into drug addiction.
Lange told listeners of Stern’s Sirius/XM show that he “had what you might call a mini nervous breakdown. … I was in therapy doing well and I had a pattern of repeating mistakes in my life and that’s something my father had."
The 42-year-old comedian – who earlier this month pled guilty to a DUI charge after a July arrest in Tom’s River, N.J. — said he experienced "anxiety” and “depression” after a charity stand-up gig for a paralyzed fan in Detroit.
The episode, Lange said, stemmed from memories of his father, who Lange said became paralyzed when he was 42. "I hadn’t really been next to [a paraplegic] since my old man and it affected me,” he said, adding: "I made myself physically ill. I was dry-heaving. I was sweating."
It nearly led to heroin relapse, Lange said: "I was close to going to the bad shit because I just wanted anything to feel better … you start to question everything in your life." Lange admitted he had used heroin as recently as April.
He said his girlfriend and therapist were able to help him stave off addiction this time.
Lange chronicled his drug and alcohol addiction in the 2008 New York Times bestselling memoir "Too Fat to Fish."
Lange added that he was forced to cancel an upcoming gig in Rochester, N.Y., and plans to reduce his stand-up schedule next year. "2010 I will not be on the road. … [The Stern show] schedule and the road is bad. And [the Stern show] is more important—of course."
Earlier this year, Lange made a controversial, expletive-laden appearance on the HBO premiere of “Joe Buck Live” (a God-awful idea for an HBO show, by the way) after which the show’s producers said he would be banned from future episodes.
More on Lange’s most recent breakdown via this disturbingly detailed recap of the Stern show.