Robert Schimmel

The very funny Artie Lange (above).

Artie Lange, veteran comedian and former regular on The Howard Stern Program, delighted Comedy Cellar audiences in New York City recently by performing impromptu in his unexpected return to the stage.

Howard Stern‘s troubled sidekick Artie Lange returned to stand-up with a triumphant, surprise appearance at the Comedy Cellar over the weekend — his first since his grisly suicide attempt in January.

“He had a great line when he opened the show,” comic Craig Gass told The Post’s Mandy Stadtmiller. “He said, ‘Well, folks, I gotta say I am so glad that Fashion Week is over because I am [bleep]ing exhausted.’ ”

The audience gave the schlumpy 42-year-old comedian a deafening ovation during the two midnight shows he played on Friday and Saturday, following Chris Tucker one night.

Could there be any better news for Artie fans who have no doubt agonized over the comedian’s troubled plight this past year, which included a suicide attempt?  Well, there could be, but we shouldn’t hold our breaths if we are waiting for Artie’s return to Howard’s show on Sirius XM satellite radio.

Howard has hinted to the audience that an Artie return is not in the cards, and has brushed off callers who have inquired about Artie’s well being of late, usually claiming that he “doesn’t know” how Artie is or how he is doing.  On the Wrap Up Show, producer Gary Dell’Abate recently mentioned that Artie has made overtures to him about coming in as a guest, and that likely isn’t going to happen anytime soon, if ever.

I understand that the Stern staff still feels the weighty burden from worrying about Artie’s health and psyche on a constant basis, and has been troubled by the pandora’s box that an Artie return engagement, or even visit, would open.  But Gary and Howard have been a bit flip in this regard.  Gary especially, who has sort of joked around with Wrap Up Show callers inquiring about Artie–at Artie’s expense.

Gary should recall that Artie took Gary on a USO tour a few years back to Afghanistan, despite Gary having no discernible performing talents, which advanced Gary’s career and did little for the magnanimous Lange.

Though Artie might not be appearing on Howard’s show anytime soon, J.D. Harmeyer, who pulls tape for Howard, also travels with Artie as part of his road crew on weekends, and video tapes his shows.  If Artie is getting up on stage at the Comedy Cellar, it can’t be too long before he is scheduling gigs.  If Harmeyer is still to serve Artie in the same capacity, Artie will likely become a very hot topic for Howard in absentia by nature of J.D.’s frequent on air appearances.

–Crack (,

Deceased comedian Robert Schimmel (above).

Bob Schimmel, Bronx native, cancer survivor, and the son of Holocaust survivors, is dead today after sustaining life threatening injuries last night in a Phoenix car accident.

Schimmel, 60, was a passenger in his 19-year-old daughter’s car on August 26 when she lost control after swerving to avoid another accident on a Phoenix highway. The daughter was hospitalized, but is expected to recover. Schimmel’s 11-year-old son was also a passenger in the car and was uninjured, according to media reports.

The actor was best known for his radio work on “The Howard Stern Show” and had appeared on several HBO programs, including his own special, “Unprotected.”

Schimmel had a heart attack in 1998 and in 2000 was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, from which he recovered. He later wrote a book about his treatment called “Cancer on $5 a Day.” He lost his son Derek to leukemia at age 11.

This is truly sad news.  We had just learned last week from Sirius XM’s The Howard Stern Program that Schimmel had moved to Arizona to help care for his elderly parents, and we looked forward to an upcoming telephone appearance in which he was set to explain the current state of his life to Howard.

If you are unfamiliar with Schimmel’s brand of hilarious, filthy humor, here’s a little “taste”:

Robert Schimmel remembered the day that Barry Diller resigned from 20th-Century Fox in 1992.

“That night, I did a big industry showcase in L.A. where you go on in front of everybody–ABC, CBS, NBC, Disney, Sony, Warner, Fox,” he said. “And my opening line was, ‘I have such bad timing in this business. I blew Barry Diller last night.'”

Mr. Schimmel waited a beat. “Well, my agent came over to me and he said, ‘Are you out of your fucking mind?’ I said, ‘Why?’

“‘Because the guy can make a phone call and I won’t even be in show business anymore. Blow someone else!'” Mr. Schimmel’s agent said, adding that if Mr. Diller “finds out, he’s going to go nuts!”

“I said why would he go nuts?” Mr. Schimmel recalled. “I’m blowing him !”

And no one should go without seeing Schimmel’s latest special, in which he detailed his life since being diagnosed with cancer, and dished candidly on his divorce and new marriage to his daughter’s friend, Life Since Then. (Schimmel performing @ Dangerfield’s)


Crack (,