Comedian Artie Lange is best known as having informally inherited the role of the tubby, pratfalling sidekick in vehicles for Saturday Night Live alums, which was occupied by Chris Farley before his death in 1997. More restrained than Farley, but of similar build and acquaintanceship, Lange has ridden his appearance and his exasperated comic deliveries to a handful of film credits and a regular gig on Howard Stern's radio show.
Born in Union, NJ, on October 11, 1967, Lange was a prankster from a young age and was held back from graduating high school with the rest of his class. Lange had the last laugh when he scored a recurring role on Fox's Mad TV from 1995 to 1997. After leaving that show, Lange began capitalizing on his friendship with SNL veteran Norm MacDonald, first appearing in MacDonald's revenge comedy Dirty Work (1998) (in which Farley also appears), then working with the comic on his ABC sitcom Norm, also known as The Norm Show. The real comparisons to Farley inevitably came when he appeared opposite David Spade, former partner of Farley, in the 1999 comedy Lost and Found, in which he was required to perform many of the indignities that Farley once performed.
Lange has also popped up in such films as Mystery Men (1999) and The Bachelor (1999). In 2001 he began his career on Howard Stern’s radio show by replacing joke writer Jackie Martling. In late 2008 he released his autobiography, Too Fat to Fish, which debuted on the New York Times best-seller list. A year later his album Jack and Coke appeared on the Shout Factory label. ~ Derek Armstrong