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Fears of a Clown 

Stern sidekick freaks out about anal sex and infected puppets.

Artie Lange swears he isn't a homophobe; he just doesn't see the pleasure in getting a poke up his poop chute. "If you say to me, 'Art, are you afraid of getting fucked in the ass?' I don't want to offend anybody, but I'd have to say it might be my single biggest fear," says Lange, who's in town tonight for a one-man show at Playhouse Square. "I'm also afraid of heights. But I have to put getting fucked in the ass right up there with heights."Since late 2001, Lange's comedy career as a joke-buster on The Howard Stern Show has soared. He scored the gig after a tumultuous time as a cast member on MADtv. Stern still recalls "the pig story," a Babe/Baywatch parody taped by the show. In what Lange sums up as his lowest point — at least while on cocaine — he passed out in his hotel room after the shoot. He woke up the next morning to find he had defecated (defecate is so technical; used his bed as a toilet? painted his bed brown? soiled, even?) in his bed. "It was like that scene in The Godfather, when the guy wakes up next to the horse's head," says Lange.Now that he's sobered up, he claims that children's TV has become too politically correct. Take the Sesame Street episode in which the show's South African version added a character with AIDS. "A puppet with fucking AIDS!" shrieks Lange. "In America, we said, 'No!' They said, 'Why?' Because we don't want to depress the shit out of 4-year-olds." Artie Lange performs at 9 tonight at the State Theatre, 1519 Euclid Avenue. Tickets are $44 to $81.50. Call 216-771-0217 or visit www.playhousesquare.com.
Fri., Dec. 7, 9 p.m., 2007

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