Artie Lange: The Stench of Failure (2014) Poster

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A testament to Artie Lange's behavior
StevePulaski7 January 2015
Artie Lange is one of the few comedians working today who has the ability to be wickedly insightful about his past run-ins with drug addiction and can turn around almost immediately and say the raunchiest, filthiest thing one can think of at that moment. Lange has constantly found ways to shock and provoke, understandably so, with his unfiltered approach to comedy, and in The Stench of Failure, his latest, Comedy Central-sponsored special, he delivers more of the same debauchery and humor he has crafted over the years in film and on The Howard Stern Show.

Lange hits the ground running, talking early on about how his personal trainer and him got in a small argument about how the high you get from heroin is stronger than the high one gets from running, with the trainer speaking without personal experience on the former. Lange talks about he bet the trainer that he'd run three miles one day and the trainer would try heroin for the first time and they'd "compare notes" on the highs they received. Following that, Lange divulges into a barrage of different ideas, such as offering to break former Penn State football head coach Jerry Sandusky out of prison so he could have his way with pop singer Justin Bieber, along with offering his funniest bit of the special by discussing his time playing Scrabble in a mental asylum.

Lange is a zealous performer, ribald and limitless in what he wants to discuss, and even if his humor provokes occasional discomfort and wincing, one must admire the way he doesn't care what kind of controversy he stirs. This was proved by the blowback he received after making sexually-explicit, racially-charged comments on Twitter about ESPN First Take sportscaster Cari Champion, and how he refused to apologize for his comments unless Champion said herself that she was indeed disgusted. The Stench of Failure is a testament to Lange's behavior, and we can see a sort of cathartic release emerge from Lange after he talks about his battles with heroin and prescription drugs. This is a rewarding special mainly because it shows the release of one man through the most rampant, uncontrollable drug of them all, which is humor.

Directed by: Ryan Polito.
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Works better in American than in Europe.
deloudelouvain19 February 2023
Artie Lange had issues and he's not afraid to admit that. From alcohol to drug addiction, all that had a toll on his life and body, it's undeniable. That he fought his demons I can only applaud, but I wished he didn't spoke lightly about heroin like it's just another drug you should experience. He's a born entertainer, speaks easily about everything, has a good sense of humour. As an European I had some difficulties to understand all of his jokes as here almost nobody knows about American football players and such, so when he makes jokes about them we have no clue about the person he talks, even lesser about their background. So I think his shows will have a bigger success on American soil. But for the rest it was entertaining. I don't regret watching The Stench of Failure.
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