Whether you are a Howard Stern fan or not, Private parts is a biopic that tells the story of a man driven to be successful at a job that many told him he was not good at. Stern is a radio DJ that wanted to do radio on his terms. Fans know that sex and fart jokes are part of the Stern lexicon, but it is not the only tool on his utility belt. Stern has built his show around speaking about things that interest him (and hopefully the listeners) and having a real conversation using real adult themes. His show has been, for many years, a window into his real life and the lives of the people who work with him. There is nothing on his show that people do not speak about with friends at work, at home or anywhere else. He just happens to have a large broadcasting area. Sure there are sexual themes, but that is something that people talk about and it is something that people want to know what others think. There is crude humor, but again, if it was not funny, no one would listen. It has been my opinion that people who have a negative feeling toward Stern are not regular listeners. If you take something out of context you miss the satire, and realize that if you speak about something long enough it can loose power. Stern has been accused of being misogynistic, bigoted and a homophobic. If you listen to the show you would know that none of these things are true.
Private parts portrays stern from his early trials and tribulations of getting into the radio business, and how he built an extremely large following on terrestrial radio. The story also shows that Stern is a real person who loved his parents, loved his wife and kids. The story could be considered a love letter to his wife. Even though he did eventually get divorced, you can see that there was a relationship that most would consider “normal” and people sometimes part ways even though they still love each other.
The term “Shock Jock” is over used, but in the case of Stern, it was created for him. Some of the things he did were for shock value, but were also done because no one else was doing it and there was a market for that type of humor, even though it was non traditional radio fare.
Paul Giomatti has a spectacular performance as “Pig Vomit” a conglomeration of a few different bosses that Stern had during his career. If you are a fan you have already seen Private Parts (watch it again), if you are not a fan, look past the “shock” factor and see the story for what it is, a man trying to be successful along with having a family. Baba Booey to you all.
What are you watching?