The event that Andy Cohen called “the gay super bowl” took place yesterday. Madonna appeared on Howard Stern for the first time. Since Madonna and Stern both made careers from shocking people and pushing boundaries, this seemed like a match made in interview heaven. He even moved the time of his show to 1pm to accommodate her busy rehearsal schedule. I will admit I listen to the show regularly while I work but I was particularly excited about this one. After his recent interview with Gwyneth Paltrow converted me from feeling rather uninterested in the actress to wishing I was her BFF, I was excited to see what he’d uncover about the pop icon I idolized as a child.
Madonna is fascinating because she is one of the last of her kind. It seems impossible for anyone to become as popular for as long with the way we consume media nowadays. We don’t collect albums by our favorite artists anymore, we don’t memorize every inch of packaging and booklets, and we don’t plan our evening around the premiere of a new video on MTV. She was one of the first mainstream artists to really take advantage of the art of the music video. She had us dressing like her, dancing like her, reading her books, watching her movies, buying her tapes and subscribing to HBO just for her concert specials.
Naturally, they saved the best for last so there was a lot of time to kill before she was interviewed … and it felt like it was just that. They were killing time and the episode was pretty boring. With all of the anticipation they managed to build, when the moment finally arrived for Madonna to come on it was almost annoying that she seemed so mellow. But any loyal Stern listener knows he has a way with interviews and it takes a little while for people to get comfortable. Unfortunately, she never seemed to. She did open up about a few things that were clearly sore subjects, like her childhood and being raped. She expertly managed to avoid conversations about serious relationships and who she thought was the best in the sack. The only thing I really learned (or maybe I just forgot) is that she dated 2Pac. She appears to be in denial about aging and death, which isn’t really surprising since she seems like a bit of a health and fitness nut.
Stern mentioned that he felt her film Truth or Dare is what started reality television and she agreed. This is an interesting thought and something I had never considered before. It seems entirely possible since MTV’s The Real World premiered a year later. But the mention of the film just made me long for THAT Madonna and not this grown-up woman that is trying really hard to sound normal.
I haven’t been a fan of her music in quite some time. It feels like she’s trying too hard to be relevant and still have the mass appeal she did decades before. However, the clip Stern played of what will be her second single off of Rebel Heart called “Ghosttown” is actually pretty decent. Still, I have to selfishly admit I’d kill to attend a Madonna concert if all classic material was played. Stern (now 60) may have improved his craft with age, but unfortunately I think it’s the other way around for Madonna (now 56).
Give the interview a listen here.
Oh and … Baba Booey Howard Stern’s penis.