Ann Oldenburg, USA Today
Howard Sternwas roasted, toasted, interviewed, hugged, hooted at and serenaded by aparade of stars Friday night. It was a party to celebrate his 60thbirthday, but it was also a four-hour SiriusXM radio show, broadcast live from the Hammerstein Ballroom in Manhattan.
It was, he said, "Overwhelming."
The shock jock and his longtime sidekick Robin Quivers took seats behind a desk on the side of the stage, leaving the hosting duties to his friend Jimmy Kimmel.
"Howard Stern did to radio what Picasso did to visual art," said Kimmel. "He was the first. He is the best."
And,added Kimmel, "We know exactly how long this man's penis is! He is themost self-absorbed person on the planet and we can't get enough of him."
Heurged the crowd to "look around the room at the variety of people.Drunks, whores, stock brokers, stutterers, Oscar-winners, retardedpeople... "
It was a wild crowd. Drinks flowed freely with waitresses walking upand down the aisles offering plastic cups of beer and paper cones ofpopcorn shrimp. Open bars were available on every level of the venue.
Onthe main floor, tables were set up, Golden Globe-style. Howard's wife,Beth, 41, had a table near the front of the room. Others were filled bycelebs including Robert Downey Jr., Tracy Morgan, Johnny Knoxville, George Takei, Barbara Walters, Jeff Probst, Larry King, Heidi Klum, Joan Rivers, John Stamos, Louis C.K., Jimmy Fallon, Kathy Griffin, David Letterman, Bryan Cranston, Sandra Bernhard, Chelsea Handler, Katie Couric and Steven Tyler.
"Why is Tan Mom here?" asked David Spadewhen we caught up with him. "Oh, I guess it's like that." And it waslike that -- she hiked up her long black gown and showed off her bikinibottoms from the second balcony for Howard. "Don't judge me, youmother(expletive)," she yelled to a heckler.
Gary Dell'Abate, the longtime producer of Howard's radio show (also known Baba Booey),said, "Everybody came out. Everybody said yes. The hardest thing for metonight was execution. Usually it's getting guests. But I've had thisthing locked and loaded forever. Nobody said no!"
Not even Gov. Chris Christie. As he spoke about fans having to head to New Jersey for the Super Bowl, one heckler yelled, "Take the tunnel!"
Robert Downey Jr. told Howard, "We all adore you!"
Barbara Walters blew Howard a kiss.
Katie Couric offered to have a threesome with Howard and his wife.
JoanRivers and Jeff Ross attempted some jokes. "Howard Stern has been inradio so long he bought Robin at an auction," said Ross, drawing groansfrom the crowd. And, "You're like a Jewish rock star. Guns & Noses. Iwant my nickel back!"
Whoopi Goldberg talked about how if she weren't at this party, she'd probably be home "getting high." Her Viewboss, Barbara Walters, gave that a big thumbs up when the camera cut toher for reaction, which made us wonder if she understood what was said.
Lena Dunham gave Howard a hard time for once comparing her to Jonah Hill, but noted it wasn't a problem, saying, "My boyfriend is a huge Moneyball fan."
George Clooney, Ellen DeGeneres and Jerry Seinfeld sent video wisecrack wishes.
DavidLetterman slowed the show down a bit when Howard spent nearly 30minutes doing an interview with the late-night show host about hiscareer, including discussing Letterman once played tennis with Johnny Carson.
Sarah Silverman and Natalie Maines sang a song about Howard and his "teeny weeny peeny."
Rosie O'Donnellserenaded Howard with a tune about how they used to feud but now that'sover. "If he were a girl, we'd make lesbian love. The new Howard Sternis my chum."
The Beach Boys, in a video featuring John Stamos, sang, "I wish weall could be just like Howard Stern," and "I wish we all could be asrich as Howard Stern."
Neil Young was show in a video making coffee and offering birthday wishes. "What are you now - 45? Fantastic!" he said to Howard.
Among the musicians who gave amazing performances for Howard were Adam Levine, John Mayer, Dave Grohl, Train, John Fogerty, Steven Tyler and Rob Zombie.
When we asked Larry King for his birthday message for Howard, King barked, "Grow up!"
GilbertGottfried's wish for Howard? "That he just keeps having me on no matterhow many times he get pissed at me. He makes me feel like a kid."
And Joan Rivers? "Enjoy every minute."
Does she think Howard should get plastic surgery?
"I think Howard's already had plastic surgery."
Did she hook him up with a good doctor?
"No, but he looks better than he did. And more power to him."
As for turning the big 6-0, Stern told USA TODAY, "I'm sort of indenial, I kind of go wow, I don't look 60, I look good! And then I see apicture of myself and go, 'Uhhh." But he added, "I feel good. I've beenworking out a bit."
"He's got a six-pack now!" Quivers said,adding that Howard "doesn't like the number (60) and can't believe ithas happened to him but he's dealing with it the best he can and keepingit all together." Howard's wife said he had lost 30 pounds in the lastsix months.
Was it because he's fearing growing old? No, he said."I got serious. I was just saying, 'Hey, I was getting a little heavy.Gotta nip it in the bud."
His SiriusXM contract runs through theend of 2015. But could he see himself still doing radio at 70? "Thatsounds crazy but I'm having the best time broadcasting with SiriusXM.That's true. No hype. We have a great studio. No FCC. So if it continuesto be this good, why not keep going for as long as I can?"