Martling was Howard Stern's head writer and on-air right hand joke man from 1986 to 2001. Martling left the show over a contract dispute in an attempt to negotiate a higher salary, but got a rude awakening when the Stern Show immediately began auditioning other comedians to take his spot.
Lange asked Martling if he was angry when he realized he had lost the gig.
"It was really a case of 'I made my bed and had to lie in it,'" said Martling. "When I called and said: 'Listen, I'll take the deal that's on the table' and they didn't call back I was like: 'You know, they could have at least called back and said 'No,' but you know, they never do that. But there was no anger. I did it. You can't do that unless you're willing to do the gig."
Lange officially landed the job in Martling's chair in October 2001. He became an instant hit on the Howard Stern Show and his stand-up comedy stock went through the roof. Everything changed when Lange tried heroin for the first time in 2007 and began a slow, painful, public on-air down spiral into addiction and depression, culminating in a suicide attempt by stabbing in January 2010, shortly after he'd been placed on mandatory medical leave by Sirius XM management.
Lange blamed his eventual downfall on "getting addicted to the money" that came along with offers of stand-up comedy gigs around the country now that he was a Stern Show star. In his attempt to maintain both his radio day job and wild party weekends on the road, his other addictions to drugs and alcohol took hold.
“I screwed up," said Lange. "I took too many gigs on the road and I set up myself to be a much worse addict than you [Jackie] and other people...To do anything for eight and a half years is extraordinary for someone like me," said Lange. "But, the job was so much fun and so cool that I was able to do it. And people go: ‘it seems like you screwed up the best job ever’ and I’m like: ‘You’re right’.”
Lange is scheduled to release his second memoir "Crash and Burn," which focuses on his Howard Stern Show years, at some time in 2013. Stern has said repeatedly on air that he will not have Lange back in the studio, even for a guest spot, fearing that it could damage Lange's fragile mental health state.