Book Review: 'Loudmouth,' by Craig Carton | Bob's Blitz

Book Review: 'Loudmouth,' by Craig Carton

That's how the Boomer & Carton radio program opened today. It's pretty much how it opened on September 4, 2007 and how it's opened every show in-between. It's also how Craig Carton's autobiography, Loudmouth: Tales (and Fantasies) of Sports, Sex, and Salvation from Behind the Microphone (out June 4th from Simon & Schuster), opens. But not before a prologue titled SEEING MY SHADOW kicks off the fun ride at one of Craig's Brooklyn Bridge walks. The prologue, page 3 for God's sake, starts with a brutally honest take on Mike Francesa and a belligerent Joe Benigno. Both of whom openly wanted the Imus replacing new morning show to fail.

Know what you're thinking: "I know the stories and I know the rhymes." And the ones you do know are in there. His parents forced him into band and out of soccer. They put him in traction in an effort to cure the tics of Tourette's. He drove to Buffalo for his first radio job at WGR (at a whopping $12k per year) out of Syracuse in a broken down 1981 Buick (before moving on to WWWE in Cleveland, 610-WIP in Philadelphia, KKFN and KBPI in Denver, New Jersey 101.5 in New Jersey, WNEW in New York City and, of course, WFAN). Carton had a hemorrhoidectomy, became severely constipated after downing dozens of Vicodin, and then had to travel with a diaper to cover the Super Bowl.

But there are stories you couldn't even imagine. 260 pages (which we collectively read in one sitting) covers much more.

After Carton first spoke the line in the video above back in '07, columnists wrote: "What a terrible choice." "The show has no chance," bloggers predicted. Carton writes, "And some listeners complain that I was arrogant and full of myself. I not only remember every negative word written, spoken, and blogged about that first show, I remember every single person who said each thing. I use them and their comments as fuel to drive me to be the best, most successful radio host in the world."

Loudmouth delves deep into what drives a 'fucked up kid' like Craig Carton to eventually strive to be number one in radio. Family, OCD and ADD, a combination of both and more. How many folks do you know that could claim the following laundry list as their own?

  • Your first memory is of being punished for urinating in a plant at nursery school.
  • Your father forced you at a young age to eat shrimp when you did not want to...And when you vomited all over the restaurant's table - it was because you wanted to embarrass him.
  • You just might have become HC of the NY Jets if you'd taken Bill Belichick's offer.
  • You have a stalker with 'something between-the-ears wrong with them.'
  • You blew guaranteed oral sex with hookers not once, but multiple times.
  • You had a nose job forced upon you because a relative noted how big your schnoz was.
  • You've had sexual encounters with Chewbacca and an Oompa-Loompa.

Craig writes about all that. He also tells the tale of going to the room of a co-host to get him for a planned public appearance only to find a smoking and dirty crack pipe...and 15 joints. "Who the fuck smokes crack and who needs 15 joints at one time?" Apparently not someone who built the most trafficked sports handicapping website in the world (as CC did) but, instead, a talented talk show host who so loved WFAN that his screensaver was a picture of Chris "Mad Dog" Russo. One who would spend hours crying by the elevator hoping people weren't waiting for him to kill him.

When explaining his philosophy of radio work ethic it is not surprising when Carton says, "Radio is my drug. I need a microphone and an audience, even if I can't see them, to release my demons. Showing up and reading the newspaper was for lazy hosts with no ratings and no desire to be successful. I wanted to be a star and I was willing to work harder than anybody else to become one. Today, I see entitled kids who think they should be on the air right away in a major market, but I was willing to go anywhere and do anything." And in Loudmouth, he does.

True WFAN junkies will eat up the stories of Boomer Esiason, Benigno, and Francesa. (Craig's first conversation with Joe is outstanding...His first with Mike? Even better.) Sports fans in general will appreciate some unbelievable inside information. There's even a great Mark Sanchez versus Lawrence Taylor debate.

Readers will learn what and who inspired Carton's radio career. Much like strong influencer Howard Stern's ("He is the best interviewer I have ever heard to this day and he has an amazingly articulate way of making you care about what he says," Carton states) Private Parts, CC lets it all hang out. (Sometimes literally -- as he's worried about and preoccupied with his penis.) Stories of his youth, strippers, hookers, alcohol and eventually top of his industry success (combined with finding the love of his life Kim - who puts up with his multiple mental illnesses) will more than likely eventually be released as a major motion picture. Pre-release sales indicate it surely will be a bestseller.

We're working on acquiring specific excerpts from Loudmouth: Tales (and Fantasies) of Sports, Sex, and Salvation from Behind the Microphone. Check back here for those.

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