Artie LangeI heard it shortly after waking up yesterday morning, an incredible piece of live radio that will make Howard Stern Show history: sidekick Artie Lange having a heated on-air argument with his assistant Teddy, then launching himself at him and having to be restrained by several Stern show staffers, then walking back in and resigning from the show before leaving. Within an hour, “Artie Lange” was among the top ten Google search terms globally, the fan sites had crashed due to being overwhelmed by traffic, news outlets had picked up the story and hundreds of copies of the audio had been posted to YouTube, BitTorrent and elsewhere.

Adding to the general confusion among listeners was the fact that the show’s replay, which usually follows the live show and continues to replay all day long, was put on hold by programmer Tim Sabean, meaning that much of the audience was left in the dark about what exactly had taken place. And what had taken place was dramatic, to say the least. As reported by the Miami New Times:

“As he has done more and more frequently, Artie launched into a homophobic tirade. He threw a cup at Teddy, and then apparently lunged at him before being restrained by several cast members, including executive producer Gary Dell’Abate. Lange said that, had he reached him, Teddy would be ‘dead’ and the rotund comedian would be in jail. A dumbfounded Stern said he couldn’t condone Lange’s actions, and Artie replied that he couldn’t guarantee it wouldn’t happen again. Howard said he couldn’t have that. ‘Well, I resign,’ Artie said. Before he walked out, Lange said, ‘I’m not a good person … I gotta leave … I love you, Howard.’ ‘I love you too,’ said Stern, audibly shaken.”

What happens next is a matter of much speculation. The show is off the air until Monday, April 21st, which means no questions will be answered until then. Interestingly, most Stern listeners in a poll say they think Artie will be back. I’m not sure myself, though I’d be very disappointed if he leaves for good.

If you’d like to hear what happened for yourself, start here (Artie cracks about 4 minutes into the clip) and then go to Part 3.