Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Listen to my interview with Angry Black from my radio show, STEVE LUDWIG'S CLASSIC POP CULTURE: www.spreaker.com/user/mxpw/steve_ludwigs_classic_pop_culture_4_2

(Part Two)
By Steve Ludwig

Before I begin, may I take a moment to thank all of you from Venezuela, the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Sweden, Ukraine, Russia, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Germany, China, France, the Czech Republic, Israel, Indonesia, Latvia, South Africa, Romania, and of course, the good ol' United States of America who have read my blogs...I appreciate it, and I hope you enjoy reading this week's installment about my friend Angry Black, Shelley Harris.

So it's April 27, 2001. I find myself standing on line outside the (at the time) WWE Restaurant and Nightclub. Time: 5:45 AM.
It was still morning dark outside, and some of the Howard Stern, Angry Black, and Crazy Cabbie faithful were lined up waiting for entrance to the big fight between Angry Black and Cabbie.

I didn't find the need to get on line at 4 AM like some of the fans did; I was on Shelley's guest list, and my seat was assured.
By the time I got into the WWE club, it was 6:20 AM; Howard's radio show had begun twenty minutes earlier, with the fight scheduled for around 8 AM.

I went to the woman with the clipboard and told her I was on Angry Black's guest list. I was just a little nervous that Shelley had been so busy the day before that he may have forgotten to put me on the list.
But my worrying was for naught; there I was, right on the list!
I was given a VIP sticker (Huh? Um, it's only me...)) and was led to the front row, ringside.
But as I was being led to my seat, I heard Howard being piped in over the speaker system. I looked up at the stage and what do ya know...
 There they were: Howard, Fred, and Robin! (Jackie the Joke Man had left the show a month earlier over a salary dispute.)
It really was surreal. I'm a huge Howard fan, and to see him and Robin and Fred right there was an almost indescribable feeling. I kept saying to myself, as I was walking to my seat, "There's Howard...There's Howard!"
I sat down, front row, and felt like I must have still been in bed; this is just a dream, and in a few minutes the alarm will go off and I'll start getting ready for school.
But no, I was here. There were so many Wack Packers there. 
Imagine being in the same place as someone you truly enjoy. I mean, it was such a thrill.
I was seated right next to former boxing champ Iran Barkley. Iran was in the green room, as I was, the day before at the radio station.
"Hey, Champ!" I said as I extended my hand and sat down. 
He shook my hand and modestly answered, "Hi, I'm Iran Barkley."
"Oh, I know who you are," I told him. "I'm a big fight fan. I met you yesterday in the green room."
"Oh," he said. I don't think he remembered me, but he was surely friendly to me.
I asked if I could take a picture with him. He gladly obliged:

I got settled and stared like a dope at Howard for a while.
They sound just like they do on the radio (durrrrrrrrrrr), I remember thinking.
On the other side of the ring, I noticed wrestlers Triple H and Stone Cold Steve Austin.
A couple fans were posing for pictures with them. I totally blew it. I was gonna walk over and ask if I could take a picture with them but, and please don't ask me why, I figured being I had on a VIP sticker I should act a little cooler and not seem like the nutty star-chaser I really am!
It doesn't make sense, I know, but that's why I never got my picture taken with them.

The Iron Sheik was there...

Boxer Gerry Cooney was also in attendance, but I couldn't get to him; he was way over somewhere else (and anyway, I'm a VIP, dammit, why should I??).
The same goes for another boxer, Macho Camacho. Couldn't get to him (but again...Me - VIP, who cares??).
Bert Sugar, boxing writer and sports historian (who sadly passed away this past March) appeared out of nowhere on the stage, talking to Howard.

It was finally fight time. The crowd was so excited! Everybody who was tired from getting up so early that morning was suddenly wide awake.
 The fight was scheduled for five rounds.

Michael Buffer stepped into the ring. 
Everybody screamed with laughter as he introduced Shelley this way:
"The African-American pride of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting...Angry Black!"
A loud round of cheers greeted Shelley as he made his way into the ring, and I couldn't have been prouder of him.
 This was the real deal! Celebrities, famous athletes...Hank the Angry Drunken Dwarf!!!! They were all here!
Crazy Cabbie was introduced, to a mixture of boos and cheers.
Good, I thought, they like Shelley better.
"Let's get ready to rummmmbbbbbbllllle!!" Michael Buffer made it all official.

The bell rang, and I think most of the people in attendance were surprised at the ferocity of the punches; both Shelley and Cabbie put all the pre-fight hype aside, and they slugged it out!
Angry Black knocked Cabbie down in the second round; he bloodied Cabbie's nose!
Cabbie landed a few hard shots of his own. It was close after three rounds, but I had Shelley ahead. Sure, I suppose I gave him a few "friend points," but even Iran Barkley said he thought it was close when I asked him.
The strangest thing happened at one point in the fight, and I can't ever remember losing control like this since I've been sober (In my drinking days, all bets were off!).
At one point between rounds, Cabbie leaned over the rope at Shelley's section where all of Shelley's guests were sitting, and said something like, "Ah, he ain't nothin'!"
real arrogantly, just like a professional wrestler might.
Of course, we all booed, but I lifted both my hands, gave Cabbie a double-fingered salute, and yelled "F... You!!"
Oh, man, I quickly sat down and thought to myself, "Get a hold of yourself."
I don't know what came over me; talk about being caught up in the moment! I'm usually able to control myself.
I knew the fight was going to be broadcast on E! Television and NBC, and I started worrying: "Oh, no, what if my students see what I just did??" (Luckily, it happened between rounds and wasn't shown on TV. Shhhhh, our secret, OK?)

The final bell rang, and the judges' tallies were added up. In the meantime, Howard asked boxing expert Bert Sugar who he thought won the fight.
Sugar said it was close, but he'd give Angry Black the decision if it were up to him.
I agreed; Cabbie did rock Shelley on occasion, but Shelley definitely got the better of Cabbie.
Michael Buffer gave the final tally...The three judges' declared the fight a draw.

People cheered the decision; people booed the decision.
I still felt Shelley won, and so did Bert Sugar.
Macho Camacho said Cabbie won, but what did Camacho know, right? He should be glad I didn't stick my VIP sticker on his nose.

After the fight, during a radio commercial break, Howard came down to the ring to pose for pictures with the boxers and the boxers' handlers.

Ever the good guy, Shelley noticed me down at ringside. I gave him a thumbs-up, great job, and he motioned for me to come into the ring.
Nah, I shook my head. 
"Get up here. Howard, do you mind if my friend Steve comes in for a picture?"
"No, come on up," Howard said.
I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I walked up the ring stairs, bent down under the ropes (all the while very aware that I could easily trip on the way in and make a total jerk of myself), and stood alongside Howard and Shelley. Here it is:

All I could think to say was, "Thanks, Howard," and he simply replied, "You're welcome," and he started working his way out of the ring and back to the stage area to continue the radio show.
I shook Shelley's hand, told him great job, and went back to my seat. 
Howard was going to interview both Shelley and Cabbie, so Shelley also went to the stage.
I listened to the interviews for a while, noticed it was getting late in the morning, and decided to make my way out and to my car to get back to school for my afternoon classes.

An unforgettable experience, to be certain, and all because Shelley Harris is such a neat guy.
I asked Shelley a couple weeks ago if he's still in touch with Crazy Cabbie. I mean, they share a history with the Howard Stern Show that will last forever.
It seems Cabbie did Howard wrong a few years ago, and ever since then Shelley wants nothing to do with Cabbie.
As far as Shelley is concerned, nobody disses Howard.
The last thing you'd want to do is to make Shelley an Angry Black man.

Thanks for everything, Shelley...

Follow Shelley on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/AngryBlackTHSS

Follow me on Twitter: www.Twitter.com/Ludguy

If you enjoyed reading my blog, would you kindly consider buying my book? It's a funny (yes, that's right, funny) look at my quintuple open-heart bypass surgery, and it's called SEE YOU IN CCU - A LIGHTHEARTED TALE OF MY OPEN-HEART SURGERY. Go to my website  www.ccubook.com to buy it half-price. (Also available full price at amazon.com and bn.com).

And we can't forget my wise-guy brother, Tom. He and his buddy since second grade have a really neat blog. They discuss politics, sports, you name it. It's at  www.secondgrademinds.wordpress.com.

As always, thanks to the over 10,000 (and counting) of you who read my blogs!
  Good health, Steve

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