They Call Me Baba Booey

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Baba Booey’s Afghanistan Journal!
and . . . the Shvoogie Buzzer story!

One of pop culture’s great enduring unsung heroes: Gary Dell’Abate, Howard Stern Show ...

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Overview

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

Includes all-new ma-ma-material!
ALL NEW CHAPTER:
Baba Booey’s Afghanistan Journal!
and . . . the Shvoogie Buzzer story!

One of pop culture’s great enduring unsung heroes: Gary Dell’Abate, Howard Stern Show producer, miracle worker, professional good sport, and servant to the King of All Media, tells the story of his early years and reveals how his chaotic childhood and early obsessions prepared him for life at the center of the greatest show on earth.

 
Baba Booey! Baba Booey! It was a slip of the tongue—that unfortunately was heard by a few million listeners—but in that split second a nickname, a persona, a rallying cry, and a phenomenon was born. Some would say it was the moment Gary Dell’Abate, the long-suffering heroic producer of The Howard Stern Show, for better or worse, finally came into his own. In They Call Me Baba Booey, Dell’Abate explains how his early life was the perfect training ground for the day-to-day chaos that comes with producing the most popular radio show on earth.

Growing up on Long Island in the 1970s, the youngest of three boys born to a clinically depressed mother, Gary learned how to fend for himself when under attack.  Obsessed with music, he listened with religious intensity to Casey Kasem's Top 40 every Sunday morning, compulsively bought 45s of his favorite songs, and nerdily copied the lyrics into a notebook. Music became an ordering principle to his life, even as the chaos at home got out of hand. Dell’Abate’s memoir sketches the trajectory from the obsessive pop-music trivia buff to the man in the beekeeper’s mask who handily defeats his opponents playing “Stump the Booey.” We learn about the memorable moments in his life that taught him to endure epic bouts of humiliation and get his unique perspective on some of his favorite Stern show episodes—such as the day he nearly killed the Mets mascot while throwing out the first pitch, or the time his mother called Howard’s mother and demanded an apology.

Hilarious, painful, and eye-opening, it’s Gary as you’ve never seen him before, telling a story that even Stern show insiders can’t begin to imagine.

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  • They Call Me Baba Booey
    They Call Me Baba Booey  

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Gary Dell'Abate is not exactly a household name, except that is in the millions of households that tune in daily to The Howard Stern Show. Gary, or "Baby Booey" as he is commonly known, is the show's indefatigable producer, stoic scapegoat, and full-time comic relief. In this surprisingly revealing memoir, this affable butt speaks candidly about his Long Island childhood, his personal obsessions, and his strange encounters with fame and mock infamy. An entertaining, sometimes hilarious read for Howard Stern's many fervent fans.

From the Publisher
“Hilarious, sincere, and wrenching.”—GQ

“Equal parts amazing and amusing . . . Fans will eat up the mortifying moments of [Dell’Abate’s] twenty-seven-year ride with the wildly popular and influential Stern show. . . . But it is the stories of extreme family dysfunction that give the book surprising heart.”—NJ.com

“Dell’Abate [has] pulled back the curtain [and his fans] will be pleasantly surprised.”—Entertainment Weekly
 
“Gary’s chronicle of how he developed the skills to survive a household shaken by both mental illness and the seismic shifts of the sixties, and of how he’s applied those skills to accommodate Howard and the gang, is nothing less than fascinating.”—Dr. Drew Pinsky
 
“Following the simple plan outlined in this book, I lost fifteen pounds and became a happier wife and better mother.”—Howard Stern
 
“If you think your family is nuts, wait until you read this story.”—Joan Rivers

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400069552
  • Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 11/2/2010
  • Pages: 304
  • Product dimensions: 5.80 (w) x 8.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Gary Dell'Abate
Gary Dell’Abate is the producer of The Howard Stern Show and co-hosts The Wrap-Up Show on Sirius XM Radio. He and his wife, Mary, have two sons, Jackson and Lucas, and live in Connecticut.
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Read an Excerpt

Chapter 1

I stood on the avocado green carpet of my living room in Uniondale, Long Island. My mom, Ellen, walked out of her bedroom, carrying an overnight bag she had just packed. Our house was a one-story ranch, and I watched her as she inched down the hall toward the living room.

She stopped just a few steps from me and bent down, practically kneeling on the carpet in her dress. She always cared about how she looked, no matter where she was going. "Come here," she told me. I was five years old and she wanted to tell me something face-to-face. I walked closer. She hugged me and said, "Mommy isn't feeling very well. I have to go away for a couple of days."

I knew she cried a lot. I knew she screamed a lot. And I knew people didn't do those things unless something was wrong. I thought she was physically sick and going to a hospital to get better.

My older brothers, Anthony, who was thirteen, and Steven, who was eleven, stood next to her. They knew what was really happening. So did my aunt Maryann, who had come over to watch us that afternoon.

When my mom let go of me she stood up, smoothed down her dress, picked up her bag, and followed my dad, Sal, out the front door. They were headed for the psych ward at Syosset Hospital.

My parents met in 1947 at Webster Hall, a dance place in Manhattan. He was twenty-two from Little Italy; she was twenty and from Bensonhurst, in Brooklyn. "He walked up to me and asked me to dance," my mom once told me. "I told him, 'I heard about all you fellas from Manhattan. You're all a bunch of gangsters.' And he said, 'Yeah, I checked my gun at the bar.' I thought, how sarcastic. That intrigued me.

"My friend Anne thought he was so cute-he reminded her of Humphrey Bogart. He had on a pin-striped suit and really did look like Bogart."

My mom was stylish, had a big smile, and loved mugging for a crowd or a camera. In every picture I have ever seen of her, from when she was young to today, she looks happy. There was never any sign in her eyes of the trouble behind them. On Saturdays when I was growing up, she'd spend three hours at the beauty parlor getting her hair colored and cut and then would sit with rollers in her hair under one of those huge dryers. She even had a cape and a hat that made her look just like Marlo Thomas in the opening credits for That Girl. She always liked to keep up appearances.

That was true when she was growing up in Bensonhurst, too. Her parents came to America from Sicily and Reggio Calabria when they were both kids. They met in Brooklyn and had seven children over fifteen years. The oldest one, Aunt Josie, was nicknamed the General, because she did a lot of the child rearing. My grandmother worked as a seamstress and my grandfather was a construction worker (my aunts and uncles say he helped build the Empire State Building, but I think people say that about every construction worker from back then). My mom was the baby of the Cotroneo clan. The whole family lived together in a multifamily apartment building my grandfather owned.

But my mother didn't grow up rich. My mom likes to tell the story about how she wore nothing but hand-me-downs and had to put cardboard in her shoes because the soles had holes in them. She worked at Macy's while in high school and she'd bring her check home and hand it over to her mother, who cashed it and took all the money, except for a couple of bucks she kicked back to my mother.

None of the Cotroneos moved out of the building until long after they were married. Newlywed kids lived in one of the building's apartments until they could save enough money to buy a place of their own. Of course, most of them didn't move very far away. I had an uncle who moved to Los Angeles and an aunt who lived near us in Uniondale. Everyone else settled within a quarter mile of each other in Bensonhurst. Growing up we went to Brooklyn at least a couple of Sundays every month for huge Italian family dinners, the kind that began at three in the afternoon and started with three or four kinds of pasta piled with different meat sauces. That's when my aunt Angie, who probably never set foot outside Brooklyn, used to say to us, "Brooklyn is the best place in the world. I don't know why anyone would want to live anywhere else."

As close as they were, my mom's family loved arguing. It was like they couldn't stand to be too far away and then couldn't stand the sight of each other. Chaos reigned at those family meals. My father called them the Fighting Cotroneos.

His family was different. He grew up in a railroad flat in Little Italy, on the corner of Mott and Hester. His family was quieter and a little sadder. When my dad was small-"Too small to remember all the details," he once told me-he had a one-year-old brother who died from a throat infection. The funeral was held in his parents' apartment.

My dad was always in great shape and kind of looked like a low-level hood. There's a great picture of him and my mom from their wedding in 1951. They both have ink black hair-hers is down to her shoulders and his is slicked black. He's got on a double-breasted black tuxedo with a white tie-he was a dead ringer for Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto. They were both rail thin, but my dad had butcher's hands. Thick and strong.

He wasn't afraid of a fight, either. There was always tension with the Chinese where he lived because Chinatown and Little Italy are basically right on top of each other. One night he got into a fight with a kid from across Canal Street-which separates the two neighborhoods-and beat the crap out of him. A week later my dad saw the kid again, only this time he was in the back of a police car, pointing at him. Two cops got out, picked my dad up, and arrested him. He ended up spending the night at the Tombs, which is what they called the jail in lower Manhattan. It deserved the nickname.

My dad was pretty smart. A junior high teacher recommended him for Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City's top public schools. "But I was always goofing around with kids in my neighborhood, so I dropped out. Never graduated. You weren't supposed to know that," my dad once told me when I interviewed him for a family history video.

He wasn't a thug-but he lived on the periphery of the mob that ran Little Italy. And he liked to gamble. Even though he grew up on the Lower East Side, my dad loved the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1951, when Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hit a game-winning home run to beat the Dodgers for the National League pennant, my dad lost a shitload of money. He was listening to the game on the roof of his building and was so upset he threw the radio over the edge.

Years later, I was signing autographs at an event and Giants hero Thomson was there, too, right next to me. I told him that story so he signed a picture for my father, which read, "To Sal, Sorry about the radio, Bobby Thomson."

My dad knew enough about gambling and the guys running the rackets in his neighborhood to know it wasn't the life for him. When World War II started he had just dropped out of high school so he decided to join the army. For more than a year he moved through the United States, training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, then in Illinois, and finally in Hawaii, "for jungle training," he said. When he finally shipped out to fight in the Pacific he thought he was headed for the Yap Islands, but the officers on the ship announced that plans had changed. They were headed for the Philippines.

My mother later told me that when the two of them went to see Saving Private Ryan it was harrowing; it put my dad right back in the war. He was seventeen when he landed in the Philippines. Unreal. When I was seventeen I was reading album liner notes trying to figure out who played horns on a Bob Seger record. My dad told me, "It was just like that movie. Guys were puking as they bounced around the waves. Then the front of the boat comes down and we run into the water and it's just every man for himself, guys were being killed right next to me on the beach."

He spent his war on the front lines as a medic, even though he hadn't even graduated from high school. It didn't matter. He wasn't doing battlefield surgery. His job was to patch someone together quick so they could stay alive long enough to get attention from the real doctors. Medics didn't have the option of ignoring it when one of their guys was screaming. No matter how bad the gunfire, they had to get low and go. And they were constantly under attack. "Banzai attacks," my father called them. They happened at night. "You don't hear them. It was hand-to-hand combat with bayonets. Every hill, every village was a battle."

There was one firefight he remembered that went on for two straight nights. They were under heavy attack, and my dad was in a foxhole when he heard someone yelling, "Medic! Medic!"

"We were dug in and the Japs were dug in and we were shooting at each other," he said. "Our men were hurt in the middle of no-man's-land and the officer called for me. I crawled out there, bandaged them up, gave them sulfur, and dragged one guy back at a time. I couldn't stand up because fire was coming constantly. It's all luck, who lives."

For that he earned a Bronze Star. Not that he wanted to discuss it. Ever. I remember when John Kerry was running for president my dad saw him on TV and said, "I don't like that guy." I asked him why and he said, "Because he's always talking about his medals." This was when the Republicans were claiming Kerry hadn't earned his Vietnam honors. I said, "Dad, he's being attacked. I thought if anyone would be on his side it would be you." But my dad said, "I don't care. You don't talk about it. Talking about it is wrong."

Later in the war, while in Okinawa, my father's unit was under fire and an artillery shell exploded above his head. A piece of shrapnel pierced his backpack and became embedded next to his lung. They shipped him out to a hospital, performed surgery, let him recover for a month, and then shipped him back to the front lines. "As they were giving us new weapons and clothes for a major offensive, we got word that Truman had dropped the bomb. The war was over. Two weeks later I came home."

I once asked my dad if he'd ever killed anyone and he ignored the question. But my older brother Anthony claims that, before my father died, he confessed to doing some bad things over there.

When he came home he hustled, delivering coffee around Manhattan, polishing costume jewelry, working as a proofreader for a publishing company. He was a young guy on the make. And my mom was a young woman with a little bit of sass. When I think of them courting each other I envision the movie Goodfellas, particularly the scenes in the nightclubs. My parents always used to talk about going to the Copa. I also hear my mom imitating her mother, who called my dad "the Mott Street gambler."

"When he would be coming over my mother didn't even say his name," my mom told me. "She just said, 'Is Mott Street coming over?' "

It wasn't that my grandma didn't like him. She was just wary of guys who dressed like gangsters, lived in the city, and courted her daughter. Still, that didn't stop my parents from getting married at a Coney Island Italian restaurant called Villa Joe's, in front of one hundred friends and family.

Naturally, after their weeklong honeymoon in Miami, they moved into an apartment in the Cotroneos' building in Bensonhurst. Their life together seemed like the beginning of their own American dream. "Back then," my father once told me, "your mom was normal."

The night after my mom went into the hospital, my dad and I took a ride to the Syosset psych ward. I was five, too young to visit her there, but my brothers weren't, and they had spent the afternoon with her. It was time for them to come home, and my dad thought the car ride would be a good opportunity to explain what was going on.

He never talked to me like I was a kid. I try to talk to my kids the same way-honestly. There were plenty of times when, after my mom experienced a screaming fit or broke down in tears, he told me I hadn't done anything wrong, that it wasn't my fault Mom was upset. And he made sure I understood it wasn't his fault, either.

Syosset Hospital was twenty-five minutes from our house. While driving, my dad said to me, "Your mom is sick. But not the regular kind of sick."

"What does that mean?" I asked.

"Her brain his sick," he answered. "And when she acts sad or angry it isn't her fault. She doesn't want to be like this." That sounded good to me. I knew enough to think that doctors made people better.

The hospital was a big, gray, stone building that was six stories high, tall for Long Island. We pulled into a circular driveway that was surrounded by flowers and then walked into the first-floor lobby, which was bustling with people. To a five-year-old, it was a fantastic place. The walls were painted a bright yellow; there was a gift shop and couches to play on and a vending machine in the corner. It wasn't a mental institution. It was exciting. And it was where my mother was, so it was where I wanted to be.

The door to the psych ward happened to be directly off the main lobby, and the entry was always protected by a security guard, who looked like he was defending Fort Knox. That's because it wasn't just a regular door, but something heavy that moved back and forth with wires and cables. You had to push a button that opened it. My father worked in the ice cream business-first as a deliveryman and then in sales-and I had been to his office in the Bronx. It had a blast freezer that was kept at 40 degrees below zero to store inventory. I loved that the door to my mom's room at the hospital looked just like the one at the ice cream factory. As I got older, I realized it also looked like the last line of defense in a cell block.

From the Hardcover edition.

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First Chapter

They Call Me Baba Booey


By Gary Dell'Abate

Spiegel & Grau

Copyright © 2010 Gary Dell'Abate
All right reserved.

ISBN: 9781400069552

Chapter 1

I stood on the avocado green carpet of my living room in Uniondale, Long Island. My mom, Ellen, walked out of her bedroom, carrying an overnight bag she had just packed. Our house was a one-story ranch, and I watched her as she inched down the hall toward the living room.

She stopped just a few steps from me and bent down, practically kneeling on the carpet in her dress. She always cared about how she looked, no matter where she was going. "Come here," she told me. I was five years old and she wanted to tell me something face-to-face. I walked closer. She hugged me and said, "Mommy isn't feeling very well. I have to go away for a couple of days."

I knew she cried a lot. I knew she screamed a lot. And I knew people didn't do those things unless something was wrong. I thought she was physically sick and going to a hospital to get better.

My older brothers, Anthony, who was thirteen, and Steven, who was eleven, stood next to her. They knew what was really happening. So did my aunt Maryann, who had come over to watch us that afternoon.

When my mom let go of me she stood up, smoothed down her dress, picked up her bag, and followed my dad, Sal, out the front door. They were headed for the psych ward at Syosset Hospital.

My parents met in 1947 at Webster Hall, a dance place in Manhattan. He was twenty-two from Little Italy; she was twenty and from Bensonhurst, in Brooklyn. "He walked up to me and asked me to dance," my mom once told me. "I told him, 'I heard about all you fellas from Manhattan. You're all a bunch of gangsters.' And he said, 'Yeah, I checked my gun at the bar.' I thought, how sarcastic. That intrigued me.

"My friend Anne thought he was so cute-he reminded her of Humphrey Bogart. He had on a pin-striped suit and really did look like Bogart."

My mom was stylish, had a big smile, and loved mugging for a crowd or a camera. In every picture I have ever seen of her, from when she was young to today, she looks happy. There was never any sign in her eyes of the trouble behind them. On Saturdays when I was growing up, she'd spend three hours at the beauty parlor getting her hair colored and cut and then would sit with rollers in her hair under one of those huge dryers. She even had a cape and a hat that made her look just like Marlo Thomas in the opening credits for That Girl. She always liked to keep up appearances.

That was true when she was growing up in Bensonhurst, too. Her parents came to America from Sicily and Reggio Calabria when they were both kids. They met in Brooklyn and had seven children over fifteen years. The oldest one, Aunt Josie, was nicknamed the General, because she did a lot of the child rearing. My grandmother worked as a seamstress and my grandfather was a construction worker (my aunts and uncles say he helped build the Empire State Building, but I think people say that about every construction worker from back then). My mom was the baby of the Cotroneo clan. The whole family lived together in a multifamily apartment building my grandfather owned.

But my mother didn't grow up rich. My mom likes to tell the story about how she wore nothing but hand-me-downs and had to put cardboard in her shoes because the soles had holes in them. She worked at Macy's while in high school and she'd bring her check home and hand it over to her mother, who cashed it and took all the money, except for a couple of bucks she kicked back to my mother.

None of the Cotroneos moved out of the building until long after they were married. Newlywed kids lived in one of the building's apartments until they could save enough money to buy a place of their own. Of course, most of them didn't move very far away. I had an uncle who moved to Los Angeles and an aunt who lived near us in Uniondale. Everyone else settled within a quarter mile of each other in Bensonhurst. Growing up we went to Brooklyn at least a couple of Sundays every month for huge Italian family dinners, the kind that began at three in the afternoon and started with three or four kinds of pasta piled with different meat sauces. That's when my aunt Angie, who probably never set foot outside Brooklyn, used to say to us, "Brooklyn is the best place in the world. I don't know why anyone would want to live anywhere else."

As close as they were, my mom's family loved arguing. It was like they couldn't stand to be too far away and then couldn't stand the sight of each other. Chaos reigned at those family meals. My father called them the Fighting Cotroneos.

His family was different. He grew up in a railroad flat in Little Italy, on the corner of Mott and Hester. His family was quieter and a little sadder. When my dad was small-"Too small to remember all the details," he once told me-he had a one-year-old brother who died from a throat infection. The funeral was held in his parents' apartment.

My dad was always in great shape and kind of looked like a low-level hood. There's a great picture of him and my mom from their wedding in 1951. They both have ink black hair-hers is down to her shoulders and his is slicked black. He's got on a double-breasted black tuxedo with a white tie-he was a dead ringer for Yankees shortstop Phil Rizzuto. They were both rail thin, but my dad had butcher's hands. Thick and strong.

He wasn't afraid of a fight, either. There was always tension with the Chinese where he lived because Chinatown and Little Italy are basically right on top of each other. One night he got into a fight with a kid from across Canal Street-which separates the two neighborhoods-and beat the crap out of him. A week later my dad saw the kid again, only this time he was in the back of a police car, pointing at him. Two cops got out, picked my dad up, and arrested him. He ended up spending the night at the Tombs, which is what they called the jail in lower Manhattan. It deserved the nickname.

My dad was pretty smart. A junior high teacher recommended him for Stuyvesant High School, one of New York City's top public schools. "But I was always goofing around with kids in my neighborhood, so I dropped out. Never graduated. You weren't supposed to know that," my dad once told me when I interviewed him for a family history video.

He wasn't a thug-but he lived on the periphery of the mob that ran Little Italy. And he liked to gamble. Even though he grew up on the Lower East Side, my dad loved the Brooklyn Dodgers. In 1951, when Bobby Thomson of the New York Giants hit a game-winning home run to beat the Dodgers for the National League pennant, my dad lost a shitload of money. He was listening to the game on the roof of his building and was so upset he threw the radio over the edge.

Years later, I was signing autographs at an event and Giants hero Thomson was there, too, right next to me. I told him that story so he signed a picture for my father, which read, "To Sal, Sorry about the radio, Bobby Thomson."

My dad knew enough about gambling and the guys running the rackets in his neighborhood to know it wasn't the life for him. When World War II started he had just dropped out of high school so he decided to join the army. For more than a year he moved through the United States, training at Fort Dix in New Jersey, then in Illinois, and finally in Hawaii, "for jungle training," he said. When he finally shipped out to fight in the Pacific he thought he was headed for the Yap Islands, but the officers on the ship announced that plans had changed. They were headed for the Philippines.

My mother later told me that when the two of them went to see Saving Private Ryan it was harrowing; it put my dad right back in the war. He was seventeen when he landed in the Philippines. Unreal. When I was seventeen I was reading album liner notes trying to figure out who played horns on a Bob Seger record. My dad told me, "It was just like that movie. Guys were puking as they bounced around the waves. Then the front of the boat comes down and we run into the water and it's just every man for himself, guys were being killed right next to me on the beach."

He spent his war on the front lines as a medic, even though he hadn't even graduated from high school. It didn't matter. He wasn't doing battlefield surgery. His job was to patch someone together quick so they could stay alive long enough to get attention from the real doctors. Medics didn't have the option of ignoring it when one of their guys was screaming. No matter how bad the gunfire, they had to get low and go. And they were constantly under attack. "Banzai attacks," my father called them. They happened at night. "You don't hear them. It was hand-to-hand combat with bayonets. Every hill, every village was a battle."

There was one firefight he remembered that went on for two straight nights. They were under heavy attack, and my dad was in a foxhole when he heard someone yelling, "Medic! Medic!"

"We were dug in and the Japs were dug in and we were shooting at each other," he said. "Our men were hurt in the middle of no-man's-land and the officer called for me. I crawled out there, bandaged them up, gave them sulfur, and dragged one guy back at a time. I couldn't stand up because fire was coming constantly. It's all luck, who lives."

For that he earned a Bronze Star. Not that he wanted to discuss it. Ever. I remember when John Kerry was running for president my dad saw him on TV and said, "I don't like that guy." I asked him why and he said, "Because he's always talking about his medals." This was when the Republicans were claiming Kerry hadn't earned his Vietnam honors. I said, "Dad, he's being attacked. I thought if anyone would be on his side it would be you." But my dad said, "I don't care. You don't talk about it. Talking about it is wrong."

Later in the war, while in Okinawa, my father's unit was under fire and an artillery shell exploded above his head. A piece of shrapnel pierced his backpack and became embedded next to his lung. They shipped him out to a hospital, performed surgery, let him recover for a month, and then shipped him back to the front lines. "As they were giving us new weapons and clothes for a major offensive, we got word that Truman had dropped the bomb. The war was over. Two weeks later I came home."

I once asked my dad if he'd ever killed anyone and he ignored the question. But my older brother Anthony claims that, before my father died, he confessed to doing some bad things over there.

When he came home he hustled, delivering coffee around Manhattan, polishing costume jewelry, working as a proofreader for a publishing company. He was a young guy on the make. And my mom was a young woman with a little bit of sass. When I think of them courting each other I envision the movie Goodfellas, particularly the scenes in the nightclubs. My parents always used to talk about going to the Copa. I also hear my mom imitating her mother, who called my dad "the Mott Street gambler."

"When he would be coming over my mother didn't even say his name," my mom told me. "She just said, 'Is Mott Street coming over?' "

It wasn't that my grandma didn't like him. She was just wary of guys who dressed like gangsters, lived in the city, and courted her daughter. Still, that didn't stop my parents from getting married at a Coney Island Italian restaurant called Villa Joe's, in front of one hundred friends and family.

Naturally, after their weeklong honeymoon in Miami, they moved into an apartment in the Cotroneos' building in Bensonhurst. Their life together seemed like the beginning of their own American dream. "Back then," my father once told me, "your mom was normal."

The night after my mom went into the hospital, my dad and I took a ride to the Syosset psych ward. I was five, too young to visit her there, but my brothers weren't, and they had spent the afternoon with her. It was time for them to come home, and my dad thought the car ride would be a good opportunity to explain what was going on.

He never talked to me like I was a kid. I try to talk to my kids the same way-honestly. There were plenty of times when, after my mom experienced a screaming fit or broke down in tears, he told me I hadn't done anything wrong, that it wasn't my fault Mom was upset. And he made sure I understood it wasn't his fault, either.

Syosset Hospital was twenty-five minutes from our house. While driving, my dad said to me, "Your mom is sick. But not the regular kind of sick."

"What does that mean?" I asked.

"Her brain his sick," he answered. "And when she acts sad or angry it isn't her fault. She doesn't want to be like this." That sounded good to me. I knew enough to think that doctors made people better.

The hospital was a big, gray, stone building that was six stories high, tall for Long Island. We pulled into a circular driveway that was surrounded by flowers and then walked into the first-floor lobby, which was bustling with people. To a five-year-old, it was a fantastic place. The walls were painted a bright yellow; there was a gift shop and couches to play on and a vending machine in the corner. It wasn't a mental institution. It was exciting. And it was where my mother was, so it was where I wanted to be.

The door to the psych ward happened to be directly off the main lobby, and the entry was always protected by a security guard, who looked like he was defending Fort Knox. That's because it wasn't just a regular door, but something heavy that moved back and forth with wires and cables. You had to push a button that opened it. My father worked in the ice cream business-first as a deliveryman and then in sales-and I had been to his office in the Bronx. It had a blast freezer that was kept at 40 degrees below zero to store inventory. I loved that the door to my mom's room at the hospital looked just like the one at the ice cream factory. As I got older, I realized it also looked like the last line of defense in a cell block.

Continues...

Excerpted from They Call Me Baba Booey by Gary Dell'Abate Copyright © 2010 by Gary Dell'Abate. Excerpted by permission of Spiegel & Grau, a division of Random House, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 203 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2011

    Very Good Book!

    You don't have to be a Howard Stern fan to like this book!! I like the book very much, and I would certainly recommend it to people. My only problem with it is that it seems to jump around quite a bit, and the time periods become confusing at points. Other than that, Gary offers a real interesting glimpse into his life.

    Baba Booey to ya'll!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted June 13, 2014

    Outstanding but not for mindless stern fans

    If you are just another mindless Howard Stern fan looking for a star book about him, forget it. But if you are a fan of radio and want to read an outstanding insider book, this is for you. Gary shares his life, from growing up with his weird but wonderful family, through the years when he found his love of Rsdio and got lucky to become a major force in it. This is a great read!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 15, 2012

    Pillars of the erth Pillars of the earth

    Fatal lies

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 17, 2012

    Great read

    If you like the howard stern show you will love this

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted July 13, 2011

    Good Very touching

    Goes way beyond his Stern career.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 23, 2011

    Ba Ba Brilliant!!

    Gary is so honest and funny!! This autobiography is very well written and entertaining. You will find yourself laughing and crying. Gary did a great job and I'd recommend his book to anybody who likes biographies, not just Howard fans.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 8, 2011

    belghh

    barferoni with cheese

    0 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 12, 2011

    Big Howard Stern fan!!!

    The book was very good. I wish the book would of been more about the backscenes of the show !! But maybe that will be book 2.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 31, 2010

    Great Insight!

    I've loved the Stern Show since I was a senior in HS and the day I heard they were moving to Sirius, I went with them and this book gives a fan who was not there or even alive from day 1 some insight into how things worked in the beginning. It also made Gary an even more likable "character," as I could relate to his family stories. I would recommend this book to anyone looking for an easy and entertaining read about the show.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 22, 2010

    This book is a big surprise

    If you like Howard Stern and follow his staff, this is a must read. I was surprised how good this book was! If you're not a Howard fan and don't listen to his show, then this book will not be for you. But I loved it!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 1, 2010

    Enjoyable

    I am a huge, long time fan and listener of The Howard Stern Show. I've always held a special place in my heart for Gary. He takes tons of crap and keeps on going, like the energizer bunny! I never thought he got enough credit for what he does and he never asks for it. Very humble guy.


    They Call Me Baba Booey is not about Howard or a behind the scenes look at the show, it is Gary's book about Gary. I never knew how hard he had it growing up but he overcame all the blocks that were put in his path, his sick mother, losing a brother to AIDS and more.


    I enjoyed seeing a side of Gary that I hadn't seen before. It was interesting reading. Honestly thought? I think this is a book for fans of the show more than just your average Joe.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 29, 2010

    Fafa Fooey!

    For any Howard show fan this is a must read. Gives some insight into Gary and provides a fun quick read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 26, 2010

    Very much enjoyed reading this book!

    I really enjoyed reading about how Gary grew up, and learning about his family antics. It mad me laugh, and cry! I highly recommend it for all Stern fan's.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    BAAAAAAHAAAAAA!

    As a 20+ year listener of The Howard Stern Show, I have listened to Gary being tortured, teased, mimicked, etc. It has always been so funny as Gary is usually a pretty laid back guy. However; when he is mad, he lets loose like no other!

    And finally, we get to learn the reason behind that hidden rage. I never knew any of this stuff about Baba Booey's life! In the day that I read the book, I started feeling a bit sad for him. Yet he put the horrors of his childhood (his mom beating the neighbor with shrubbery) and stepped up to the plate (LOL on that) to become a brilliant (121), kind and giving man.

    When all is said and done, this book managed me to shout "Home run, Gary"! We love you, Baba Booey - teeth, breath and all!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 24, 2010

    Very informative

    I felt the book was a true reflection of Gary Dell'abate's life growing up and really put his emotions aside and wrote a very interesting book. Gary gives you a lot of insight on his upbringing and went in depth with several of the stories that we know and love.

    As a Howard Stern listener, I would have enjoyed the book much more if Gary focused less on his family life and upbringing and more on the backstory behind many of the stories that were not as popular.

    Overall, great job and you can honestly tell that you put your heart into this product. Definitely shows.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2010

    Highly Recommended

    Long time listener and lover of the show. Finished book and I loved it. Anyone familiar with the show will absolutely love this book. Interesting to get inside Gary's family and how he started on the show. Great job Gary!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 6, 2010

    Very Fast Read

    Being a Howard Stern fan for about 25 years, I figured I would like this book, but I LOVED it. I read it in 3 days. I Love Baba Booey more then I did before....

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 2, 2010

    love you gary

    love the book so far. haven't finished yet, just downloaded to my nook today, but haven't been able to put it down, on page 70 already. everyone has a story and garys is great.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 6, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 19, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 203 Customer Reviews

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