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Bill Maher Mourns Losing ‘Germophobe’ Howard Stern as a Friend

'Club Random' podcaster shares duo's complicated past, uncertain future

“Club Random” showcases a kinder, gentler Bill Maher.

No sharp elbows, partisan smackdowns or gotcha queries. The comedy podcast is just Maher, a celebrity guest and a free-wheeling chat fueled by the occasion joint or tumbler.

Simple. Direct. And, as is often the case, brimming with banter that begs listeners to be kind to one another.

Maher will never be Mister Rogers 2.0, but the “Real Time with Bill Maher” host is genuinely building bridges one episode at a time.

Need proof? Recent show guests included Republicans Kid Rock and Dave Rubin.

Kid Rock | Club Random with Bill Maher

So it’s no surprise to hear he considers recovering shock jock Howard Stern a friend.

The radio star’s celebrity feuds are legendary. He’s sparred with Rosie O’Donnell, Kathie Lee Gifford, Chevy Chase and virtually every competing shock jock across the country.

Yet Stern, aided by decades of therapy, has mended fences with some of the aforementioned stars.

Maher included.

The “Club Random” host brought up Stern during his recent chat with author Sam Harris. Maher said the two fought for years but eventually pushed past their differences. And, to hear Maher describe it, they became fast friends.

Except it’s hard to be friends with Stern today.

The SiriusXM star became a recluse during the pandemic, and while most of American society has moved on from masks and lockdowns Stern still lives like its April 2020.


He recently dined with some celebrity chums, the first time he’s been out on a social event since the pandemic started.

Maher places great value in friendship and face-to-face connections, and that’s no longer possible with Stern. It’s why he fears their bond may be a thing of the past.

Maher and Harris spoke extensively about COVID-19, from various treatments to how Americans settled into distinct camps over the virus.

“I hate the way it’s dividing people,” Maher began. “Climate change never divided people for real in my life.” He segued to the so-called King of All Media, a figure whose pandemic fears proved paralyzing.

“Howard Stern and I … for years there was animosity. We got back together like two lost lovers,” Maher said with a smile. “And we had just repaired this relationship and were having this beautiful friendship. Now, I think I’ll never see him again.”


“I still love him and I hope he still loves me, but he is, in my view, a germophobe. I think he would admit [it], it’s pretty obvious,” Maher continues. “People have the right to be whatever level of scared they are of germs. I can’t live in that world. I don’t want to … I can’t live in your paranoid world.”

Stern began broadcasting from his Hamptons home early in the pandemic and has remained there for most of the past two-plus years. He did re-enter his SiriusXM studio earlier this month for an interview with rock legend Bruce Springsteen.

UPDATE: The Maher/Stern relationship hit a sour note months later when the “Club Random” host mocked Stern for talking up his marriage to the former Beth Ostrosky, his second wife. Maher felt it was insulting to Stern’s first marriage to Alison Berns, and Stern vehemently disagreed on a subsequent edition of “The Howard Stern Show.”

It’s safe to say the two are no longer friends. And it’s unlikely a makeup phone call will smooth things over.


  1. “I can live in your paranoid world”…uh…
    Does he not realize OCD is a real illness?
    It isn’t something people can just opt out of.
    You can tell me it’s not gonna hurt me when I do certain things, but that doesn’t make the OCD go away. I can’t work without gloves, cause I don’t wanna wash my hands every 30 minutes just due to a little dirt, and I know that will happen. I wash my hands so much, they get dried out and cracked so often…
    You can’t just dismiss this as if it’s simply “paranoia.”

  2. That’s billions with a b. I just love all these d-bags try to disparage Donald trump all the while they support Communist joe Biden the dirt bag that lived off the tax payers of this wonderful country his whole life the job that pays maybe 180 thousand dollars a year yet today his school teacher wife and crack head son are worth millions how did that happen. Meanwhile Donald trump takes the the job for free and sets aside all his business dealings to rescue this country from Communist criminals like the Biden gang think about it one came to the government with nothing the other came to the government with more money than he could ever spend who do you think you can trust.

  3. Who is this Howard Stern again? I remember some radio guy but I haven’t heard about him in years. I thought he was dead.

  4. I used to like him about 30 years ago. The funny stuff like butt bongo fiesta . he isn’t cool anymore, and it was COMPLETLY over when he became a talent show judge what a complete bust out that guy turned into

  5. Man so many commenting are super negative and “he’s yesterday’s news” and on and on. The world is full of judgemental people with bad attitudes it would seem. Or do comment sections just bring out our negative sides?

  6. Bill Maher is no friend for doing this. Friends don’t ditch friends, but after 4 years of trump & 2 1/2 years of pandemic, Americans have shown their a****. Individualism runs supreme. Rights for all, no responsibilities to those rights. Truly pathetic.

    1. What does Trump or any of the other things you mentioned about Americans have to do with Stern being a germaphobe? The guy just isn’t relevant anymore like he was back 30 or 35 years ago he’s turned into what he used to make fun of.

      1. It’s about being a true friend. Families and friends have been divided and worse over Trump and pandemic. If HS wants to hang in his home & stay away from people who clearly care about nothing & believe they can spread their bs (germs & otherwise) to all w/o any concerns, let him. & a true friend should know that. But, BM clearly did this to gin up bs on a supposed friend for his own gain. He’s more like Trump nowadays than he realizes. BM has turned into what he used to rant about as well. Old white man worried about his relevance & money. Pathetic.

  7. Like another “Howard,” Stern now picks up objects with napkins; has his hair and nails cut only once a year; walks around in tissue boxes; and has two years worth of stored urine.

    1. He turned into a complete c*** he used to be a little bit funny and I enjoyed some of the interviews but he ain’t s*** now in fact he’s kind of politically correct like I said in my comment being a talent show judge was the complete death of who he was in the beginning now he’s just a schmuck

  8. Horrifically, Stern used women by publicly abusing them to become famous. His disgust was lauded by men who were as abusive as he was. He had a large audience. Both he and Maher take themselves too seriously, but I admit I am a fan of Club Random. They’re both working from their basements.

  9. Howard Stern is a thing of the past, his “ratpack” are nothing but a bunch of losers who kiss his a** and treat him like he is this media giant. He just was at the right time right place when he came into being famous. His time is over and just like his paranoia with germs, it comical to see him milk out his last few yrs. As far a a great interviewer, again just a kiss a** who interviews are boring to say the least. Time to craw into your hole and retiree igor.

  10. I hope Howard gets a grip and see his friends and family. I do understand the fears though. But to have a great following and the money to stay in the Hamptons or wherever you can is lucky.

  11. Stern is a ultra neurotic narcissistic schlemiel. Weekly therapy aside, he has become his mother in voice and actions.
    If he isn’t into something then it’s ridiculous and stupid.

  12. When Stern was the big to-do I tried watching him to see what it was all about. All I saw was this self centered vain person who had the audacity to bring on groupie chicks scantily clad to impress him and let him critique their bodies as if he was God’s gift to women. The arrogance and his complete negativity was enough I could take of that over rated porn show MENtality. I don’t know what his fear of germs are since he appeared to be as toxic as any virus known to man and especially women.

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