Many people still see Howard Stern as that gross shock-jock who made his name by broadcasting a blaze of farts and pornstars across the airwaves of America, while passing off his misogyny and toilet humor as a crusade against censorship. But in recent years, with the help of a loving, second marriage, no longer having to prove himself, and the stoicism that comes with growing older, Stern has mellowed into a pretty good dude. His softer, more sensitive side is a constant presence on his show, and he’s become an outspoken and important champion for the oppressed. (Stern is an outspoken advocate for gay rights.) Regular listeners to his satellite radio show know this, and so does Lena Dunham.
The Girls creator and star was on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon last night to promote her show’s upcoming 4th season, when Fallon brought up the last time the two saw each other. It was at Stern’s 60th birthday celebration last year, a star-studded live version of his show at New York’s Hammerstein Ballroom. It was a “surprisingly inspiring evening,” she told Fallon. “I went in, you know, excited for the spectacle. I didn’t think I was gonna cry with joy and be so moved by his life’s work and his relationship with Robin Quivers. I lost it.”
That’s a huge endorsement, especially coming from Dunham, who had a very public and very awkward encounter with Stern last year after the America’s Got Talent judge attacked her weight on the air. Lena being Lena, she called Stern’s show and got the usually unapologetic host to say this: “I realize: not only am I addicted, but I totally get you. I’m in love with you and your character,” and “It’s not about apologizing, although I want to say I’m a fan of yours … I love you and I think you’re terrific.” They’ve been BFFs ever since.
Dunham went on to say more glowing things about Stern, using the words “outspoken” and “feminist” (in that order) to describe the man who once hosted a special called Butt Bongo Fiesta. Watch the clip below.