Comedian Artie Lange is opening up about a recent attack where he was kidnapped by his bookie, explaining his badly broken nose.
Lange appeared in public with his nose badly deformed nearly a year ago now. After keeping the trauma to himself for a while, he recently appeared on the podcast Are We Still Talking About This? with Jessica Pilot and Adam Kaplan. He confirmed the rumors that he was abducted by the associates of a man to whom he owed $62,000.
"I owed a bookie 62 grand, and a kid who worked for a bookie... he thought I was a billionaire because he saw me on TV and he kidnapped me, Lange explained.
According to Lange, the attacker was 19 years old. He snuck up behind Lange in a parking long and landed a devastating punch on his nose, causing the visible damage. He was taken hostage, but said that eventually the teen realized Lange had nothing to give him so he let him go.
As for the nose damage, Lange said that had to do with his history of drug abuse. He expained that after this recent attack, his nose is "destroyed."
"The septum from the abuse from the years of drugs and this hit broke it and I've had two operations and you know, it's just in bad shape... It's a scar from years of s—," he said.
Lange has never been shy about his issues with substance abuse. He used cocaine for about 30 years, and he has a whole catalogue of sad, funny and hilarious stories to go with that baggage. In a 2017 episode of the Craig Ferguson Show, he even told a story about accidentally snorting broken glass along with Oxycontin, causing his nose to collapse.
For the last several years, Lange has been a main character on the HBO series Crashing, a fictionalized telling of the rise of comedian Pete Holmes. Lange is something of a mentor to Pete in the show, and there have been several confessional looks at his own life throughout the series as well. Season 2, Episode 6 titled "Artie" dealt specifically with the comic's complicated relationship with help and community.
The vulnerability of those stories is even more impressive when taken alongside Lange's real life struggles. Last month, he was called to court to answer for an alleged probation violation when he failed a drug test. Lange tested positive for cocaine twice in a row, but told the judge that he has not been using it.
"I wouldn't be arrogant to come in here and use cocaine for two days knowing I had to be here," he said, according to RadarOnline. "It's in my system. It shouldn't be. Heroin is out of my life. I'm happy about that and anything you say. And I respect the court."
Crashing airs on Sundays at 10 p.m. ET on HBO.