A Celebration of Fred Norris: Comedic Genius and Style Icon

A look at the Stern Show's longest tenured staffer

Fred Norris, Stern Show head writer and the longest tenured staffer (aside from Howard himself) was born on July 9th.

Unfortunately, that almost always lands right in the middle of a show vacation, so he never gets any kind of on-air party (which he'd probably hate anyway), so we're giving him a tribute and celebration right here.

Consider this 'The Fred Norris Birthday Bash!'

Fred and Howard famously met at WCCC in Hartford, Connecticut in the spring of 1979. Fred was a college student and Howard was an unknown disc jockey. Howard often describes a scene where Fred selflessly helped him clean up his records, which cemented him as a good guy in Howard's mind.

They have been together ever since, with the exception of Howard's brief stint in Detroit, where Fred would occasionally contribute voices over the phone.

Though he is the quietest and most mysterious member of the show, any fan knows that he speaks through sound effects, written bits and jokes, and genius song parodies.

Some of Fred's greatest show moments include Howard and Robin goofing on him mercilessly for buying his mother a Carvel Cookiepuss cake for Mother's Day (he also bought her jewelry, but that fact is lost to history), recording 'the Harlem Shuffle' in a dead-on Mick Jagger impression and debuting it before the much ballyhooed Rolling Stones cover was released (it was so good that the Stones' label was livid and sent a cease and desist letter), and marrying his lovely wife, Allison, whom he met on the show during a Dial-A-Date segment (he married her in secret, on the beach, without inviting anyone from the show).

Fred's original KROCK headshot

He's a master impressionist and does a perfect Don Imus, Dick Cavett, Gary Dell'Abate, Jackie Martling, JD Harmeyer, Scott the Engineer, Benjy Bronk, Stuttering John (and John the Stutterer), Eric the Midget, Johnny Carson, Richard Nixon, Ronnie the Limo Driver, Robin Quivers, Nicole Bass, Ted Kennedy, and many, many others.

His 'drops' (the short sound clips he drops in throughout the show) are countless and as legendary as his timing. From Ronnie's 'Du' to Robin's 'I have big pendulous breasts' to Eric the Midget's 'ACK ACK' they make the show better and funnier. Howard has compared what Fred does with sounds to legendary Mad Magazine cartoonist Sergio Aragones – who draws little cartoons and gags in the corners and margins of the magazine.

Howard often talks about what a hillbilly Fred was back in the early days, but going through our extensive archive, it turns out that Fred was a pretty sharply-dressed dude. His relaxed sartorial look makes him something of a comedy style icon. Take a look at the photos of a young Fred to see what I mean.

He is also one of the most prolific pen-chewers in America (seriously, there is always a pen in his mouth) and the only main cast member of the show who doesn't have a Twitter account and hasn't written a memoir (and never will).

Crazy Alice loves him, we love him, and you love him too.

Happy Birthday Fred.


Fred being introduced at the Birthday Bash

Benjy, Jackie the Jokeman and Fred

Dapper Fred

Silly Fred

Fred doing one of things he does best - kicking ass playing Win Fred's Money

Fred, in a sea of carts, playing his beloved guitar

And years later reuniting with Jackie the Jokeman to sing and play at Gary's Roast

Fred out on the town - year unknown

Hi Fred!