Farewell to Crackhead Bob, Dead at 56
"He was a huge champion of our show," Howard Stern said of the beloved Wack Packer on MondayJanuary 29, 2016
The Stern Show is sad to report the passing of beloved former Wack Packer George “Crackhead Bob” Harvey. He was 56.
“He was a huge champion of our show,” Howard said Monday.
Crackhead Bob first became known to show staff after he was noticed at several of Howard’s public appearances in the mid-’90s. “He was always first on line at any of the signings,” Howard recounted to listeners during a 2007 appearance Bob made on the show.
On the day “Miss America” was released in 1995, Stern Show executive producer Gary Dell’Abate brought Bob up to the studio for the first time, saying that the crew believed Bob had, “cerebral palsy” or something. Bob explained on-air that it wasn’t a disease that altered his appearance and speech but rather the effects of smoking crack – a series of strokes left part of his body permanently paralyzed. Though Bob initially had trouble articulating at what age he began doing drugs, through a series of hand motions and noises, Robin and Howard deciphered that his namesake addiction started around age 25.
The combination of his distinctive speech impediment (which included an inability to say certain words, including his original name, George) and his good-natured sensibilities made Bob an instant favorite amongst listeners and the staff alike. Between 1995 and 2001, Crackhead Bob would make a number of appearances on the show in a variety of capacities including singing covers, participating in phony phone calls with Sal and Richard, helping interview Chris Rock, auditioning for Tommy Chong, and saving the day with his bad arm when a Jesus Twin got aggressive with Fred Norris. Bob’s notoriety on the show even led him to being tapped to do an anti-drug PSA in the late-’90s.
In 2001, Bob announced that he would be taking a break from appearing on the show in order to focus on his personal health and his relationship with his family. After a four year absence, Crackhead Bob made a surprise return in October of 2005 with markedly improved speech. He explained to Howard that his decision to stop visiting came after he found himself surrounded by drugs and alcohol at many of the paid appearances he began doing as a result of his Stern Show fame. “I had to do what I had to do for me, for a while,” Bob said. A couple of months later, Bob would return to the Stern Show again, this time to deliver a stirring speech on Howard’s last day at K-ROCK.
After the show’s move to satellite radio, Crackhead Bob would return to the studio numerous times. During a 2006 visit, Bob talked to Howard about what life was like before his stroke while Sal and Richard played some of the hilarious prank calls they orchestrated with Bob’s help.
In 2007, Crackhead Bob challenged the winner of the Miss Amputee contest, Jen, to a ping-pong match for a chance to win $2,500. Unfortunately for Bob, Jen went on to win the best-of-five match with a paddle attached to her prosthetic arm.
By October of 2007, Bob had again decided to step away from the Stern Show and came on one final time to let everyone know he’d be moving to Texas. In the now-infamous moment, Artie Lange joked that Bob was only moving there because he couldn’t pronounce the names of any other states. Attempting to prove him wrong, Bob tried pronouncing Mississippi, but came out instead with: “Tipi-Tipi.”
As a fond and fitting farewell, Howard played his audience a selection of classic bits that Crackhead Bob had been a part of during his many years on the show. With Fred playing “Happy Trails,” both Howard and Bob sang along together before saying their final goodbyes.
Our deepest condolences go out to Bob’s family and friends.