An easy way to identify just about any Stern Show enthusiast is in the way that they greet you. A simple “Hey now" operates as a wink and nod or a code of sorts to indicate Stern Show fandom. But where did the now-iconic phrase originate from?
In Season 1, Episode 13 of “The Larry Sanders Show,” Garry Shandling’s namesake character instructs Jeffrey Tambor’s Hank Kingsley to refrain from using his “Hey now” catchphrase, but fails to convince him. Watch the scene (above).
Soon after seeing the show, Howard soon adopted the phrase into his own lexicon, leading both staff and fans alike to embrace it as well.
“That’s how you identify fans,” Stern Show staffer Will Murray explains.
“’Hey now’ is Stern Show shorthand,” Jason Kaplan agrees. “It can be used in many different ways and many different situations depending on exactly how you say it.”
From “hello” to “goodbye” and everything in between, there’s an inflection of “Hey now” to suit the situation. “When used properly and with the right people, you don’t even need to use full sentences,” Shuli Egar adds.
In 2010, Shandling made his final appearance on the Stern Show and recounted for Howard how the catchphrase came to be. Garry explained he and Dennis Klein wrote the “Hey now” dialogue for a pilot script and it even served as the audition scene that secured Jeffrey Tambor his role on the show. “Dennis Klein came up with ‘Hey now,’ which I would not have come up with because it’s so close to ‘Hiyo!' which is what Ed [McMahon] said and yet, geniusly unique,” Garry told Howard.
Check out Stern Files Declassified (below) for the full story.