Howard Conducts a Brief Interview With Fred Norris About His Vacation and Love of Riding Motorcycles

“Some people ride motorcycles; some people are into fountain pens,” the Stern Show’s sound effects extraordinaire says

April 26, 2021

Howard and co-host Robin Quivers found an unlikely interview subject Monday morning after a listener phoned in asking to hear more from the Stern Show’s sound effects extraordinaire, Fred Norris.

“My question is Fred-centric,” caller Paul Bobo said. “I am wondering—and I want you to answer in a serious manner—would you ever have Fred on as your guest and do a full interview?”

“He can’t be a guest. He works on the show,” Howard said, adding, “I think I kind of did that once with Fred.”

“I remember that day,” the caller said. “You think that was a long interview, but I timed it. It was 92 seconds.”

“Early on in radio, I learned a couple of things. One of the things I learned is Fred is good in small doses,” Howard said. “After I talked to Fred for 92 seconds, [Robin] said 92 seconds with Fred is a lifetime—and I took that to heart,” he added with a laugh.

“I never said that, Fred,” Robin insisted.

After some back and forth, Howard finally decided to conduct a one-question interview with Fred. “How was vacation?” he asked.

“It was fine,” Fred responded.

“Yeah, thanks, Fred. That was awesome,” the caller said sarcastically.

“Now just imagine an hour of that,” Robin laughed.

Howard suddenly regretted honoring the caller’s request. “I love Fred. I’ve been working with Fred the longest out of anybody on this show,” he said. “Even with all the love, in my studio …  I built a wall specifically not to see Fred.”

“I think you started COVID so you wouldn’t have to see me,” Fred laughed. But later he offered up a more serious answer about his vacation activities. “I straightened up my studio down here, sometimes things get messy,” he said. “I rode my motorcycle, I cooked some dinners, and that’s it.”

Fred told Howard he’s rode motorcycles since he was a kid. He wears a face shield, helmet, and leather jacket. He doesn’t listen to music while he rides and never wastes time revving his engine. On one recent occasion, he cruised over to Long Island’s Montauk Point to take in the scenery and unwind. “Sometimes I like to ride just to clear my head,” he explained.

“What’s in your head that needs to be cleared out?” Howard wondered.

“We are in a COVID crisis right now. You’re not seeing anybody. You’re not visiting anybody. It’s like after a while it starts to get on your nerves that you’re in a house. You gotta get out … and it’s a safe way to do it,” Fred said of the bike riding, explaining it was also nice to take a short break from his family. “I get on their nerves and they get on mine sometimes,” he added.

Suddenly, Howard was on the edge of his seat. “Forget interviewing Fred long form. Let’s interview Fred’s wife long form,” he joked.

Fred went on to say that after getting off at Montauk Point he spent about 10 minutes enjoying the view of the Atlantic Ocean. “It’s a really beautiful view,” he said.

Robin was intrigued by her co-worker. “The thing that interested me about the whole thing is, first of all, he gets on motorcycle to clear his mind. Then he gets to Montauk Point to reconnect his mind,” she said.

“Some people ride motorcycles. Some people are into fountain pens. Each person has their own thing that to them rocks their world,” Fred concluded.

After the interview ended, Howard heaped praise on his longtime collaborator. “I love you. I adore you. You are a genius,” he told Fred, later adding, “Thank you for the interview. We’ll talk to you in five years.”