After More Than 2 Decades This ‘Great American Nightmare’ Mystery Has Been Solved

“If you bought Rob’s version of it … he didn’t put that in,” Howard explains of a sound heard at the start of the Stern Show’s longtime theme song

November 30, 2021

“The Great American Nightmare” by Rob Zombie has been the official theme song of the Stern Show since 1999, but it wasn’t until Tuesday that a mystery behind it was solved—the origin of the “Oh!” sound heard at the top of it. “Most people who wrote thought it was a drop from the late comedian Sam Kinison, which would have made sense,” Howard said of the many fans who wrote in to offer up their own theory. Howard thought that would make sense since Rob is a fan who knows the show well enough to include some sounds of Kinison.

In reality, that now familiar noise is actually from the end of a monologue given by Paul Giamatti’s Pig Virus character where he says, “Howard Stern can kiss my ass in hell.” “When we pulled it off the soundtrack album … it sounds like somebody who did the edit left the ‘hell’ in,” Howard explained. “If you bought Rob’s version of it or if you have Rob’s clear tape, he didn’t put that in … It happens to sound pretty cool.”

After Howard joked it took over 20 years to find the error, he talked more about the misinterpretation. “I would listen to the show, and I’d go, ‘Wow, Rob’s a genius, he put that weird little noise at the beginning … this guy’s mind is so out there,’” he recalled. “Now I realize he ain’t doing that.”