Artie Lange Says He Was Kidnapped Over Gambling Debts

Artie Lange - Conan

Things haven't always gone Artie Lange's way. In fact, that might honestly be an understatement. The comedian/actor is typically at the source of trouble -- often related to his vices, including drugs and gambling. And, he has wound up in more-than-a-few extreme circumstances throughout his 51 years on this planet. That includes being kidnapped, apparently, over gambling debts. At least, that's what Artie Lange claims happened due to his fame and misfortune. When the troubled comedian was deep in the hole, then recognized on TV, he found himself in serious peril. As Lange recounts:

I still gamble a lot. That was my worst vice for a long time was gambling because it led to everything else. I’m the kind of guy, it just escalates. I owed a bookie 62 grand, and a kid who worked for a bookie, we’ll call him an African-American, he was collecting, and he thought I was a billionaire because he saw me on TV and he kidnapped me... The kid, right here, boom … knocked me out for, like, 10 minutes. I woke up in his van.

The story was recounted during Artie Lange's recent appearance on the podcast, Are We Still Talking About This? The conversation was often centered around his nose, which has become deformed in the past few months not only due to drug abuse but through a gambling debt that took a nasty turn as well, according to the comedian/author. Lange claims he doesn't have a septum and he owed a bookie 62 grand. That's a pretty penny. Sure enough, when you are as famous as Lange, you tend to attract a lot of attention, and he found himself in the midst of trouble when his debts were continuing to pile high. When he was making his way to his truck, Lange claims that he was attacked, getting a punch to the nose, then kidnapped.

It destroyed my nose. The septum from the abuse from the years of drugs and this hit broke it, and I've had two operations, and it's just in bad shape.

Artie Lange claims that the incident happened 11 months ago, and if you were wondering how Lange got himself out of the dangerous situation, he claims that he told the 19-year-old who kidnapped him that he should rethink what he was doing. Evidently, the warning worked, and Lange walked away from the altercation after the kid ran away and left Lange in his van. While Lange did walk away with his life, it ultimately messed up his nose.

Artie Lange is currently on a comedy tour, and hopefully this violent altercation has resulted in some gallows comedy for the former Howard Stern radio personality. Lange might be worse for wear, but he's still pushing forward. And, he's hoping to stay sober, especially after this gambling-based trouble. We wish Artie Lange the best of luck these days. Goodness knows, he might need it based on all the trouble he has gotten himself into over the years...

Will Ashton

Will is an entertainment writer based in Pittsburgh, PA. His writing can also be found in The Playlist, Cut Print Film, We Got This Covered, The Young Folks, Slate and other outlets. He also co-hosts the weekly film/TV podcast Cinemaholics with Jon Negroni and he likes to think he's a professional Garfield enthusiast.