Howard reminds us at every opportunity that his father never paid him enough attention as a child, and at age 59, continues to dwell on and be tormented by it. It's a regular topic of conversation on his three-times-a-week radio show, and in his three-times-a-week therapy sessions. Today he joked to Robin -- who claims her father molested her as a young girl -- that he'd have preferred to have had that kind of attention from his father, rather than none at all.
By Howard's accounts, Ben Stern worked hard to support his stay-at-home wife and two kids, but he was always home for dinner. He called his son a stupid moron when he behaved like a stupid moron, and always tried to teach him the "proper" way to do things -- whether it was folding a newspaper or ordering from a menu or speaking on the radio. He even tried to play catch with Howard once, but quit after Howard's wild pitch hit him in the balls. Howard says it still makes his dad uncomfortable to say to hear, "I love you."
When Howard lived with his three daughters, he would reliably hide from them in the basement, where he would lock the door and masturbate in sex chat rooms on Prodigy. (We know this because he bragged about it to his millions of listeners, and in his books.) He regularly criticized their mother over the radio, complaining about the way she ran the house, the way she performed in bed, and any interest she expressed in hobnobbing with celebrities. He stopped going to his daughters' events, because he felt that everyone was there just to get close to him, the major radio celebrity. He left for work before the girls woke up, and was in bed soon after the girls had their dinner. He separated from their mother when the girls were 6, 13 and 16, and began dating a model 19 years younger than he was, and just 11 years older than his oldest daughter. Last summer, when his bulldog died, he said on the radio that his his dog had taught him how to love.
So who's the better father of the Stern men?