By Alan Krawitz
His nickname is “creepy.” He loves heavy metal, horror movies and Halloween. Oh, and his day job is to make disturbing prank phone calls to unsuspecting victims across the country.
But there’s no need to be alarmed because Long Island City resident and Howard Stern Show writer/personality Richard Christy is possibly one of the nicest, if not the best known, residents to hail from the small Midwest town of Fort Scott, Kan.
Christy, 38, who moved to New York City in 2004 after winning an on-air contest for a job with the Stern Show on SiriusXM radio, was already well-known to fans of heavy metal as the highly-regarded drummer for bands, including Death, Iced Earth, Control Denied and his latest music project, Charred Walls of the Damned.
Fans of the Stern Show know Christy best for his offbeat, often irritating prank phone calls where he dons poorly executed female, Southern and British accents for characters, including Simon Buckingham, Rusty or Ethel Stitz.
On-air, Stern often points out that Christy’s characters and accents are virtually “indistinguishable,” from each other, somehow adding to the comedic element.
Among the fan’s favorite calls are those to regional and heavily Christian-themed Tradio, radio swap meet programs, where Christy and pal Sal Governale routinely torment program hosts with an endless array of phony and often sexually explicit items for sale. Past items offered by the duo included machines to control the weather and “fudge-packing” gizmos.
“What some fans don’t realize is that we call channels all across the nation,” Christy says in a phone interview. “We definitely like to catch the program hosts off-guard. The fun of the calls is to see how long they’ll let us drone on.”
Further, Christy says that he and Governale regularly hear Tradio callers allowed to blather on and on. “What we do,” he says, “is try and take it to an insane level when we call the shows and that’s what fans find really funny.”
The only drawback to the calls, says Christy, is when the duo are unable to secure permission or clearance, to use the call on-air.
“Once in a while, people aren’t too happy with us after our calls,” Christy admits. “But, we try and give most of our targets a ‘cooling off’ period before we get the permission.”
He says that many times they end up with “really good calls” that can never air. “It’s heart-breaking,” Christy says, sounding genuinely upset.
But in addition to his work on the Stern Show, Christy is becoming increasingly more involved in acting with small parts in close to a dozen recent movies, including 2008’s “Harold and Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay,” 2009’s “Albino Farm” and his most recent movie, “Adventures of Serial Buddies,” scheduled to open Friday at AMC Theatre in Times Square.
The movie, billed as the first “serial killer buddy movie,” stars Extra Host Maria Menounos along with former Stern Show comic Artie Lange, Christopher Lloyd, Henry Winkler and “Today Show” host Kathie Lee Gifford.
“I always loved Richard Christy and his partner Sal Governale’s work on the Howard Stern Show,” says Extra Host Maria Menounos. “As far as finding a role for him in the movie, it was a no brainer. His different voices and improv in bits on Howard proved he had the chops and on set he totally delivered.”
Christy, not wanting to reveal too much about his role, did say that he plays a skinhead leader in the movie, who is roughly 60 pounds heavier than Christy is today.
“I filmed the part in 2010 when I was close to 225 pounds,” Christy says. “It will be kind of cool because I’ll be able to tell people I gained weight for the part—just like a real actor.”
In reality, though, Christy says the weight loss was more of a positive lifestyle change than anything else.
“At one point, I had gout, high blood pressure and high cholesterol and knew I had to do something. It was a wake-up call,” he says, crediting a free iPhone app called Lose It, for helping him to finally shed weight he’d tried for years to ditch. The popular app helps users monitor daily calorie intake and adjust the diet accordingly.
“I was always trying to lose weight but finally found something that worked for me.”
Also on the project horizon for Christy is something he’s been working on for years, even before his debut on the Stern Show.
Christy describes the cartoon project as part “heavy metal comedy” and part “Viking rock opera” dubbed “Majestic Loincloth.”
“I actually started filming this in 2002, but then I moved to NYC for the Stern Show and that delayed the project for years until recently,” he recalls.
“Majestic Loincloth,” which will debut shortly on the Rugburn channel on Youtube, is a joint effort between Christy and fellow Charred Walls of the Damned bandmate Jason Suecof, who helped write songs for the cartoon.
“It’s amazing to see this thing finally come to life after more than a decade,” says Christy, who describes the project as Thundar the Barbarian meets He-Man meets the heavy metal band Manowar.
“It’s a really asinine Viking-comedy-rock opera,” he adds. “For heavy metal fans, they’ll love it. It will be super over-the-top and very cheesy.”
And, as for living in his cozy neighborhood in Long Island City, Christy says he’s still having a blast indulging in his favorite pastimes of trying new neighborhood eateries and sampling exotic craft beers.
Naming some of his favorite local spots, Christy says he can often be found at Shi, Skinny’s Cantina or his favorite pizza place, Bella Via, on Vernon Blvd.
“Sal, the owner, is a metal-head as well as a really good friend of mine,” Christy explains.
In addition, Christy notes that the Single Cut Brewery in Astoria is “awesome,” as well as the Bohemian Beer Garden in Astoria where Christy recently filmed a program devoted to craft beers.
Asked about any future plans, possibly after the Stern Show ends, as has been rumored for years, Christy says he’s just content to take one day at a time.
“I enjoy working on the show and I’m not a big planner, so I just live everyday as it comes.”
For more information on Richard Christy’s various entertainment projects, visit www.richardchristy.com. Or via his Twitter @CWOTD.
For information on his new movie Serial Buddies, visit www.serialbuddies.com.