If nothing else, Howard Stern has done a huge public service by holding his "Miss Howard Stern New Year's Eve Pageant." The sickos one fears are roaming the night were probably either all in Newark at the event or at home watching it. A humanitarian gesture of such magnitude ought to be enough for the Federal Communications Commission to rescind the fines levied against Stern.

If nothing else, Howard Stern has done a huge public service by holding his “Miss Howard Stern New Year’s Eve Pageant.” The sickos one fears are roaming the night were probably either all in Newark at the event or at home watching it. A humanitarian gesture of such magnitude ought to be enough for the Federal Communications Commission to rescind the fines levied against Stern.

Good thing, though, that the FCC can’t fine him for PPV exploits. The show is Howard Stern unchained, and if you ever wondered what an unrestrained Stern would be like, wonder no more. He is just as tasteless, outrageous and brilliantly funny as his radio and previous TV exploits would suggest.

The humor ranges from adolescent silliness to bull’s-eye satire, and the latter is Stern at his best.

The opening number, a send-up of more traditional beauty pageants, makes one realize just how foolish and pretentious such contests are. Having his semi-finalists parade around in lingerie (they were already in bathing suits) was funny — isn’t that what most viewers would rather see Miss America hopefuls wear instead of those gowns they insist they made themselves?

There were several brilliant moments during the show, such as a re-creation (a la “A Current Affair” and other newsmags) of pageant judge John Bobbitt’s rendezvous with a kitchen knife wielded by his wife. Stern interviewing Bobbitt, in his most earnest “60 Minutes” mode, made for great TV.

Some other highlights were public service announcements from Corbin Bernsen and the Bee Gees, who even did a song parody, pleading for money for Bobbitt. (Almost $ 200,000 was raised for his medical expenses.)

Another great bit was a video to accompany Stern and Janis Ian singing a parody of her song “At Seventeen,” which pokes fun at Jerry Seinfeld and his young g.f.

Stern provided a good alternative for New Year’s Eve. If only he could get something going over Labor Day weekend.

Miss Howard Stern New Year's Eve Pageant

(Fri. (31), 11 p.m.-1 a.m.; PPV)

Production

Filmed in Newark, N.J., by Main Events TV. Executive producer, John Lollos; producer, David Berrent; director, Greg V. Fera; writers, Jackie Martling, Fred Norris, Mark Cronin, Al Rosenberg, Danny Steinberg.

Crew

Editor, Lisa Mendoza; production designer, Mitchel Greenberg; music director, Bob Stein.

Cast

With: Howard Stern, Robin Quivers, Gary Dell'Abate, Jackie Martling, Fred Norris.

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