Laughing Her Way To The Top:
Robin Quivers Speaks Out!

Known for her distinct laugh and occasional ability to put long time friend and working companion shock jock Howard Stern in his place, famed radio personality Robin Quivers has recently divulged some shocking news of her own. With the release of her controversial best selling autobiography "Robin Quivers: A Life" (Regan Books $22) the queen of radio has opened up her startling past of violence and sexual abuse at the hands of her father which was followed by years of depression and emotional struggles that are all graphically and painfully documented in the tell all account of her life.
The book chronicles with amazing detail each aspect of the Baltimore native's tortured beginnings right on through to her current fairy tale-like success as co-host of one of the most popular radio shows in history. Since the book's release in April it has reportedly sold surprisingly well due in part to the never ending barrage of daily on-air plugs, an avalanche of press and, of course, Quivers' grueling promotion schedule of seemingly never ending book signings throughout several major cities which apparently has taken its toll on the sometimes temperamental radio star.
As with most things associated with the Howard Stern show, the interview between Robin and myself was met with media attention and controversy. The problems began (due in part to the large turnout of fans) after I was unable to complete the following interview with Quivers at her recent book signing appearance at Barnes & Noble in Paramus, NJ. Instead we agreed it would be best to reschedule at a later date. What followed was a comedy of misunderstandings and communication errors that led to an article in the gossip pages of the New York Daily News and an on-air confrontation hosted by none other than himself, Howard Stern. Playing peacemaker over the air waves (where else), Howard "Henry Kissinger" Stern was able to calm tensions, helping to once again develop the close bond between Quivers and me that for a time seemed in jeopardy, within a few days I was able to complete my interview and I'm happy to report that Robin couldn't have been friendlier. They say all good things come to those who wait... After five years of denied interview requests Robin has finally come home to Steppin' Out and now, the newsletter .

Chaunce: Did I catch you at a bad time?

Robin Quivers: (Laughing) Why don't you just be annoying Chaunce, it's what you're good at!

Chaunce: The last few weeks you've been busy traveling around the country promoting your best selling autobiography, "Quivers." What was more tiring, writing the book or promoting it?

RQ: (Laughs) I think promoting the book is much more difficult. I never thought there would be anything that I found harder than writing the book. Promotion is tough.

Chaunce: Can you estimate how many books you've signed thus far?

RQ: You know, actually sitting there and doing the signings are fun. It's just the toll it takes on your body, traveling from place to place and never, ever having a chance to stop. It's already a difficult schedule when you get up at three or four o'clock in the morning and then you save the weekends to sleep. You know what I mean. That's when you try to catch up on your sleep. And now my weekends are gone, so there is no sleep time in my life any more and now there is no social time in my life any more. I feel like I'm neglecting everything and everybody. So that is what makes promoting the book difficult. I actually enjoy being there and I really haven't gotten tired from signing or anything like that. I haven't had any bad experiences...

Chaunce: It must be interesting for you, going out and actually meeting your fans rather than seeing them as numbers on a ratings chart.

RQ: It's a hoot to be in a different city and realize that they get to listen to us too. Just the idea that I don't know anything about Dallas and yet there are all these people there who know me!

Chaunce: That must be a very strange feeling.

RQ: It is, especially since I can't even find my way out of the airport!

Chaunce: You've always been a private person. Why now have you decided to come out with such a revealing book about your troubled past?

RQ: (Laughs) Well obviously I'm not that private (referring to the line of fans waiting to have their books signed.) The idea was that I had been on the show for a number of years and this wasn't the kind of subject that you would necessarily bring up and explain in five minutes. So I decided that the best way to introduce this information about myself and to clear up who I really am was to put it in a book.

Chaunce: ...On a scale of from one to ten, how much of the idea for coming out with a book was for financial reasons?

RQ: None! Zero!

Chaunce: The last couple of weeks you've done a great deal of publicity to help sell your controversial book. What has been the most ignorant question that you've been asked by the press thus far?

RQ: (Laughs) On a scale from one to ten how much of the idea for coming out with a book was financial.

Chaunce: Throughout your book you talk about subjects that range from domestic violence to sexual abuse to depression. What was the most difficult chapter for you to write?

RQ: I don't think any of the chapters were difficult. What was difficult was deciding what to put in and how to tell the story; you know, just getting it together and getting it all organized. Once that happened it was easy.

Chaunce: You had so many emotional battles in your life. With that in mind, where do you get your sense of humor from?

RQ: I think it was a sense of humor that kept me going. If I didn't see life as sort of funny and have some perspective and be able to look back and laugh, I don't think that I would have made it.

Chaunce: Is the book about overcoming adversity?

RQ: Absolutely! It's about always believing in yourself and surviving. I've discovered that if you keep living, it only gets better.

Chaunce: What has been more difficult to overcome in your profession, being black or being a woman?

RQ: I think it was most difficult just trying to do something that nobody had ever done before. I don't really think that I found any barrier when I was just working alone. It was just once I hooked up with Howard that everything got rough.

Chaunce: Since you are such a high profile person, especially now with the release of your book, do you find that you get pressured to speak out on various African-American issues?

RQ: You know there are always people out there trying to tell you how you should react to something or how you should live your life, but there is a specific reason why I react to things the way that I do. My message to them is that the idea was that we were fighting for equality and individuality and now everyone wants everybody to toe the party line and I don't know what kind of freedom that is.

Chaunce: Probably the most disturbing chapter of your book is when you retell the story of how you were both emotionally and sexually abused by your father as a young child. Research studies have shown that oftentimes an abused child will someday go on to abuse their own children. Is that a fear of yours?

RQ: Absolutely not. When you remember the pain of that abuse, you could never inflict that on anybody else. I think the people who become abusers are the people who disassociate and stop feeling for other people.

(Writers Note: At this point it becomes impossible to continue the interview because of the growing number of people lined up for a chance to meet Quivers at Barnes & Noble in Paramus, so we decided to continue in a few days. However, trouble soon develops when Robin reportedly becomes offended by some of my questions and it takes an on-air confrontation between Robin and myself before we're able to patch things up and finish).

Chaunce: (Warily) Hi Robin, how are you?

RQ: I'm fine, ready for all your irritating and obnoxious questions. (Laughs) You know that Diane Sawyer was easier on Michael Jackson! But I guess we are the only people you can ask the tough questions of.

Chaunce: I'm insulted... Admit it, you wouldn't have any respect for me if I asked easy questions. I'll ask and if they're too difficult you don't have to answer.

RQ: (Yells) OH YES I WOULD! You don't know me! Go ahead and ask and I'll decide.

Chaunce: You say in your book that you used your trademark laugh as a way of masking a series of emotions ranging from anger, depression and guilt...

RQ: Did I say that? I don't think so. (Laughs) I think that you're interpreting it that way and it's the wrong way! I did say that my laugh often got me through a lot of things but I don't remember saying that it was a disguise. My laugh? No, no, no, I said my whole personality was a disguise! I mean the person I thought I was was different from the person I presented to the public.

Chaunce: Sometimes when a person laughs it's to mask a fear such as laughing during a horror film. Would you compare your laugh to that and is there still an underlying message to your laugh?

RQ: Sometimes it was, yeah. As I was growing up and didn't know how to deal with something, or you want to get out of something, you just sort of laugh. The difference is that now I know what I'm doing, as opposed to having to do, such as like being on automatic. So there are often times that people say things to me and I just laugh because I don't even want to be bothered.

Chaunce: That last statement concerns me, since you've laughed at almost every one of my questions.

RQ: (Laughs) Sometimes my laugh is real and sometimes it just means that I'm ignoring you!

Chaunce: So, is it safe to assume you've read your book cover to cover? And being as unbiased as possible, what would your impression be of the author?

RQ: (Huge burst of Laugher) That's very funny! Well obviously I've read it better than you did! Oh Jesus, I didn't read it objectively like that. It's kind of hard to divorce yourself from the material if you've written it. So I don't think I could have an objective assessment and I didn't sit down and try to analyze from that standpoint. I've never read it with that kind of distance; maybe in a couple of years. Right now it's just hard even to read it. I mean it's very intimidating to see something bound and wrapped and you're the author.

Chaunce: That must be intimidating, especially when you consider the book's subject matter, which is extremely personal and revealing.

RQ: It's sort of like watching yourself on a big screen. It's just larger than you can ever imagine it being. You're totally vulnerable and so that's why I haven't sat down and read it since it's been in this form.

Chaunce: In hindsight, is there anything in "Quivers" that you wish you had left out?

RQ: (Laughing) Well since I can't remember what's in it I don't have a problem!

Chaunce: In the book as well as on the air you've spoken of your admiration for Muhammad Ali. Was it Ali's boxing skill or his outspoken self-confidence that impressed you so much?

RQ: I wasn't a boxing fan when I first became aware of him. So the first thing that attracted me obviously, was his personality; you know, who he was outside of the ring. The fact that he was so outspoken and courageous and had such bravado and self-confidence for a young black man at that time, it was just incredible to see. So I was impressed right away with that person and not the boxer. You have to understand that nobody ever talked like that before, nobody ever said, "Oh, I am going to beat you and I'm going to do it in this round." Plus, when he would make those things come true it was rather incredible too, so I became a lover of boxing as I watched him in his career. But it was the personality that attracted me first.

Chaunce: Let's talk about your job for a moment, which is co-host of the number one radio show in the country. At this point in your career have you become immune to pot shots taken by the media & your peers?

RQ: (Pausing) Yeah...You know you have to take it for what it is. If people don't like you, they don't like you, so they're not going to have any appreciation for what you do. So why would you sit around being upset about what people who don't like you say and who haven't liked you and who probably are not going to like you. You've just got to go on, you can't please everybody.

Chaunce: We're almost finished, Robin. See, you're being nice, so I'm being nice. RQ: Well I was being nice all the time. I don't know about you, though! (Laughs) These aren't the questions you sent before! These are different!

Chaunce: In your early days working with Howard, you speak in your book how difficult you were to work with. How are you to work with today?

RQ: Oh, I would imagine that I'm just an angel. (Laughs) Now that I can be objective about it. I'm just a dream! ...I would say that I'm much better at being in a group today than I was in the past. And I hope that would always improve. I aspire to be an angel.

Chaunce: So many weird and outrageous things have gone on in that studio of yours. However, is there one single incident that has upset or offended you more than any other over the years?

RQ: I wouldn't say offended is the right word to describe the emotion. Maybe bored, as in I couldn't see the value in it, but you know I'm there to explore everybody's likes and dislikes. There are times when I say I don't even know why you are going to do that because I don't think that it's going to be funny, and then after it's all over I'll say you're right, it was funny. That's why we're here and that's why we work together. Nobody has all the answers.

Chaunce: Other than Howard, who of all the show's cast members is your favorite?

RQ: Oh gee, who would be my favorite? I can't imagine. (Laughs) I don't think there are any favorites. I enjoy everybody! If you're asking who my favorite to pick on would be, that would be Jackie (Stern's head writer Jackie Martling). But I couldn't say there's a favorite.

Chaunce: What about least favorite?

RQ: I couldn't say that either, I really love the people that I work with. I think I have an extaordinary situation where I come in to work and I'm happy to see everybody who's here.

Chaunce: Haven't you and Howard's producer, Gary Dell'Abate had some problems over the years?

RQ: Well I wrote about that in the book but those are things that we worked out through the years. Gary and I have a wonderful relationship now, so it's not a problem.

Chaunce: Describe the man you would want to spend the rest of your life with?

RQ: (Laughs) Oh his name is Clarence Clemmens! (Writers note: Recently Clarence Clemmens let his attraction for Quivers be known during a recent appearance.) I'm only kidding. The man I would want to spend the rest of my life with would be (Pausing)...Let's see...(Laughs) Well actually you know I have thought about this. I have a wonderful, wonderful working relationship with Howard and I often say that if I could find a guy like Howard who I was sexually attracted to, that would be the perfect relationship.

Chaunce: You're saying you would like to be friends as well as lovers?

RQ: Absolutely. I would like to have the same admiration and respect that I have for Howard.

Chaunce: Do you believe that day will come when you meet Mr. Right?

RQ: I do, absolutely.

Chaunce: In your heart, do you think Howard will follow through with his threat to give up radio come the fall and could you work with anybody else?

RQ: I could never see myself working in radio, doing the kind of thing I do now without Howard. Even after working with him for one year in Washington that was no longer a possibility. You just can't go from this to something mediocre. So it would have to be something completely different, like my own television show. I don't think that we are going to be off the radio in September. Howard's not ready to retire yet, Chaunce.

Chaunce: Now that wasn't so bad.


Courtesy Of: Chaunce Hayden and Steppin' Out Magazine. 1995

1995 - All Pictures Are Exclusive Property of The K.O.A.M. Newsletter. All Rights Reserved.
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