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Aug 1998 | Updated Monthly

Howard Stern's Asian Sexplosion

Unavailable in the U.S.

"Howard Stern" and "Asian Financial Crisis". Two phrases I never expected to use in the same sentence. Now "Howard Stern" and "Asian Sex Shows", on the other hand, go together like sex and oral sex. But a bizarre series of events has pushed the three phrases together in a menage a trois -- unfortunately, one that the American public may never get to watch.

About eight months ago, Howard Stern spent some time in the red light districts of Asia filming a series of hour long shows on the Asian sex industry. They were to be released in the U.S. as a series of pay-per-view specials. Unfortunately, the Indonesian company that co-produced and co-owns the shows went under in the recent Asian financial crisis, and the rights are likely to be tied up in arcane Indonesian bankruptcy proceedings for years. The upshot of this is that the tapes can't be released or even discussed in the US until ownership issues get resolved. However, bootleg copies of them have turned up in Hong Kong, and a few have spread over here -- including to us at SurReview.

Little does the average Stern fan know what he's missing. The idea was to take Stern plus usual entourage, and let them run a no-holds barred travelling show in the red-light districts of Asia. The idea seems so natural, so promising, that I find it hard to believe it hadn't been done sooner.

Since this isn't for broadcast, Stern can do whatever he wants without having to watch out for the FCC. Ironically, this is not a costless blessing; Stern is a master of pushing boundaries -- both of people, and the FCC. In the same way that the limitations of formal poetic structures created great poetry, listening to Stern try to describe, say, one lesbian shaving the pubic hair off of another lesbian within the limitations imposed on him by the FCC is far more entertaining than if he had total freedom.

Here, he has no such boundaries, and a little of Stern's charm is lost. On the bright side, he gets to film Thai girls firing ping pong balls out of their vaginas and into the mouths of American Marines. You win some, you lose some.

Enough senseless meta-analysis. Anyone who's read this far wants to know what's in the tapes. Some samples:

In addition to using US Marine embassy guards as targets, Stern took ten Thai girls and let them fire bananas at a big paper mache head of Rosie O'Donnell, offering $10,000 to the first girl to launch a banana right into the mouth.

In Tokyo, Stern held court in one of the weirder bondage/scat parlors. Much of the proceedings are unsuitable even for SurReview viewers [Not true; nothing is unsuitable for SurReview readers -- ed.]. Let me just say that golden showers, sushi, and interns desparate to impress Howard make for a potent combo.

In one scene Stern goes to town on the back of a lovely Japanese teenager with a riding crop, getting her to (1) repeat the phrase 'me love you long time' about thirty times until Stern says she's gotten it exactly right, (2) apologize for Pearl Harbor, and (3) cry out, "American penis very large! Too large for me!", leading Howard to raise his hands and utter the most entertaining line of the show: "In the land of the small Asian penis, Howard Stern is king!"

In Cambodia, Stern seems highly enamored of the legions of amputee prostitutes and sex show workers (mostly victims of landmines from Cambodia's eternal civil war) and the various novel opportunities for penetration they provide. The less said about this the better.

The Indonesian tape is a little different: while he does spend a fair amount of time in Jakarta, Stern seems much more interested in having a whole series of couples from the more primitive corners of Indonesia (most looked straight out of a National Geographic photo shoot) perform various energetic acts on each other. By far the most interesting thing on the tape is a weird sequence centering around the involvement of food and sex -- and by food, I mean edible snails the size of human heads. While there were undeniably amusing elements to this, some of the more culturally patronizing overtones actually made me feel uncomfortable.

Many of Stern's critics seem to think that he merely wallows in smut, appealing solely to the purient interest. This is not true; Stern never lets the proceedings degenerate into raw pornography. Rather, what Stern is all about is pushing people's boundaries, getting them to do things they never intended. To many, this is unpleasant. To others, it's hilarious like a panty raid gone wrong. To me, I love watching some of the seedier alleys of human nature get their day in the sun.

Is there anything to be learned by this, any large lesson to be drawn? Probably not. Those who hate Stern will hate this, and those who love Stern will know what they're missing, and clamour post-experimental lab monkeys to get ahold of it.

-- Beth Moog


Copyright 1998
James D Thomas