John Goodman Confesses to Getting Sober
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John Goodman Confesses to Getting Sober


John Goodman quit drinkingFor any fan of The Howard Stern Show, writing an article commenting on an episode that aired weeks ago is like making a public declaration that you just learned the meaning of FOMO—it’s fucking embarrassing and unacceptable. And yes, I am swearing in the first sentence of this piece to make up for just how unacceptable it is. But now that you are aware that I am aware that John Goodman making an appearance on the March 7th show is very old news, perhaps you can overlook this faux pas long enough so that I may relay some of what transpired to non-Stern fanatics out there (because there are some who walk this Earth).

The truth is, former Stern fans from days of yore (i.e. public radio), you actually don’t need to listen to the four-hour long show anymore to get the gist of what went down. There are multiple sites dedicated to recapping nearly every moment of every segment of every show (including, of course,, so thankfully I was able to find out that John Goodman, among other things, admitted to Howard that he quit drinking eight years ago.

You Don’t Say?

I don’t know if this was public knowledge before, but if it was, it’s certainly isn’t something the 63-year old actor openly talks about. While it has become somewhat chic to be sober in Hollywood, it might be a bit less glamorous to advertise it when you quit drinking at 55—especially when you don’t have to. Meaning, there was no scandal, public intoxication or arrests attached to Goodman’s decision to clean up his act. From the sound of it, Goodman is a private person and so was his drinking problem.

Except that it kind of wasn’t. According to the 10 Cloverfield Lane star, who has recently dropped a bunch of weight and is looking great, he was drunk on the set of the Coen brother’s cult classic, The Big Lebowski—something he admits that he isn’t proud of: “That was something I swore to myself I would never do,” Goodman says of drinking at work.

We Know That Song and Dance

Despite this, Goodman went on to drink another nine years, a common situation for many alcoholics—that is, we think something will surely be our bottom and then it isn’t. (Although when you are playing a role like Walter Sobchak on The Big Lebowski, it’s a fine line between unmanageability and method acting.)

Goodman also admitted to drinking in the set of Roseanne but he seemed less shameful about that. Maybe it’s because it was a communal affair (it was the 80’s, after all). But Dan Conner never struck me as a drunk, just the type who liked a nice cold one after a long day’s work. Maybe it was the combination of Dan Conner’s after-work libations mixed with Goodman’s real life ones that got him into trouble?

The Attraction and Inspiration of Open Sobriety

My point in all of this is that I really appreciate Goodman openly discussing this issue. While he has never been a Hollywood “It” guy, Goodman is a well respected and highly regarded veteran comedic actor who many wouldn’t guess has greatly struggled in his life (barring the obvious weight problem, though you could argue that this has worked in his favor).

And if anything honest and vulnerable is going to come out of a celebrity’s own mouth, it will most likely be to Howard Stern. Say what you want about the shock jock—the man has a way of getting public people to reveal their private selves. And if you aren’t someone who is prepared for that to happen on air, you should not agree to be a guest (I am talking to you, Amy Fisher). So if anyone is thinking that Goodman was put on the spot and forced to come clean, it’s more than likely he just felt comfortable enough with Stern to wave his sobriety flag proudly.

Photo courtesy of Joe Polletta ( [CC BY-SA 2.0 (], via Wikimedia Commons (resized and cropped)

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About Author

Danielle Stewart is a Los Angeles-based writer and recovering comedian. She has written for Showtime, E!, and MTV, as well as print publications such as Us Weekly and Life & Style Magazine. She returned to school and is currently working her way towards a master’s degree in Marriage and Family Therapy. She loves coffee, Law & Order SVU, and her emotional support dog, Benson.