A Serial Killer Calls In The Howard Stern Show
The Howard Stern Show is a radio show that was extremely popular in the 1990s and early 2000s. Howard Stern’s career helped make the phrase ‘Shock Jock’ a household term. This is due to the many crazy and offensive antics seen on his show throughout the years.
In 1997, The Howard Stern Show had a very disturbing interview. A New Orleans man, who went by the name of ‘Clay’, called into the studio. He claimed that he was a serial killer who has a repeated history of murdering prostitutes.
While Howard and his team did not know if this caller was telling the truth, they gave the man some air time to discuss his dark deeds. During the call, Clay admits to killing a dozen sex workers. He says he does so because he has a compulsion to have power over his victims. Clay also stated that his weapon of choice is a hammer.
Was The Call Staged?
There is much debate surrounding whether or not the call from Clay was a staged bit on the Howard Stern show. Some people point to Clay’s constant hesitations to show that he is lying. Others believe that Clay was too calm and collected for it to be an offensive comedic bit.
During the interview, Howard seems to be attempting to get Clay to divulge relevant details about his life. This would be consistent with an interviewer trying to lead the police to the caller. Many believe that Howard’s demeanor toward Clay shows that, at the very least, Howard was not aware of this caller.
At the same time, a lot of the details given by Clay do not fit into the standard profile of a serial killer. He admits to not harming animals as a child. Clay also stated that he did not have a bad home life, or serious issues that could lead to a mental disturbance.
One interesting detail about the interview comes up when Howard asks Clay what he says to women before he kills them. Clay initially responds with ‘Well I could say Baba Booey’, until Howard gets the conversation back on track.
This phrase is usually used by prank callers on The Howard Stern show as it is the nickname of Stern’s producer Gary Dell’Abate. Was Clay trying to subtle tell Howard that he was trolling? Or was he simply making a joke about being interviewed by Howard Stern?
Who Is The Real Clay?
In a large city like New Orleans, murder is not an uncommon occurrence. Due to a lack of legality and regulation, violence against sex workers is also unfortunately uncommon. Much like we learned in the case of Jeffrey Dahmer, preying on disenfranchised groups makes it easier to get away with the crime.
Sadly, there have been many men that have been caught killing sex workers in New Orleans. That said, I don’t believe there has been any tangible evidence that linked these killers to the Clay persona.
At one point, authorities believe that there was a single serial killer in New Orleans, who they dubbed the Storyville Slayer. During the investigation of this serial killer, they found that it may have been multiple unrelated people committing the crimes.
I should also note that most of the Storyville Slayer killings were strangulations and drownings. This goes against Clay’s description of using a hammer. There are also other details that differ between Clay’s story and the story of the Storyville Slayer suspects.
The Controversy Of Platforming
Outside of Clay’s identity, there is much debate about how The Howard Stern Show handled Clay calling into the studio. This is especially true over twenty years later where we live in a time where ethics is media is a hot topic.
On one side of the conversation, people argue that The Howard Stern Show should have not taken the call. Many serial killers want the fame and notoriety that comes with their crimes. Some feel that giving a platform to these kinds of criminals would increase the chance of these heinous crimes happening in the future.
On the other hand, some people praise Howard Stern for interviewing Clay. Howard was able to get Clay to tell many details about his life. Someone of these details would be helpful to law enforcement.
The detail that I found to be the most interesting was when Clay said a coworker jokingly told him that he was the killer. This means that other people in Clay’s life are somewhat onto him. This is a detail that would have never been brought up if Howard didn’t conduct the interview.
While this took place in 1997, the whole scenario does play into our society’s current discussions of morality in true crime entertainment. Clay’s interview is a weird moment in pop culture history that is still being talked about to this day. Hell, here I am writing about it twenty-six years later.
Have You Heard The Clay Call From The Howard Stern Show?
We hope you enjoyed our breakdown of the time a serial killer called into The Howard Stern Show. Have you heard this episode? Do you think it was real or a staged bit? Let us know on social media!