As we quickly creep up on on the final days of 2016, the world continues to lose beloved celebrities, making this year one of the worst in recent memory when it comes to famous deaths. Today, the radio world was hit hard with the news that beloved Howard Stern Wack Pack member Joseph Bassolino had died. The man was 49.
Better known as Joey Boots, Bassolino was a longtime member of the Howard Stern Show family, and one of the more popular Wack Pack members. A prominent member of the group who often toured outside the show, gathering big crowds wherever he went, the man succumbed to undisclosed caused. He is perhaps most famous for unleashing his iconic catch phrase on the world, 'Ba Ba Booey'. This was in reference to longtime Howard Stern producer Gary Dell'Abate.
According to Deadline, reports claim that Bassolino was found unresponsive at his New York apartment by longtime friend and Wack Pack member Erik "High Pitch Erik" Bleaman. Bleaman had contacted Boots' landlord after Joseph failed to show up for one of their many gigs together. It's known that Bassolino had been struggling with diabetes. But that hasn't been confirmed as the cause of death.
The Wack Pack are a gang of frequent call-in personalities that have become Howard Stern all-stars over the years. They often appear on the radio show, and have made the occasional appearances in film and television. Most notably, Joey had a memorable but small turn in the 2012 Paul Weitz adaptation Being Flynn. He also appeared on the 2013 TV comedy Newsreaders.
Boots was born in the Bronx and grew up on Long Island. He spent six years in the U.S. Army before becoming associated with the Howard Stern Show. His catchphrase Baba Booey became synonymous with the show itself. And has been used by die hard fans calling into other TV and radio programs, with individuals yelling it out during live telecasts. And it is often yelled during golf matches during tense times on the green. Stern would gather these and play them on air.
This tactic later became known as Booey bombing, as recognized in a New York court. In 2014, Joey Boots was arrested for yelling Baba Booey during a live news broadcast and was arrested. Aided by a team of three lawyers, Boots actually had to go before a judge, who dismissed the case, ruling that Booey Bombing was not illegal and a form of free speech.
No arrangements for Joseph Bassolino have been made at this time. But the man will likely be remembered in the coming weeks on the Howard Stern Show. Our condolences go out to his friends and family.