'Rude' Jude shares his 'Hyena' tale
Jude Angelini is an author. He likes the sound of that.
"I was in 'stupid people' English, so this is cool to me," Angelini says.
It is a picture-perfect October afternoon and Angelini is in the living room of his mother's Royal Oak home, hosting his SiriusXM radio program, "The All Out Show." The show, which is housed on Eminem's Shade 45 channel, celebrates its 10th anniversary this week, making it one of the longest-running shows on satellite radio.
Angelini is broadcasting from the road while promoting "Hyena," his drug and sex-fueled collection of short stories that made him, officially, an author. He'll do a reading and signing at 7:30 p.m. Thursday at the Barnes & Noble in West Bloomfield.
The book was originally self-published a year ago, and Simon & Schuster re-released it last month. When he travels, he can now see his book on shelves in airport bookstores.
"How cool is that?" says the 37-year-old, his gravely voice sounding like Redd Foxx. "From where I came from, being in the airport is pretty awesome."
Angelini was born in Pontiac and didn't have much growing up, but he developed a quick wit which eventually landed him a recurring role on "The Jenny Jones Show," where he became known as "Rude Jude" for his cutting insults to the show's guests and audience members.
The "Jenny Jones" stint didn't quite lead to fame and fortune, and Angelini was working as a bathroom attendant at a club on 9 Mile in 2000 when he heard Eminem mentioned him in his song "Drug Ballad" from "The Marshall Mathers LP." It was validation he was on the right path, and he soon moved to Los Angeles to become an actor.
His acting career didn't take off — Angelini says he was terrible at auditions — and he was waiting tables, making ends meet, when a friend hooked him up with Eminem's manager, Paul Rosenberg, who offered him a job on Shade 45's afternoon program. He's been there ever since.
Radio only takes up four hours a day, and Angelini wanted more. He started a blog where he made lists and started telling stories about his life, crazy stories about snorting drugs and wild sex. He decided to compile those stories into a book, which became "Hyena."
The book is funny, vile, sad and shocking. Angelini's style punches you in the face, but makes you see the man underneath the monster, the humanity inside the beast.
"I didn't want to beat around the bush with this," he says. "I don't need you to like me."
His influences include Charles Bukowski, Roald Dahl and especially Elmore Leonard.
"I love his punchiness," Angelini says of Leonard. "I love the way he can tell you about a dude in one sentence."
Another influence was Fleetwood Mac, and stylistically, he tried to frame the book like Mac's "Rumors." (Jude's musical tastes run from the Mac to Thin Lizzy to Otis Redding, and says he's he's particularly disinterested in rap.
"I honestly have no business doing an afternoon drive show on a hip-hop station," he says, "but thankfully for me, people value more than just your knowledge of current rap music."
Angelini says he wrote the book "for people who haven't read a book in 10 years," and says he's gotten great feedback from readers. "I'm inspiring people that don't read to write," he says. "I didn't predict that one."
He called the book "Hyena" because he says hyenas are scrappy outsiders, like himself.
"People don't like hyenas, they think they're ugly, they think they're scavengers. They like lions, but no one's a lion, people are hyenas. They're doing the best they can with what they have."
His goal is to land "Hyena" on the New York Times Best Seller list, and then he'd like to get the book made into a TV series, maybe on HBO. He's currently too focused on selling the book to consider writing a follow-up.
Angelini knows the stories he tells in his book have taken their toll on him physically and mentally, and he would like to graduate from being the Crazy Story Guy.
"At the end of the day, the Crazy Story Guy is a lonely guy," he says. But he still wants those crazy stories to leave you reeling.
"I want you to feel like you got ripped up. I want you to feel like I just shook you. Either you're laughing or you don't like me or you're disgusted, but I want you to feel something by the end of this book. Good or bad, I want them to feel."
Jude Angelini 'Hyena' book signing
7:30 p.m. Thursday
Barnes & Noble, 6800 Orchard Lake, West Bloomfield