Today on the Anthony Cumia Show, radio/podcast host Anthony Cumia announced that he is taking a one month break from his show, during the month of April, to attend an inpatient drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility. He said that although the decision is related to “legalities” he said that is voluntary and is not a part of a court order. Comedians, friends and fellow broadcasters will fill in during the month of April while he is away.
Anthony’s long time friend and radio host Ron Bennington joined him for the announcement and they were joined shortly after by Cumia’s former radio co-host Jim Norton. Both Bennington and Norton are in recovery.
Cumia, who was clearly nervous about making the announcement basically blurted it out, early on in Wednesday’s show, saying to Bennington, “Ronnie, I’m going to be away, for about a month.” He continued, “I will not see the month of April here. And I’m having a lot of great people– very supportive people that I have known over the years fill in for me– fill the old shoes of your pal Anthony for the time I’m gone. Because much like Joan Crawford, I do this for you and I absolutely didn’t want to go dark.” Cumia continued. “Saturday, I am taking a plane out of here, lets just say. Out of New York, and going somewhere where I will spend a month… relaxing. ….learning ….um… rehabilitating perhaps is a word that could be used.”
Cumia revealed that he had a lot of questions for his friends about recovery. “This is new territory for Anthony,” he said, “I don’t even know what I’m going in to. I don’t know what the rules are, I don’t know what it’s going to be. It’s like a big mystery adventure type thing. But I guess after this whole thing is said and done with, I might have a better understanding as to how I should proceed in the future and perhaps not get myself embroiled in legalities and what not that have plagued me for the wonderful year that is 2016 …and a few years prior that led up to it.”
The legalities Cumia mentioned refers to his December 2015 arrest. On December 20th he was arrested in his Long Island home after he got into an argument with his former girlfriend, 26-year-old Danielle Brand. He was charged with strangulation, criminal mischief, unlawful imprisonment and assault. The two had been seen arguing on Periscope prior to the arrest and the video of the argument made the internet rounds after news of Cumia’s arrest hit the papers. In the video, Brand claimed her hand had been broken and blamed her injury on Cumia.
But on Wednesday’s show, Cumia made it clear that his decision to go to rehab was not court ordered. That doesn’t rule out the possibility that the trip to rehab may be a part of an agreement with the Nassau County Prosecutors Office, or an attempt to favorably influence the outcome of his legal proceedings, but if that’s the case, Cumia didn’t say so.
Bennington and Norton joked around with Anthony, and gave him some supportive advice, and most of all expressed their happiness that Anthony was taking this step. “Well you had a good run, dude,” Bennington joked, “It’s a long time coming. I first brought this up to you 16 years ago. You probably don’t remember; you blacked out. But yeah, you had a hell of a run and its time to reboot.” Norton expressed similar thoughts, saying “you’ve enjoyed yourself in a certain way for many years.” Bennington made a comparison to Peyton Manning- indicating that maybe Cumia stayed in the “game” a little too long.
Some of the fears, worries and questions Cumia raised included questions about women, freedoms, and a concern about being brainwashed. “Am I getting up early? Will i have a phone? Will I be able to enjoy myself and do the show and be funny?” The episode is available for free to non-subscribers who will be able to access the episode on anthonycumia.com and YouTube.
Cumia announced that some of his closest comedian friends- who also happen to be some of the best comics in New York, will be filling in for him during the month off as special guest hosts, starting with Jim Norton on Monday April 4th. Longtime friends Colin Quinn, Jim Florentine and Rich Vos, are on the list along with Ron Bennington, as well as comedians Dan Soder, Ari Shaffir, Luis J. Gomez, Sam Roberts, Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson and others. The complete list is below. Bennington announced that he received a phone call just before today’s show informing him that his SiriusXM contract prevents him from technically hosting a show on The Cumia Network, but he will be appearing as a guest on the dates listed below. On April 6th B.L. who has made numerous appearances on Bennington’s SiriusXM Show will serve as host.
Apr 4 Jim Norton
Apr 5 Dan Soder
Apr 6 Ron Bennington
Apr 7 Ari Shaffir
Apr 11 Colin Quinn
Apr 12 Rich Vos & Luis Gomez
Apr 13 Delco Proper
Apr 14 Jim Florentine
Apr 18 Ari Shaffir, Kurt Metzger, Big Jay Oakerson
Apr 19 Rich Vos & Luis Gomez
Apr 20 Sam Roberts & Ron Bennington
April 21 Big Jay Oakerson
Apr 25-28 VACATION
May 2 Comedy Outliers Mike Brown & Brandon Collins
May 3 Kurt Metzger & Sherrod Smalls
May 4 Joe List & Mark Normand
Although Bennington has been a regular guest on Cumia’s show, this was Norton’s first time on the show since Cumia’s December 2015 arrest.
Cumia had been promoting a “very special announcement” scheduled for today’s show, leading long time fans to speculate all week about the nature of the announcement. Anthony dropped some pretty strong hints on yesterdays show, including revealing that FOX put the kibosh on Cumia appearing on their late night show ‘Red Eye’ until Cumia gets things ‘taken care of’ presumably referring to resolving his court case.
Cumia also read a statement that had been prepared by his press rep. “I’m sure most of you know the last few months have been pretty rough. Thank you to those of you who have stayed with the program and have supported this platform it has been greatly appreciated. I’ve always prided myself on being very connected with the fans. Opening our studio to the audience, meeting at events or by chance out on the street. So, with that in mind I wanted to let you know that I am going to take some time off from the show, and get the parts of my life together that haven’t been tended to, too well lately. I’ll be gone a little over a month and my shoes will be filled with some great talent and even better friends. I’m handing over the keys to the castle for awhile knowing that it will be in even better shape when I return. to those of you, my family my friends, and you who continue to stand by me in all of this, you have my deep gratitude, and to those of you who haven’t, my best to you.”
Anthony Cumia is the former co-host of the Opie and Anthony Show. He hosted the show for 25 years along with his former radio partner Gregg Opie Hughes. Cumia was fired from SiriusXM in July 2014 over a series of racially motivated tweets. Although Opie and Anthony had a history of being fired from radio jobs, often using the firing as an opportunity to step up to bigger gigs, this time Hughes opted to remain at SiriusXM. Cumia launched his own subscription based show- The Anthony Cumia Show– initially from a high tech studio in the basement of his Roselyn Heights home known as ‘the Compound’ to fans. He moved to a New York City studio in 2015, and has turned his show into a network, welcoming 5 other shows including the Legion of Skanks podcast, the Gavin McInness Show, The New York Crime Report, the East Side Dave Show, and Finer Things with Mike Finoia.