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I taught my lil’ boys to scream, “Baba Booey!” when they play hop on pop. It horrified my wife, but I was merely passing on one of the greatest phrases in American English. See, the nickname of Howard Stern’s long-suffering producer, Gary Dell’Abate, is also a rally cry for nudniks who make prank phone calls and crash TV newscasts with a well-timed “Baba Booey!” outburst, or one of its infinite variants. The handle originated in 1990 when Dell’Abate mispronounced the name of Quick Draw McGraw’s partner, Baba Looey, and everybody on Stern’s show goofed on him for it. But Booey just rolled with the insults, as he usually does. He grew a thick skin growing up with a mentally ill mother and witnessing the AIDS death of his brother, two of many tales he recounts in They Call Me Baba Booey, his moving and funny autobiography.
Dell’Abate signs copies of his book at 7 p.m. at Barnes & Noble Bethesda, 4801 Bethesda Ave., Bethesda. Free. (301) 986-1761.