Eric Fred Norris (born Fred Leo Nukis; July 9, 1955) is an American radio personality, comedy writer, musician, and impressionist. He is the longest-tenured staff member on The Howard Stern Show, aside from Stern himself.
Norris was born in Willimantic, Connecticut, the son of Valija and Henry Nukis, Latvian immigrants. He was raised in Manchester, Connecticut.
Norris began working with Howard Stern on the radio station WCCC-FM in Hartford in the late 1970s. Fred began playing guitar as a student at DuBaldo Music. In 1995, Norris married Allison Ferman, a woman he originally met on the "Dial-A-Date" segment of Stern's radio show. The couple has one daughter, Tess. Norris owns a Triumph motorcycle, which he rides on a regular basis, and likes to box.
A regular bit on the show is "Win Fred's Money" where Fred and another contestant answer rapid-fire trivia questions. Fred usually wins these contests handily. However, his primary role on the show is playing sound clips that comically coincide with the current discussion, writing song parodies and skits and contributing jokes during the course of the show. Otherwise, he's mostly silent, painting the show with soundbites and timing commercial breaks. Stern occasionally teases Norris for "sleepwalking" through the show (as he had had a more prominent role when the show had a smaller cast).
In 1993 Norris legally changed his name from Fred Leo Nukis to Eric Fred Norris, a change which was not widely known until several years later when the cast of the Stern Show saw Norris' new name signed in a log kept to comply with the FCC. Regardless, the cast has still referred to him mostly as Fred.
Most recently, Fred was confronted about his name on November 13, 2006. Fred revealed that the last name Norris is that of his kindly stepfather. Nukis was his biological father's name and Fred wished to remove that father from his life with the name change. Fred claimed that his mother wanted to name him Eric at birth, but that his natural father had not allowed it because "Eric" was the name of his mother's former boyfriend. The name Leo was selected by his maternal aunt - the same woman who eventually eloped with his natural father. Fred says he hates both the names Fred and Leo - though Norris's wife, Alison, calls him Fred.
Memorable Stern Show eventsEdit
In January 2006, Norris revealed on Stern's Sirius Satellite Radio show that he has a half-sister during a bit where cast members revealed secrets about themselves (his father had an illegitimate child with Norris's godmother). He has stated that he doesn't want to meet this person due to his strong grudge against his father as well as his godmother. Many Stern fans were expecting a more startling revelation from Fred, and felt that this revelation was a cop-out, especially considering the shameful admissions by other members of the show. Norris has served as a writer on the Stern Show for many years and has helped write most of the show's bits. Particularly memorable events specifically involving Norris include:
- Stern goofing on him for buying a Cookie Puss cake for his mother on Mother's Day
- Norris drunkenly cuddling with show intern Gay Rich at Scores for his bachelor party, then falling down stairs and landing on his head - requiring a trip to the emergency room. The on-air discussion of a fight between Norris and his wife at NBC's Rainbow Room which led to Fred quitting the show, only to come back the next day.
- Norris frequently denies model Carol Alt a "supermodel" status, vigorously asserting that she has never attained that rare professional level. He also questions her status as a legitimate actress as she has not had a starring role in any Hollywood productions.
- Norris, to his chagrin, is often mocked by Stern during the show for what he perceives as Norris' oddness, for example saying he is 'from Mars'.
Norris was also regularly mocked on the Stern show roasts for his oddness and on-air silence. Jackie Martling referred to him as an alien and Colin Quinn told Gary Dell'Abate that he was "uglier than Fred's thoughts;" also stating that he looked like "a retarded Gary Oldman," which Norris found amusing due to his passing resemblance to the respected actor.
When Norris announced on the show that Allison had become pregnant by means other than sexual intercourse, Robin stated that she knew if Fred was going to have a child it would "have to be a science project." After a pause, Norris called Robin a "fat malicious cow." A few months after this incident, possibly as a fence-mending gesture, Robin financed Fred's birthday celebration (in fact, she went to great lengths to detail on-air how much she had shelled out for the party).