He went through this "reading joke material" phase about 6-7 years ago, when I think it was Benji who was writing his rants. They need to just scrap the idea... forever. Nothing natural or spontaneous about it.
This makes me wonder what would have become of the show if Artie had never showed up. Probably not too far from what it is today, only the trainwreck would have begun about 10 years earlier. A lot of people understandably say the show jumped the shark when Jackie left, but I still enjoyed it almost as much with Artie, at least until around 2007.
Yet Artie made less than even Gary, Jackie had to leave over money, and Howard finagled close to a billion dollars. I think one of the reasons the US is circling down the toilet right now is the ability of certain types of people who don't really produce much of anything to extract such enormous piles of money from everyone else.
I thought the exact same. I was like what's going on these don't sound like Benji's lame jokes. Howard can't sell them anymore. It's so obvious when he's reading a joke. By the way, who is the new joke writer? Can't be Shuli cause his jokes are even worse.