Lange was born on October 11, 1967 in Livingston, New Jersey, and raised in Union Township. His mother, Judy (née Caprio), of Italian descent, was a housewife, while his father, Arthur Lange, Sr., of German and Native American descent, was a general contractor. His sister Stacey is a fashion designer. Two weeks after Lange's birth, his father went on trial for counterfeiting money but was spared jail time out of the court's sympathy for his young son.
In 2003, after some of The Howard Stern Show staff submitted a sample of their DNA for testing, it was revealed that Lange was approximately 25 percent American Indian.
Lange attended Union High School and took up baseball where he became an all-county third baseman. He spent his free time working with his father, who in October 1985, became quadriplegic after he fell off a ladder and broke his back. Money soon became an issue within his family, and Lange's mother took a secretary job for income. Lange recalled, "We took out a second mortgage. Medicaid paid for a nurse eight hours a day. When my mother got back from being a secretary all day, she had to take care of him. Every night, she set her alarm clock to turn him so he wouldn't get bedsores." In 1987, the family contacted celebrities asking them to donate items for auction, and Howard Stern, the only one to respond, sent an autographed K-Rock jacket and said on the air, "Does this guy think that if he puts the jacket on he's going to walk again?", which Lange and his father found funny. His father died from complications of an infection on February 1, 1990, four-and-a-half years after the accident.
In August 1985, Lange was arrested for attempted bank robbery. He claimed he was trying to flirt with the teller by passing her a note that said he was armed and demanded $50,000. The teller took it seriously, triggering a silent alarm. He was charged with disorderly conduct and entered community service in March 1986. As part of his probation, Lange attended the Connecticut School of Broadcasting from March to June 1987 as well as Seton Hall University for a short time before leaving. On June 12, 1987, at 19 years of age, Lange performed his first stand-up comedy routine at The Improv in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan. "I bombed for five minutes. Everyone thinks that they can do better. I was unprepared, I mumbled, and I forgot stuff. But I'm proud that I did it." In February 1991, Lange took up work as a longshoreman at Port Newark to help support his family.
Comedian Artie Lange is best known as having informally inherited the role of the tubby, prat-falling sidekick in vehicles for Saturday Night Live alums, which was occupied by Chris Farley before his death in 1997. More restrained than Farley, but of similar build and acquaintanceship, Lange has rode his appearance and his exasperated comic deliveries to a handful of film credits and a regular gig on Howard Stern's radio show.
Born in Union, NJ, on October 11, 1967, Lange was a prankster from a young age and was held back from graduating high school with the rest of his class. Lange had the last laugh when he scored a recurring role on Fox's Mad TV from 1995 to 1997. After leaving that show, Lange began capitalizing on his friendship with SNL veteran Norm MacDonald, first appearing in MacDonald's revenge comedy Dirty Work (1998) (in which Farley also appears), then working with the comic on his ABC sitcom Norm, also known as The Norm Show. The real comparisons to Farley inevitably came when he appeared opposite David Spade, former partner of Farley, in the 1999 comedy Lost and Found, in which he was required to perform many of the indignities that Farley once performed.
Lange has also popped up in such films as Mystery Men (1999) and The Bachelor (1999).