After spending this past year in and out of rehab, Artie Lange returned to the comedy stage Saturday night with two shows in Atlantic City and he was terrific!

The addiction fighting comedian sold out the Tropicana at 7pm and then Bally's at 9pm. This in preparation for his upcoming tour. Matt Bridgestone, owner of AC Jokes which books both rooms, called it a special night.

"He was clear and focused and had a fresh energy that surpassed all expectations," Bridgestone said. "He shared hilarious personal stories about his encounters with other comedy legends such as Norm Macdonald, Mitch Hedberg, and Chris Farley. Artie did some of his classic favorite bits, but also had tons of new material."

Bridgestone, who's booked Lange before says this time it was different, saying, "About a year ago we had Artie in AC and you could tell he was in a dark place. This past weekend he was absolutely inspirational. He arrived two hours early and was clear and sharp. You can tell that all that mattered to him was putting on great shows."

Some of the best moments says Bridgestone were when Artie reflected on his days on the Howard Stern Show. Lange got belly laughs from the crowd when he said that he knew he needed help when he noticed people were having a harder time figuring out what he was saying, than when Bettlejuice would talk.

"The crowd also exploded into cheers when Artie shared that positive lines of communication have opened up between him and Howard for the first time in years.

Bridgestone said, "Artie ended the night with a genuine heartfelt moment where he thanked the fans for not forgetting about him. It got emotional and a woman in the crowd yelled out 'we love you Artie.' The brilliance of Artie's comedic timing and talent shined in that moment when he commented that he was so happy to finally have a woman scream that out. He said that it's always guys that yell they love him and that his life would be so much better if he preferred plumbers from New Jersey over girls. The show ended with many fans giving Artie a standing ovation, and there was a palpable sense of optimism that this comedy icon has more great things to come."

More from New Jersey 101.5: