Adam Carolla Hits the Road

“I would like them to know that Adam thinks they’re hacks and doesn’t want to work with them ever again.”

 

 
 
 
 
Adam Carolla is a man who defies expectations. He calls himself functionally illiterate, yet wrote a book on the New York Times’ Best Seller list. He ignored computers for the better part of the past decade, yet his podcast is one of the most popular in history. He co-hosted The Man Show, which celebrated bachelor life, throughout early ‘00s, but is now a family man with a wife and kids and spent his birthday watching Sex and the City 2. Carolla may surprise you; his razor-sharp wit and keen hyper-vigilance make for a deadly one-two comedy punch that deconstructs the world around him in a way that brings things into startling focus for his listeners. Nothing escapes his glance, and his conclusions can’t be anticipated.
 
The funny man is bringing his unique brand of man-on-the street, observational, complaint-oriented comedy to the Pageant this Saturday in his touring multi-media show. Fresh off the release of his best-selling book In Fifty Years We’ll All be Chicks (and the subsequent audiobook that is topping iTunes currently), Carolla took a moment to discuss his new projects, ongoing podcast The Adam Carolla Show, live shows, and how he sees himself in light of his digital trail blazing.
 
Carolla uses his background as an improvisational actor and a radio and TV host in his live performances, as the format differs from that of a traditional stand-up show. "There’s a whole visual component to it,” he says. “It’s a multi-media affair, but it’s basically guys standing there telling jokes, telling stories, you know, getting laughs. But it’s accompanied by visuals . . . so there’s a little more to it than a stand-up show." Carolla is no stranger to the road, having toured college campuses quite often during his decade-long tenure as cohost of Loveline with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Now with a wife and twins, he is ambivalent toward touring. With a classic Carolla moan, he says, "Eh, it’s alright. I mean, I don’t really like the travel part, but I like the part where people laugh."
 
After creating a sitcom pilot that wasn’t picked up for CBS last summer, Carolla has spoken about how horrible he found that process to be. Given his frustration with network television and his wild success outside of that format, I asked him if he’s still working towards something for TV. "There’s always something cooking in the TV world, but it’s sort of stupid to talk about—since there’s just always something cooking,” he says. “I don’t think I would be particularly open to going a traditional route on NBC or CBS or ABC. I would not be open to going through the process that I went through already, which was this huge committee of unfunny people—and not just on their side, but on our side too. There’s just non-writing producers with unfunny ideas that force them up your ass. I would not do that again and I would certainly not do it the way I did it before. You complain about why there’s nothing funny on TV, and it’s because it all goes through this process and it is a vacuum that eliminates funny from everything. The whole process is set up to be the opposite of creative." Then he sarcastically quips, "Other than that, it’s awesome."
 
In his comedy and interviews, Carolla is known for his directness and unvarnished opinions. Being so open about incidents and holding his contemporaries accountable is what has made him famous, but it could also be a thorn in his side. I asked if, when talking about the sitcom, he ever worries about angering the people who he might conceivably ask to hire him for his next project. "My feeling is, fuck those people.” He says. “I’m done with them. I would like them to know that Adam thinks they’re hacks and doesn’t want to work with them ever again. That would be the message I’d like to send all of those people."
 
Speaking more broadly, he goes on, "You don’t sit around and think of all the good things that can happen, and you don’t sit around and think of all the bad things that could happen. You just do it, ’cause that’s what you do. There will be some good things, some bad thing, some opportunities, some missed opportunities, but it’ll all be academic because it’ll be you doing what you should be doing."
 
Carolla always seems ready to explore new opportunities and formats for delivering comedy. For example, the audiobook for In Fifty Years We’ll All be Chicks offers a markedly different take on his written word. He often goes off-page on diatribes or observations spurred by topics from the book. The audiobook plays out much like a one-man podcast or a comedy album of years past. I wondered aloud to Carolla if this might be the comedy album format for a new, digital, generation. "I guess; I never really thought about it,” he says. “’Comedy album’ seems so crazy and foreign, it’s even hard to imagine these days, you know? Comedy albums are an hour long, or used to be, and this thing is six hours and 45 minutes long, so it’s kind of like six comedy albums. I’m flattered that people like it, and I like that people take it wherever they go. If they go to the store or walk their dog . . . I love that ‘take it with you’ idea. I don’t know what to call it, but it’s new and exciting. I wasn’t looking for too much out of it, and honestly I don’t think my publisher was either. It was more like, ‘Here’s what you do. You’re contractually obliged to do one of these things,’ so we did one of those things and it just seemed to catch on. I’ve got to say I’ve listened to it, and I’ve listened to other people’s stuff, and it’s enjoyable. Instead of walking your dog, going to the supermarket, or [being] stuck in traffic and listening to some bullshit AM radio, why not listen to something you want to hear?"
 
The audiobook has everything you’d expect from Carolla; tangents, quips, and refreshing observations fill each minute with his nasal tone. While working on it, he often complained about the awkward and grueling schedule necessary to record over six hours of the book, which begs the question, was it worth it? "Oh yeah, I don’t think it could have worked any other way honestly,” he says. “You wouldn’t get this ‘found opportunity’ that you have, in that you have two separate entities now. I don’t know how many people do an audiobook and a written book and the audiobook is quite a bit different than the written book, and that’s just serendipity. I just got bored and started vamping and just did what I did and it just turned out to be different entities, which would have never happened if someone was just reading my audiobook."
 
So, who is Adam Carolla: New York Times best selling author, podcasting pioneer, family man, astute political commentator, comedian, or Renaissance man? It is true that people evolve over time, slowly tacking on new sensibilities as they progress through life, but more truthfully, people become a sum of their experiences. On Saturday, Carolla gives us the opportunity to share in those experiences, as he brings his one-man multi-media show to the Pageant’s stage for the first time. | Glen Elkins

Adam Carolla will be at the Pageant on Saturday, April 2. General Admission for the all ages show is $29.50, doors 7:00 pm, show 8:00 pm. For more info or to purchase tickets, visit www.thepageant.com.

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