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Posted by sdrury on November 21, 2009

Adam Carolla has been popping up on the entertainment radar for the last fifteen years or so. Born in Philadelphia and raised in North Hollywood,  it’s hard to say what he’s most known for. His first major gig was on radio as the host of the quasi-relationship show Loveline, which later was syndicated on television. He hosted The Man Show (a guilty pleasure of mine) on Comedy Central with pal Jimmy Kimmel and then wrote and voiced Crank Yankers, also on Comedy Central, a show featuring puppets making prank phone calls. At the time it was a nadir of telvision entertainment, but has since been surpassed tenfold.

He also appeared recently on Dancing With the Stars and currently hosts The Adam Carolla podcast which airs daily and can be found here. The show features folks on the margins of the entertainment universe chatting with Carolla. It’s profane, informative, topical, perverse, scatological and almost always hilarious. The programs shine when Carolla and his guest talk up life in Hollywood, minutiae of day to day existence like dealing with wives, girlfriends, co-workers, family and whatever else might be happening in his universe.

It doesn’t take long to realize that Carolla is pretty sharp guy. Despite barely graduating from high school his podcast reveals he’s a man with a range of interests. In addition to being a comedian, he owns a construction company and an auto shop. In a recent show, within the space of a few minutes he referred to Rob Zombie, Van Gogh, Columbine, life on other planets and his predilection for well-endowed women (the show’s sponsor is a sex boutique). He also routinely breaks the unwritten rule of Hollywood by criticizing other industry types by name. A favorite target is Tyler Perry. He calls out Perry not only for being unfunny but for also perpetuating racial stereotypes. Not something you’d expect to hear from a guy who hosted a show that had an ongoing segement featuring scantily clad women jumping on trampolines.

Carolla comes across as a guy keeping multiple balls in the air while trying to maintain his sanity in a world filed with impossible people. The show loses its bearings when Carolla dips into abstract policy discussions. Segments about foreign affairs, health care, environment and immigration usually end in Carolla dispensing some common sense advice tinged with doses of sexism, racism and a general lack of nuance or understanding.

When thinking through solutions to the world’s problems he inevitably defaults to a “life is complicated and we’re all just trying to get by” populism. His philosophy on celebrity, creativity and a range of sub-sub-sub topics like body odor seem completely thought out and ruminated about in great detail. His philosophies appear like chapter headings and are made more clever by how they’re tied in to some larger trope or discussion point or something he’s experienced in his life. For example, in great detail, he’ll compare comedy to carpentry. And harkening to his radio background, he’ll modulate his voice in a way that amplifies the analogy. It’s inspired stuff and worth checking out. Mahalo.


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