Adam Carolla – comedian

October 10, 2014 by  
Filed under Interviews

Comedian Adam Carolla is a busy man. When he’s not making movies and reality TV shows or writing books or hosting the most downloaded podcast in the world, he enjoys interacting with loyal fans. He’ll be in San Antonio October 10 for a live podcast. Before the show, Carolla will visit Spec’s (11751 Bandera Road) at 6 p.m. to sign bottles of Mangria, his new wine cocktail. He caught up with me via phone from his studio in Glendale, California last week.

Hey, Adam, so how was Clooney’s wedding?

Well, I don’t know if you know this, but I had sex with Courtney Cox while I was there. I’m not one to brag, but a fact’s a fact. They confiscated everyone’s cell phone, so I wasn’t able to capture it. You just have to believe me—hand of God. But, yeah, it was nice to get shuttled in by the water taxis. Clooney went grey. He looked in good spirits. We started with a pasta salad. After that, I got pretty drunk, so I don’t remember a lot of it. But I do remember having sex with Courtney Cox.

Sounds like you had a lot of fun. So, the second season of “Catch a Contractor” on Spike TV is here. Why do you think a show like this has resonated with so many viewers?

I think people have a fantasy to find that person that screwed them over and drag them back to the scene of the crime and shove it in their face. Everyone has a story about having to deal with a bad contractor. When I heard the idea for the show, I knew it was going to take a lot of work to screw up that premise—find families that have been screwed over and go find the contractor and drag them back and yell at them in front of the family.

During that final confrontation with the contractor, how nice is it to know you have someone like co-host/contractor/MMA fighter Skip Bedell standing next to you so you don’t necessarily need to bring a sledgehammer with you in case things get physical?

Yeah, it’s good to have a big, tough guy with tattoos standing next to me. It can be really tough emotionally in the show to get into it with people. Homeowners are crying and screaming at the guy. It really gets bad when I start feeling bad for the contractor once they’ve been yelled at enough. But when we get to the confrontation, I try to sprinkle a little humor in. You can’t go wrong with that recipe.

Let’s talk about Mangria. What’s so manly about drinking something labeled a wine cocktail? Wouldn’t have brewing your own beer earned you more man points?

Well, first off, “man points” sound pretty gay to me. Two, this is 21 percent alcohol. When you brew your own beer, you’re sitting at seven to nine percent. Next time football Sunday comes along and everybody shows up with a stale bag of chips and a six-pack of light beer under their arm and you show up with a bottle of Mangria, you’ll be a hero, my friend.

You have a TV show, a podcast empire, a wine cocktail, a new book that hit shelves in May and an upcoming movie. What entrepreneurial avenue is next? Most celebrities have their own fragrance, so could you see a cologne in your future? Adam Carolla’s Bro-logne, perhaps?

I would like to come out with a fragrance, but I would make it smell exactly like WD-40. I don’t think you could smell any better than that. I love the smell of WD-40. I don’t know any guy that doesn’t like that smell. I’d have an aftershave that smelled like WD-40, too.

Was building this Adam Carolla brand always part of your master plan?

It never really was, but it probably should’ve been. I never really thought about it that much before. I’m not going full-throttle Trump on anyone’s ass, but it definitely couldn’t hurt. I mean, my name is on the Mangria bottles, but I don’t call it Adam Carolla’s Mangria. It has my name on it because if [comedian] Doug Benson or Louis C.K.’s name was on it, it would be confusing.

You share your vision on how we can make this country a better place to live in your newest book President Me. What one legislative idea you would urge a 2016 presidential hopeful to turn to in your book and include in their platform?

I want someone to make all life-support equipment coin operated. I don’t feel the taxpayers or the hospitals should be paying for that. When you go in to visit grandpa, you should have to feed the machine quarters. It would pay for itself. People think it’s a cruel idea, but could you imaging living in a world where there wasn’t enough people in it who loved you to feed quarters into the slot? If you have an efficient family structure, they’re going to keep feeding quarters into that respirator. If not, you shouldn’t want to come back to that place anyway. Oh, another [idea] would be to change that children’s swimming pool game Marco Polo to Adam Carolla. I mean, Marco Polo? I don’t even know what he did; probably something with spices.

I know you’re a conservative, but don’t you think a Hillary Clinton White House is inevitable?

Well, what she has going for her—and I don’t think people should discount this element —is that we’re in a place where we like to feel good about ourselves and being a part of change. Everyone wants to be on the good side of history. A lot of people went with Obama in the past election because they thought, “I want to be part of the generation that votes in the first black president. I’m going to be on the happy side of history.” Nobody wants to be like, “Oh, my grandfather complained like hell when they tried to get away from that whole separate water fountain drinking system.” Nobody wants to be on that side of history. So, we’re just coming off electing the first African American president. Everyone thinks that was awesome. Now, we’re getting into the same thing with Hillary and saying, “Hey, the first woman! We’re on a roll here!” I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton. She is a sociopath. I think Bill Clinton is a sociopath, too, and a sexual predator. I hope voters vote for her based on her credentials rather than say, “The first woman president!”

Your new movie “Road Hard” is in post-production now and comes seven years after your debut as a screenwriter with “The Hammer.” What took so long, and do you ever see yourself getting to Woody Allen’s level and pumping out a new script every year?

“The Hammer” was really satisfying because people responded to it and liked the movie. It got two thumbs up and got Sports Illustrated’s Best Sports Comedy of the Year. It all felt fantastic, but it took so long and cost so much money and it lost a bunch of money for me personally. I just couldn’t see going through that ordeal again. Plus, rattling the can and begging people for money to help you make a movie, I just couldn’t see myself going through that again. Then, this whole crowdsourcing, fund-anything idea came up and I was like, “Oh, we can do this ourselves.” That’s when the idea became attractive. Simultaneously, I had a really good idea for a movie. I’m not someone who wants to crank a movie out every year. I’m someone who wants to wait around for some inspiration—a good story or a good idea.

There are some critics of that fundraising model where celebrities like yourself and Spike Lee and Zach Braff are asking fans for money to make a movie. Do you think they have a good argument when they say you should pay for it yourself if you really want to make it?

Yeah, I think it’s a valid criticism. They only hole in the criticism is that no one is under any obligation to do this. They want to participate because they want to participate. I mean, I don’t want to give some artist a grant so he can do Piss Christ 2. If he wants to raise his own money or sell his own condo to do it, so be it. My feeling is that anything that is mandatory crosses the line. If you’re walking down the street and someone rattles the can and you want to put a quarter in it, that’s your business.

I’m sure the perks you’re offering help with their willingness to give, right?

Yeah, it’s sort of condescending to go, “Well, you can pay for it yourself,” when these people want to be a part of it. They want [the perks] they get with donating—from me coming to their hometown for a screening to getting a Blu-ray copy of the movie to getting a T-shirt. Honestly, I wouldn’t have made this movie if I had to make it the old way. Some guy gave me $10 grand or some large chunk of money, so I went to his house and did standup in his living room at his party. I didn’t reach out to him. He reached out to me. To me, this is basically a transaction. On the low end, you get a movie poster. On the high end, I do standup in your living room. It’s like prostitution. If somebody says, “I’ll give you oral sex for $100” and everyone is a consenting adult, then go do what you want to do. But if you’re forcing people or taking the money and not delivering on the services, I’ve got a problem with that.

Adam Carolla – comedian

July 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Interviews

“Let’s be clear in this article,” comedian Adam Carolla, 48, says. “I don’t give a shit. I sell out theaters. I have a business. I don’t need anybody. Twitter away all you want. I’ll be at the racetrack.” A few days prior to our interview, the host of the web’s most downloaded podcast, “The Adam Carolla Show,” was lambasted online for telling the New York Post that when it comes to comedy writers “dudes are funnier than chicks.” He spoke to me late last month for the release of his new book Not Taco Bell Material and his upcoming stand-up tour stop in San Antonio.

Are you getting any kickbacks from Taco Bell for using their name in the title of your new book?

You think I would, but I’m not. The good news about Taco Bell is that their food is essentially free anyway. If you go there and get a burrito and a taco, you’re not spending more than 85 cents. You want a steakhouse to give you free stuff, not Taco Bell.

Stephen Colbert the other day said the global economy could be fixed if more companies did what Taco Bell did and started adding Doritos to their products. Do you have a better plan?

I actually like that Dorito plan. I think it’s a marvelous idea. I’m definitely one of those people who want to see lower taxes and make it easier for businesses to operate. Businesses don’t want to do business on foreign soil, but if it’s cheaper they will. That’s how it works. That’s who we are by nature. You raise the taxes, people flee. You lower the taxes, people stay.

With the success of your podcast and the work you do in the TV and radio industries and as a bestselling writer, you really don’t have to ever do stand-up shows again if you don’t want to. What brings you back to the stage?

I like to go out and do it on my own terms. I don’t want to spend Thursday through Sunday in Poughkeepsie doing wine shows and sleeping in a Red Roof Inn. That’s miserable. But I have no problem coming into a town and doing one show at a big theater. That always feels good. Honestly, it’s like anything. It becomes work at a certain point. Going in and doing nine 90-minute shows over a weekend is taxing. Instead of doing seven shows with 300 people at a time, I’d rather do one show with 2,000 people. That’s a hell of a lot more fun and a lot easier. You don’t get burnt out by it.

Is it still as satisfying to make someone laugh as it was when you first started?

It should be more satisfying, but it’s not. But I don’t break it down that way. People pay money. They want to hear what I have to say. I want to make them laugh and if I don’t I’m disappointed. And if I do make them laugh, I’m supposed to. It’s like being a bus driver. If you do a great job, nobody says anything. If you screw up and take too many pain pills, then we have a problem.

You became Public Enemy No. 1 recently with your comments about female comedy writers. Were you surprised by the backlash?

I was thoroughly surprised. It definitely means I must’ve struck a cord. There’s no way this many people could be upset at something that’s completely false, right? I just talk and talk and people write it down. If I said something horrible to you right now and you wrote it down, I wouldn’t think about it. All of a sudden someone gets a hold of it and next thing you know I’m getting a bunch of crappy tweets. You can’t decide what goes viral. The internet decides that. And by the way, I wouldn’t pick something to go viral where I have to read 1,000 tweets a day about what a douchebag I was. What’s really funny is when someone says that I said something for publicity and to gin up some interest in my new book. Nothing can be farther from the truth. I’ve never tried to gin up controversy to try and sell a book. I don’t know if a whole bunch of negative comments about me on the internet sells books, honestly. My last book made The New York Times bestselling list and this book will make The New York Times bestselling list as well, with or without the negative commentary.

Of course, there were female comedians who took swipes at you and defended themselves online. Since we’re talking about female comedy writers, did you think any of those 1,000 tweets you read were especially funny?

Well, I did read one from Mo Collins, which I thought was a little bit of a low blow. She said something about seeing me doing standup and that the 20 minutes I was onstage sucked. I thought, “Where the hell did Mo Collins see me do standup?” And then I realized she saw me do standup when I was headlining a benefit for some horrible autoimmune disease or something. I had given up a Sunday night to perform for this charity I have no affiliation with. That’s how Mo Collins wants to take a stab at me? I was doing a benefit for sick kids. That, of course, didn’t get worked in to her comment. The only thing she said was that my standup sucked. You can think my standup sucks, but saying it sucks when I’m doing it for a benefit is a little below the belt.

Even though you think male comedy writers are funnier than female comedy writers overall, you’ve said yourself that there are some really great female comedy writers out there. What three female comedians would you ask to be on your writing staff?

I would definitely have to hire Tina Fey. Teresa Strasser who I used to work with doing morning radio is a great writer. Alison Rosen who I now work with doing podcasts is a great writer. Kathy Griffin, Sarah Silverman … the list goes on and on.

What three male comedians would you flatly deny?

I would flatly deny … on my writing crew … I would say … You know I’m probably going to get myself into more trouble if I mention a whole bunch of guys’ names. Let’s put it this way: I think Tina Fey is funnier than Tom Green and Pauly Shore. I’m not saying they’re not funny. I’m just saying there are plenty of women who I think are funnier than plenty of men.

Wow, Adam Carolla actually does have a filter after all.

Well, what happens is that I say this and Tom Green is probably supposed to do my podcast next week or something.

Well, I can appreciate people who speak candidly and don’t sugarcoat things just because they’re going to hurt someone’s feelings. Are you the type of person who can tell their famous friends that their movie sucked or do you let them off easy?

My comedian friends never make any movies for the most part. I’m not interested in hurting anyone’s feelings, contrary to popular belief. If I see someone’s movie and it sucked, I’ll pick out the three things I liked about it and focus on that. If you get a haircut, I’ll tell you that you look great even if you look like shit.

You admit that you are not part of the “in” crowd that gets to makes movies and say there are only a select few comedians who get that opportunity. Do you go out and support those mainstream comedies or would you rather just stay home and re-watch “The Hammer” (Carolla’s 2007 comedy) and “The Mole People” (1956 movie written by Carolla’s step-grandfather László Görög)?

(Laughs) Yeah, that’s all I do is stay home and watch “The Mole People” and “The Hammer.” No, I don’t go out very much. I stay home with my family. I don’t support or not support anything. I’m really into cars. That’s my passion. I’m into racing. I go out and race on the weekends. I have to prep these cars. That’s pretty much where my head is at nine times out of 10. I’m not really doing that much for good or for bad when it comes to art or movies or whatever. I don’t have that mindset at all. I don’t think of myself as an artist or an author or even a comedian. I just try to make money so I can go mess around with my cars.

You’re a self-described conservative. Why aren’t there more funny Republicans doing what you do?

Dennis Miller is pretty conservative and he’s pretty damn funny. Conservatives and the art gene don’t usually go hand in hand. It’s like saying why aren’t there more smokin’ hot female accountants? They just don’t go together. I got in trouble because I said men are funnier than women, but no one is going to say anything when I say Democrats are funnier than conservatives. Who’s going to give me crap for that?

Probably no one, but now you’re going to get tweets from frumpy female accountants.

Well, yeah, I guess I have that to look forward to.

What do you think about the news that Arsenio Hall is going to get another late night talk show in 2013?

I don’t believe there is any place for black people on TV. Ah, that’ll be my next internet sensation. I like Arsenio a lot. I know him very well. I got a chance to work with him. I’m happy for the guy. Honestly, is there room for a black man? Is there room for a Hispanic man? Is there room for a woman? Uh, if they’re good and they’re funny, yeah. When I did “Celebrity Apprentice” there were 16 contestants and at the end there was a black guy and a gay guy. Why? Because they were the best. Arsenio is good and there is room for good. If you’re a black guy and you suck, there’s no room for you. If you’re a woman and you suck, then there’s no room for you. Why is there so much room for Tina Fey and Oprah?