Although Adam Carolla’s parents rarely cracked jokes, the celebrated comedian isn’t making the same mistake with his own children. “I never experienced my parents being silly, and I think the best thing you can do for a kid is to say to him or her once a week, ‘Isn’t this awesome? Aren’t we having a great time? And, my God, I’m so happy you are here,’” shares the father of three. “We have fun, we dance, and we are very silly.”
Such statements can make Carolla seem like the prototypical father figure, but that doesn’t mean the man can’t crack a few seriously blue jokes. As former co-host and creator of numerous television and radio programs, as well as an author, actor—and host of The Adam Carolla Podcast, the most downloaded podcast ever, according to the Guinness Book of World Records—Carolla has a keen eye for the business of being funny.
However, the multitalented performer has not always been a ruler of the comedic landscape. He first worked as a carpenter, builder, and boxing trainer before trading in his gloves for a microphone during his early thirties. “I learned what it was like to work hard,” says Carolla. “I learned what it was like to solve physical problems, so my thinking is much more linear and mechanical than it is scholastic or emotional. I also have a good, blue-collar work ethic.”
This ethic has served the comedian in life as well as in business. In November, he signed a five-year contract with industry leader Podcast One, which will continue to broadcast Carolla’s bawdy—but eminently charming—online programming. “I have been working without a net for close to seven years, literally not knowing what was around the corner, and Podcast One basically just gave me a radio job,” he says.
While rumors have been swirling lately as to Carolla’s expansion into Sirius XM—the domain of radio behemoth Howard Stern—he insists such speculation is largely unfounded. “I am flattered,” admits Carolla. “But I have not been approached by anyone or discussed a thing as it pertains to Howard Stern.”
In fact, the comedian is far more interested in meeting with fans than with radio bigwigs. “Tonight, I have to go to what seems like my 2000th backers’ party for the crowdfunded Road Hard movie, and there is a part of me that just wants to stay home,” says Carolla of the new film he both directed and starred in, which details the lives of aging standup comedians. “But it’s just some drinks and food with fans, and I never had any fans. I know what it’s like to work, and so I have to remind myself that this should not really fall under the heading of work: being around a bunch of people that are really excited to see you and want to take pictures with you.”
Carolla onstage during a recent standup performance
It is likely this humble disposition that caused Carolla to eschew a life in front of the camera for one behind a microphone. Although he was co-creator and co-host of the long-running Comedy Central program The Man Show, as well as co-host of the hugely popular MTV program Loveline, Carolla insists his true passion exists offscreen. “I never have enjoyed doing TV,” he admits. “I want a microphone. It doesn’t mean I won’t do TV or can’t do it. I just don’t enjoy it; I enjoy radio.”
This passion runs so deep that even after the 2009 cancellation of his morning radio program, The Adam Carolla Show, the comedian struck out on his own with The Adam Carolla Podcast. By the third episode, it was the number-one podcast on iTunes in both the US and in Canada and, by 2011, it had become the most downloaded podcast in history.
Since, Carolla has appeared on both The Celebrity Apprentice and Dancing with the Stars, not to mention touring as a standup comedian while still producing several podcasts a week. He has also written five books and directed his own documentary, Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman.
Those attending Carolla’s one-man show at the Paramount Hudson Valley in Peekskill on January 16 can expect the same fearless personality, candid assessments, and sidesplitting jokes that have brought him so much fame. “It’ll be me,” says Carolla of his upcoming performance. “It’s a funny act. It will be stories with jokes and a little motivation and a little inspiration, as well. Generally, it’s going to be Adam Carolla doing Adam Carolla and, whatever it is, it’ll be true.”
Carolla says he especially values podcasts and radio programs for the freedom they offer, in terms of not only his dialogue but also his sartorial options. “I’m wearing a sweat suit right now where the pants don’t match the jacket. If you want to talk about casual, this is ‘homeless casual,’ and I’m at work,” he jokes. “I just want to go into my studio, sit behind a microphone and pontificate.”