Q&A: Adam Carolla Says He'll Take Conan O'Brien's 'Raw Deal'

Adam Carolla has made a career of riffing on everything from pressing social issues to campus blow job etiquette with just the right mix of street smarts, snark and locker room charm. A generation of young men (and probably even some women) learned about sex, partying and having a blast pissing people off from Loveline (Carolla co-hosted) the Man Show (Carolla co-hosted/created) and Crank Yankers (co-produced/voiced). For the past year, he has hosted the Adam Carolla Podcast, which will be recorded live tonight at Improv Comedy Club in Irvine. He performs at 8 and 10 p.m. This evening's featured guests are Aisha Tyler, Rep. Richard Martin, Whitney Cummings, Mark McGrath and Doug Benson. Click for ticket info.

When the 45-year-old funny man called at 8 a.m. from his LA home Tuesday he displayed the same every man appeal and wit that has made him a true American hero--at least among those of us who love nothing more than to spend Sunday afternoons with our pals watching football, drinking beer and discussing everything from politics to the difficult, often dangerous removal of taint hair.

OC Weekly (Wade Tatangelo): You have been doing the podcast now for nearly a year. Were you nervous about making the leap into new media?

Adam Carolla: I didn't really know what podcasts were and wasn't sure how people access them--or why. But when they presented me with all the criteria, and I realized I could do it in my sweatpants whenever I wanted to do it, without anyone governing it or bosses, and it was just this way to continue communicating with people, I said "OK." You don't know this about me, Wade, but I've done so much manual labor I've never gotten over the part where I get paid to talk. I went from school where it was "be quiet and focus" to construction jobs where it was "be quiet and get back to work" to "talk, you're working." It's weird. The first 30 years of my life I was told to get quiet and now someone's going to pay me to talk? I still can't get over it. 

You have always struck me as the antithesis of the showbiz type. Do you have trouble fitting in with the Hollywood crowd?

There's a lot of douchebags in this town and a lot of super nice guys. We're talking super, friendly, super nice, way-over-the-top nice. Did you see Jason Reitman on the Golden Globes? Nicest guy. His dad? Not so much. Henry Winkler and John Popper from Blues Traveler, Jimmy [Kimmel]. There are a bunch of really nice guys. But the problem, in general, with showbiz and showbiz folk is the reason they got in to it. It's that component of "look at me," "listen to me," "guess who just arrived." Think about it, it's all ego driven. You're dealing with narcissists ... If I see Terri Hatcher interviewed from the red carpet one more time I'm going to throw a brick at my TV. Why aren't you at home? It's not even the premiere of Desperate Housewives. It's someone else's premiere!

Your "live podcast" tonight at the Improve in Irvine, how did that come about? How does it work?

I approached it the same way I initially approached the podcast. Somebody said I should do this podcast where I sit around and talk and then they'll put it on the Internet. Why would anyone listen? About two months ago, I got an offer from the Irvine Improv to do the podcast live. How does that work? I just go out on a Wednesday night, a slow night and we'll do and [8 p.m.] show and see if people show up. At 90 minutes it's a little longer than our normal podcast but not much. They said do your thing for 15 to 20 minutes and then bring out guests and just make it funny. I thought it sounded intriguing. I don't know why people would go to a comedy club for a podcast but then the first show sold out. Really? Why? I don't know but as long as we're making the schlep to Irvine let's do a second show at 10 p.m.  

Your buddy Jimmy Kimmel really stuck it to Jay Leno the other night during the "Ten at Ten" segment.

Where do you stand on the Leno vs. Conan O'Brien showdown?

My feeling is I don't give a shit at all. It's just a bunch of rich white guys and someone is being offered 40 million dollars. If that's a raw deal, back that raw deal truck up to the Carolla house. I can see the argument for Conan and Jay and it's probably not as black and white as it appears. Jay has the argument that he was No.1 [before he was moved to 10 p.m.] while Conan was promised the 11:30 slot and not given a shot to prove himself. I understand why Conan is upset. He moved out here with all his people and he's here worried about his staff losing their jobs, all these people from New York. But like I told my wife, if he's so worried about his staff he can take that 40 million dollar [contract] settlement and whack it up among them. 

I heard you might be returning to Loveline. Any truth to that?

I'm going to sit in as guest tonight but as far as going back and hosting that's the first I heard of it. Radio has no money anymore. There are no jobs, no radio jobs. No one has spoke to me about doing any terretsial radio. So, the answer is absolutely no. But I [was] a guest [Tuesday].

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