Usually when a former OC Weekling makes news, it involves an abrupt mass exit out the building or an unscheduled solo guest spot on To Catch a Predator With Chris Hansen. That's not the case with former staff writer Alison Rosen, who began working for the Weekly in the late 1990s before leaving Orange County for New York City a few years later. Now she's back in Southern California as the “news girl” for comedian Adam Carolla's podcasts.
Once Rosen pretended to remember who I was, she agreed to answer my five questions. Which reminds me: I should have asked her about the rumor The Adam Carolla Podcast is taking over the Bubba the Love Sponge spot on Howard Stern's Sirius XM channel Howard 101. No wonder I lost the news-girl gig to her.
OC Weekly (Matt Coker): I remember you either coined “Hello, Cleveland” as the name of the Weekly's live music reviews column or laughed really hard when Steve Lowery did. Can you go over for newer readers when you were here, some stories you covered, and how you wised up and got the hell outta town?
ALISON ROSEN: I wish I'd come up with Hello, Cleveland. I did come up with the name of the compilation CD we put out, Nothing But Treble, but even I didn't think it was great. (Like a lot of staffers, I preferred the rejected Return of Uranus.) Anyway, I began writing for the Weekly in '98 or '99, and I worked on staff from 2000 to 2002, and then I moved to New York but continued occasionally writing pieces for a few years after that. I'm probably best known for writing about about my embarrassing affection for the cheesy art of Thomas Kinkade. I also wrote about attending a Tony Robbins seminar, going to the Playboy mansion, hanging out in Las Vegas with Lit, a college professor who was accused of hooking up with a high-school student, running out of toilet paper at Koo's, the Pocket Clowns and trying but failing to find anyone to help me duplicate a penis, among many other stories. At one point, I tried to get some co-workers to take a tap-dancing class with me since the office was next door to a dance studio. No one was really into it, and Anthony Pignataro insisted on referring to it as “the headache dance” so I decided to move to New York.
Can you also let our readers know what you did in NYC, and what brought you back to SoCal permanently?
In NYC, I wrote for a bunch of magazines and weeklies before joining the staff of Time Out New York, and then the NY Post as a writer and editor. While at Time Out New York, I began doing a weekly segment on NBC New York in which I'd talk about events going on in the city. That led to more appearances on other shows, and before long, the TV stuff took on a life of its own. I don't want to brag, but I've been on Montel. In all seriousness, I do want to brag. Did I mention my McSweeney's column?
Meanwhile, I was also doing a lot of stuff online and experimenting with hosting different video shows.
I moved back in late October to be closer to a family member who was sick, but honestly, I'd been thinking about coming back for awhile–that was just the precipitating factor.
Adam Carolla has often said he was a shitty reader. I'd imagine after handing him your résumé, you had to sound out the big words, such as PREE-VEE-US EX-PEER-EEE-ANTS. Explain the challenges of this, or just what the hiring process was like in general.
Ha! I love the idea that a résumé was involved or that Adam himself would have sounded anything out. I auditioned for the show (by filling in as the news girl) in November. At that time, they were auditioning a lot of people. They narrowed it down to four finalists, and we each filled in for a week. My extended tryout was the first week in January, and they called me that weekend and offered me the gig, and I started the following Monday. It was one of the quickest, least bullshit-strewn auditioning experiences I've had in this business. Actually, I'd say it was completely free of bullshit.
What do you daydream about when Adam is talking with one of his guests about the NFL or replacing an old Chevy transmission?
Why does everyone assume my life's passions don't include sports or cars just because I'm not into sports or cars? Do I not seem like an avid sportsfan? Do I lack what it takes to be an automotive enthusiast? I resent my credentials as a hobbyist being called into question. But, really, now that we're live streaming the video of each show on Ustream, I have to curtail the daydreaming lest I begin drooling and it gets caught on camera.
Since you went from Orange County to New York and now back again, how many people in OC have you told you really miss the seasons, the pizza here sucks, and there is nothing to do after 11 p.m.?
Actually, I do miss the terrible weather. I like the cold. And yet I'm always cold. Fascinated yet? On my way out of New York, I was thinking I should make a New York Bucket List with all the things I wanted to do but never did on it. Mostly, it was just various New York foods I never tried while I was there. I never ate a street hot dog. Never ate New York pizza. I don't know what the hell I was doing all those years. Anyway, I showed my sister the list, which she was expecting would have stuff like “Tour the Statue of Liberty” and “Take the Staten Island Ferry,” and she said, “Exactly how much weight do you want to gain before you leave New York?” So I ate the pencil instead. (It was pretty good. Standard No . 2. The eraser was a little chewy.)
As for the lack of nightlife, I was truly living a pretty boring life by the end of my decade there, so I don't mind leaving that behind. The real thing I miss is being able to get around without a car. Also the time zone. EST is a better time zone because you can send someone on the West Coast an e-mail at 11 a.m. your time, which is 8 a.m. their time, and you look like a crazily efficient go-getter while making them feel like a lazy asshole. I think people move to New York for this alone.
BONUS QUESTION: Are you on Twitter?
Hell yes, I am! http://twitter.com/alisonrosen