Comedian and car lover Adam Carolla brings his sarcastic shtick to Carmel’s Sunset Center.
Thursday, August 16, 2012
Adam “Ace” Carolla is a funny man who comes from a family that didn’t seem like it would produce a funny person.
“There was nothing going on around the house,” he says in his laconic, bemused monotone from his home in L.A. “A lot of depressed people, no AC. Me and my family weren’t a good fit because I like cars and sports and they like hanging out and reading. It was a bad marriage.”
He writes about his family – and the houses he’s called home over the years – in his new book Not Taco Bell Material, so named because when he applied for a job there as a teenager, they rejected him. He’ll likely expound on both the book and his family at his stand-up gig at Sunset Center this Friday.
He writes in the book’s introduction that the stories are real; it’s his skewed perspective and sarcasm that turns what can read as depressing accounts of being raised by laissez-faire hippy parents in 1970s North Hollywood into giggly stuff.
“The perfect storm of poor meets atheist – with an unhealthy dose of ‘What’s in it for me?’ – formed the holy trinity of pathetic Carolla Christmases,” he writes.
He moves on to evaluate less-than – perfect parenting.
“Most of the kids I knew, their parents looked at them as a necessary evil,” Carolla says. “They would come in the kitchen and mom would say ‘What is it now?’ When everyone turned 18, time to get a job and go. The parents thought ‘Thank God. That thing that lived in my house and ate my food and took my money is gone.’”
When Carolla left at 18, he entered community college before dropping out and working as a carpet cleaner, construction worker and boxing instructor. Comedy was way off the radar.
“Nobody ever said, ‘Hey, you can do that for a living,’” he says. “I grew up around a lot of people who were like ‘Get back to work,’ or ‘Shut up, there’s people trying to study.’ Where I was from, you go to high school, finish, try to get job. Maybe at the supermarket. Maybe that baggers union, make $10.50 an hour, Christmas day, make $22 an hour. It was not until I met Jimmy Kimmel that it was an actual plan.”
That plan began at age 30, after improv comedy training, when he finagled his way onto radio show Kevin and Bean on KROQ-FM via an up-and-coming Jimmy Kimmel. After that came Loveline with Dr. Drew, and that did it. The hit show ran for a decade and spun off into an MTV show, speaking tours and a book. He kept it going in myriad directions but all from that same source of his patented throwback cranky comedy.
After Loveline came Comedy Central’s The Man Show with Kimmel and the puppet show Crank Yankers, and a brief stint with a late night talk show. There was his own radio show, game shows, a writing gig on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, voice acting (as Death on Family Guy), a home remodeling show on TLC, Celebrity Apprentice, another book in 2010, even an appearance on Dancing With the Stars. Seems there was no work or guest spot he wouldn’t do.
This weekend he’s partnering with the Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion, having won one of those races last year in a 1971 Datsun 510. He’s a big fan of motorsports and hosts The Car Show on the Speed Channel and a Carcast weekly podcast.
“I’ve come up 10 years in a row… to Pebble Beach, Concours, [Laguna Seca] racetrack, the whole nine yards,” he says. “For me the number one thing on my calendar is racing.”
He’s found big success on his own terms in his podcast The Adam Carolla Show, the most downloaded podcast of all time. There, he continues to mine his ranty brand of stream-of-consciousness comedy. But when he appears in Carmel, don’t get him going on politics unless you’re tickled by a puzzling, angry-conservative racial stereotyping, homophobia and misogyny, like this classic rant:
“Ladies, we can do almost everything better than you. All the top chefs in the world are dudes because those are dudes dumb enough to decide to want to cook. But when we decide to cook, we outcook your ass. There’s just a certain amount of shit we’re bored with because we have to fucking make money. And changing diapers and making dinner falls into that heading. So you do that shit, we’ll make the money, and we can get on to the fucking grave… [Men are] too busy winning wars and building bridges.”
Maybe the anger issues can be traced back to his family.
“What I attempt to do with my kids is convey that I like them and I like them being around,” he says. “I’m not put off by the fact that they’re on this planet. They’re not a pain in the ass. My parents did not effectively convey that.”
ADAM CAROLLA performs 8pm Friday, Aug. 17, at Sunset Center, San Carlos between Eighth and Ninth, Carmel. $75.50/ticket; $150/Carolla Package with two-day ticket to Rolex Monterey Motorsports Reunion. 620-2048, www.sunsetcenter.org