When Adam Carolla came calling last week, Donald Trump merely was embarrassing himself for attention with a $5 million challenge that was as unnecessary as it inevitably would remain unfulfilled. The Donald had yet to to reveal the depths to his resentments that would come this Tuesday on Election Day.
Carolla knows a little bit about embarrassing himself, and also about doing so in front of Trump as a former participant on Celebrity Apprentice. Can The Adam shed any insight on The Donald? Here is what Carolla told The Comic’s Comic last week about Trump: “He’s a little P.T. Barnum, or maybe B.S. Barnum, or something like that. BFD Barnum. I’ll say this about the man. Two things. His kids love and respect him which is a pretty good yardstick to measure a guy,” he said, thinking about his own kids would measure him. “I’ll give thm that. I describe him as Don King, but with crazier hair and a lazier moral compass.”
How to describe Carolla, then?
Carolla has come a long way from Loveline and The Man Show. Downloaded more than five million times a month, his daily online audio offering since 2009, “The Adam Carolla Show,” long since surged past Ricky Gervais as the most-ever downloaded podcast. His most recent best-selling book, “Not Taco Bell Material,” is also the name of his current comedy tour — Carolla performs tonight in Washington, D.C., at the Warner Theatre, and Saturday at NYC’s Town Hall as part of the New York Comedy Festival. More tour stops and live podcasts for The Adam Carolla Show can be found here.
He also just started manufacturing his own alcohol, “Mangria,” which already has sold more than 10,000 bottles in its first six weeks of online-only sales.
But what to talk to Carolla about first. I asked his longtime comedy cohort, Jimmy Kimmel, what we should talk about that hasn’t garnered enough coverage in other interviews and mainstream media published about Carolla. Kimmel’s question? Roll the clip!
So, about that coffee can? Carolla explains:
“We were at my house playing poker one night with a bunch of guys. And then everybody left. And it was just me and Jimmy.
“We were left alone like an old gay couple to clean up, do the dishes. We were standing by the sink. Jimmy had his back to me, he was literally washing dishes. I felt a little gas coming on. It was always funny to let the fart go and waft it by flapping the arms.” But the person who ends up smelting the dealt fart usually has a defense. “In the car, he’d open the windows, blast the defroster. You know, super highbrow comedy. I realized there was a cylinder of coffee. Trader Joe’s, ground coffee…I just pushed it up against my ass as hard as I could, turned it a quarter turn, for an airlock.”
“If you tell someone smell my finger…they’ll get real sheepish. If you say smell this milk, they’ll frown. But if you say smell this coffee, they’ll put the can right up against the bridge of their nose…you’ll do a full face plant. He just buried his face into this coffee can…and then he pulled the can away from his face and he had the greatest look of all time!
“Kind of like the time I brushed my teeth with Vagisil, not knowing what it was. Like this is the worst toothpaste…Jimmy put shaving cream in my toothpaste once and I brushed for a week not knowing what it was….he pulled his face back…then it hit him like a freight train. It was the greatest moment of my life. There’s the birth of my twins. But they’re third or fourth place. Winning the Toyota Celebrity Grand Prix race, and robbing Brian McKnight of a homer in a celebrity softball game. Jimmy is first place, then the Toyota Grand Prix, then robbing McKnight, then the kids in fourth place.
“You can fart in front of people. It’s a lead a horse to water thing, but you can’t make them sniff. They hold their nose. They open a window. They light a match.”
So this proves it, right: Farting, still always funny?!
”Yes. Farting is always funny. If you don’t think so, it just means a) you don’t have sense a humor and b) we can’t hang.”
Kimmel also proved himself to be a victim of sorts when he came to New York City this fall, showing up just as Hurricane Sandy pounded the Tri-State area. He also was vacationing in the South Pacific a year and a half ago when the Japanese earthquake and tsunami forced evacuations where he was. Coincidence? Carolla thinks not. Is Kimmel a natural disaster magnet?
“Obviously. It’s science. It’s not a theory. He’s been trying to get back to Brooklyn to do a show for years. For 10 years. And it’s just you know, he didn’t have enough juice in the beginning. It costs too much for airfare and hotels and traveling…Now he’s big time, hosting the Emmys, moving to 11:35 p.m. and all that good stuff. A decade of good shows. He goes there on Saturday and when does the storm hit? It’s obviously an act of God. He’s not God’s favorite. Obviously Leno’s his favorite, because of his virtuous lifestyle. These other guys with their secret rooms and whatnot. This is force majeure. This is something for him to reconcile. Don’t go out on a catamaran with Jimmy Kimmel. That’s for sure.”
Of course, when Carolla goes on the road away from his garage to perform stand-up or record the podcast in front of a live studio audience, he can move a bit more nimbly if Mother Nature dictates.
“The podcast has flexibility,” Carolla said. “And God loves a podcast. You’ve seen the license plate, I’m sure. We’re more like Him or His son. I’m like, I have this joke on the back of my book that my agent and my editor didn’t get. I used to be a carpenter. Whenever I told someone I was a carpenter, they’d say, ‘You’re just like Jesus.’ Yeah, except I didn’t gouge the elderly!”
“The book editor didn’t get the joke.”
You’ve also started selling your own version of Sangria called Mangria. What’s the story there?
“Yeah, just online. It’s insane how many bottles of Mangria we sold. I was just checking the sales, we’d sold almost 500 bottles yesterday. Just online, just at buymangria.com. It’s really good. We don’t hve a distributor yet. It’s flying out of our bottler in Sonoma. It seems like a joke. A comedian who used to be on The Man Show, comes up with Mangria. But it’s really good.”
Did you learn that sort of entrepreneurship from Trump? “Absoldamnlutely. No, seriously. Mostly in show business, you make a bunch of money doing what you do, and then you lose a bunch of it when your friends want you to go into something like investing in a frozen yogurt place.” Not him. “I don’t have an ounce of business acumen….but about three and a half years ago, when I lost my radio job, I figured, jeez, youre going to have to become a businessman Because you can’t go from high-paying radio gig to high-paying radio gig.” So he’s gone into business for himself. “Amazon. T-shirts. Mangria. Before you know it, I’m my own little businessman. And it’s kind of fun.”
Sounds like you’ve already taken to heart what Patton Oswalt told everyone else in Montreal this July at Just For Laughs, about making your own path to success and bypassing the old gatekeepers. You were there in Montreal this summer, right?
“Someone was telling me that, and that’s the way it is these days. I don’t know if it’s that much different for people in music,” he said.
“I have a warehouse, I have an office, I have employees. I look at glasses that have Mangria etched into them that I design…I’m now trying to design the tap…There’s a lot of looking at T-shirts and saying make this smaller, make that larger. Meeting with clients and advertisers. That’s my life. I don’t know that Jim Carrey needs to do that yet. But yeah. If I make another movie, I’ll make it, pay for it, and sell it on my podcast.”
Or you could sell it on The O’Reilly Factor. When you were calling in to Kevin and Bean on the radio way back when, did you dream of one day being on FOX News as a contributor for Bill O’Reilly?
“For me, everyone’s like, ‘Why did you decide?’ I don’t decide. Someone said, ‘Would you like to do this?’ or they’d like you to do this. My first question is where is it? Because if it’s too far from Santa Monica, it’s too far.”
“But It’s a compliment…I like Bill, and Bill knows what he’s doing. People on the left, they like O’Reilly, or if they don’t like him, they understand what he’s doing. And it’s a really popular show. I guess it’s like some weird fetish porn. Because guys come up to me and whisper, ‘I like you on O’Reilly. In Hollywood, it’s like the candyman. If they hear you, you’ll get punished.”