Upon entering the studio I didn't hear any formal greetings between Adam and his staff, instead Adam began talking to the room (and no one in particular) about the poor design of his key chain car alarm. It seemed to be an ongoing discussion, and like most of his rants, it was not only funny but it was also so simple and logical that I wondered why I hadn't thought of it myself. What I've always heard about Adam Carolla is that he is exactly the same guy off-air as on. That proved it.
Part of Adam's appeal is that when he gets going on a tirade he seems to make himself angrier and angrier and works himself up the more he goes. And he can get just as angry about war in the Middle East as he can about the inefficiency of ketchup packets. But there's a method to his madness. Behind every rant there is a logic that is so concise that it makes you feel like you've always felt the same way even when you hadn't…or didn’t know how to say it.
Adam has often said that what he loves about radio is it enables you to build a relationship between host and audience in a way that television won’t allow. Podcasting has taken that relationship to a new level. It all began when CBS-owned KLSX decided to change formats in 2009 in favor of a top-40 format. This effectively rendered Adam unemployed. His producer and childhood friend Donny Misraje (‘The Weez’) suggested they begin podcasting as a way to keep the connection with the audience while they plot their next move, and it has worked beyond their wildest expectations. By some estimates, his podcast is being downloaded more than 200,000 times a day, a feat that has landed the former host of The Man Show and Loveline a Guinness World Record for most downloaded podcast ever.
As a fellow podcaster (www.shoddyradio.com), my co-host Danny Savage and I were excited when Kush Magazine gave us the opportunity to sit down with one of our heroes and a pioneer in this emerging medium. We met with Adam in “The Pirate Ship” (his pet name for his studio) to chat about pot, parenting, and podcasting. Here’s how it went:
Danny: You spent a lot of time talking to teenagers on Loveline. Do you think much about what it’s going to be like when your twins become teenagers?
Adam: They're going to be a disaster in high school anyway you slice it. I mean you've got your choice: your son's going to do some donuts in the parking lot of the supermarket when its closed, your daughter's going to sneak out and hook up with her boyfriend in the 11th grade, then you have the full-blown junkie, “lets light a hobo on fire!” Or “lets get pregnant and then light a hobo on fire!” So, you know, there's shades and grades - you know your kid's going to try pot, he’s going to try a beer, but is the kid going to be a full blown drug addict? Is the kid going to drop out of 10th grade and follow Phish around the country? So what you try to do at this point is you just try to work with them as much as you can so they're just sort of minor fuck-ups in high school.
Danny: So, as far as your kids trying pot and beer…do you feel it’s inevitable and would you be against it?
Adam: No, I don't have anything against them trying pot, or trying chili fries...
Danny: That's the order it will go in too.
Adam: (Laughs) Yeah, usually it's never the other way. "Now lets get stoned. I'm full." I mean obviously it would be great if they didn't pick it up and run with it, like ‘hey man I'm going to start a reggae band, you know, like that's my new life.’ But I also don't want my kids to be scared of things. Fuckin’ beer buzz is awesome, getting high is fun, and part of being an adult and making the transition into adult life is being able to regulate and monitor yourself.
Danny: Well we both grew up during the DARE to keep kids off drugs generation. I was scared of pot growing up and if I even smelled pot I got this uneasy feeling in my stomach. It took me a long time to get over it.
Adam: I had the same thing with snuff porn but eventually you evolve.
Chris & Danny: (Laughing)
Danny: But yeah, sort of like if you make something a taboo you give it more power than it deserves by taking it all away.
Adam: You give it a power by creating almost mysticism about it and then…when the people eventually do imbibe and realize they didn't die or that there is a difference between pot and PCP, then all of a sudden they look at the people that told them like they're all liars. That's why the message should be ‘no, pot’s not going to kill you and no it’s not going to make you go insane. Sure there's a place for it but, no, you don't want to get totally baked and get behind the wheel of a school bus. And if you wake and bake every morning you're probably not going to climb that corporate ladder as quickly as you would have if you didn't.
Chris: Assuming they're over 18, would you be opposed to getting high with your kids at some point?
Adam: I would hope that I have the kind of relationship with my kids where we don't feel like we need to break through to the other side, so to speak. I would kind of hope that me and my kids have a dialogue and that we're cool and that they look at me as their dad but also as a human being that has a little bit more knowledge than they do. But we don't have to get to a place where we have to alter ourselves to get to some next level in our relationship. It’s sort of like “I need to rub some of this Ben-Gay on my cock so I can enjoy sex.” I don't need you to take the Altoid and a mouth full of 7-Up, a blow-job will do.
Danny: We’ve been fans of yours for a long time but we've never heard about the first time you got high.
Adam: Well it’s hard to tell because pot was so shitty back then (but) my mom had a pot plant in her backyard, and (she) was sort of a hippie and kind of depressed and hung out with other hippie whatever folks. And she kind of self medicated. But the pot was so weak back then there was a lot of shake and leaves and stuff. But, uh, I think she gave me a hit off her joint once when I was like 9 years old or 10 years old or something.
Danny: Wow, really?
Adam: Yeah, well, she wasn't a great parent.
Chris & Danny: (Laughing)
Danny: You've talked openly before about marijuana stories involving Jimmy Kimmel. Do you have any other good celebrity marijuana stories?
Adam: Uh…if you go to one of Sarah Silverman's birthday parties you will eat a brownie that has more than fudge in it and you will feel differently than you felt before you ate the brownie. And there will be recognizable people around. I mean I never got high with a senator or anything.
Chris: I’m only inclined to believe you because if you did, it’d be all over the internet by now. But while we’re not on the topic…the internet…this is the new element now, the new medium.
Adam: It’s how the future works. Every time technology moves forward - before it moves forward you think, oh this would be mind-numbing and then when it does, it becomes passe very quickly. So you were over the cell phone ten minutes after you got your first cell phone, it just became “where’s my phone.” And now all of a sudden "hey man, what the fuck, no canyon reception? It's bullshit man!” So, you know the internet and all that comes with it, our kids will grow up with it like other kids grew up with indoor plumbing 150 years ago versus shitting in a chamber pot.
Chris: Well, if the internet was around when I was 13 years old, every girl at school would have seen my dick.
Adam: As opposed to just the faculty?
Danny: While we’re on the topic, you seem to have benefited from the internet and the podcast and its place in the evolution of technology. Can you talk a bit about how it’s affected your approach and the trajectory of your career?
Adam: Well, the podcast has enabled me to do what I want to do when I want to do it. I just turned down a multi-year, multi-million dollar terrestrial radio gig.
Adam: Thank you. Screw the man! For me I just said I don't want to turn around the pirate ship and head back to port, number one. And number two, you get to do this on your own terms but you also get to do your own schedule. [The] FCC the man all that's great to avoid, but to me I love the accordion nature of it the way you can do a million different things and keep up with the podcast.
Danny: I'll tell you why I think podcast’s are so much better then the radio is you can listen to them on your schedule. You know, I work a regular job and I listen to 8 hours of podcast’s a day. You can’t do that with radio. I listen to what I want instead of shitty radio. The accordion goes both ways.
Adam: Sure. Is he saying he's bi-sexual? I don't get the accordion reference.
Well, we were thrilled to hear that the pirate ship will continue to sail. We look forward to continuing to have our ears raped and pillaged with hilarity. And check out The Adam Carolla Show at AdamCarolla.com
If you enjoyed this interview you can download the full audio recording for free at shoddyradio.com
Chris and Danny, along with fellow comic Ben Shields, host Shoddy Radio, a weekly podcast that has been listed by iTunes as a New & Noteworthy Podcast and has been featured on Comedy Deathray Radio. Shoddy Radio has been called the greatest achievement in comedy since 'Mama's Family.' Check 'em out at ShoddyRadio.com
Interview by Danny Savage & Chris Clements