Raising Cain

Expert provocateur Adam Carolla rants his way to glory


“Sirius calls me twice a year,” says Adam Carolla on the phone from his Los Angeles home, “and says, ‘Hey man, you interested in doing some satellite radio and thumbing your nose at the man and doing your own thing?’ I go, ‘Yeah, how much?’ They go, ‘Oh, we don’t have any money.’ I go, ‘All right, why don’t you call me when you do.'”

To drive the point home, Carolla proceeds in his signature way: “Don’t open the phone book and call roofers and go, ‘Hey man, do you have an inherent interest in putting a roof on my house?’ The answer is, ‘No, but if you give me money, I’ll come to your house and put a roof on it. I’m a roofer, it’s my business. I have a fundamental interest in putting a roof over my family and paying the fucking bills.'”

As a radio host (Loveline), TV host (The Man Show), producer (Crank Yankers), film actor (The Hammer) and even a contestant on Dancing with the Stars, Adam Carolla is a media renaissance man. But throughout his storied entertainment career—and surely from his days as a construction worker and boxing instructor—he could best be described as a talker. The nasally humorist, who brings his multimedia standup comedy show to Napa’s Uptown Theatre this Friday, rants on all annoying happenings both mundane and grandiose, to the delight and sometimes chagrin of his audience. His specialty recently spread to a highly successful podcast and a bestselling book, titled In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks . . . And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy.

Carolla loves talking so much that our scheduled 10-minute chat exceeds 20 minutes, prompting me to end it—strange for a celebrity interview. But don’t get it twisted. Mr. Verbose is always working.

After Howard Stern left terrestrial radio in 2006, Carolla was touted as Stern’s morning-radio successor and enjoyed a successful syndication before cutbacks led to the show’s end in 2009. Although his free podcast is the most downloaded daily broadband show, with over 5 million monthly downloads and over 150,000 daily listeners, the lack of censorship is not as important to Carolla as it was to Stern. “It’s not because I have pride,” he says of podcasting rather than accepting offers from radio stations like Live 105 and the like, “and it’s not because I’m a dick, but I make more money doing the podcast, and it’s a better gig for me.”

Carolla is refreshingly candid when asked about hypothetically receiving an exorbitant offer for work, say, tomorrow. “Tomorrow? How about later today? Absolutely!” says the 46-year-old father of two. “If someone wanted to step up in some crazy way and back up the Brinks truck . . . well, I’m not sure why they need to back it up. I feel like they could drive it up my driveway and I could just walk around to the back.”

Both onstage and online, some of Carolla’s most engaging content is his singular political opining which sometimes conflicts with the increasingly dogmatic landscape in America today. Case in point: after a reasonable dissertation on the liabilities of illegal immigration, an enthusiastic listener called to agree—before suggesting firebombing all migrant tunnels.

“I guess there’s always the danger of that, but I don’t affiliate myself with one party or the next,” Carolla says. “I love the Bay Area, but the thing about many of the people in your progressive community is they’re assholes.”

He explains: “I want to keep abortion legal, every girl over 15 to have access to birth control, everyone to have the morning-after pill on their nightstand, and I think if you’re a homeowner and pay your taxes and you want to grow a fucking pot plant in your backyard, that should be your goddamned business, and I don’t like assault rifles being sold to felons, and I want people to have to register their guns, and . . . I’ve got a ton of left-wing leanings. But as soon as I say, ‘Beef up the border,’ someone goes, ‘Hey, you fucking racist Charlton Heston! Why don’t you go hang out with your gun buddies down at the Klan rally?'”

Subsequently, Carolla’s book masterfully skewers both sides of the aisle, making him a new kind of everyman driven more by common sense and life experience than any political party platform or economic class. His views make so much sense that it’s hard to argue with any of it. The right wing (whom he calls “knuckle draggers” for their views on gay marriage and other social issues) gets it just as bad from the avowed atheist comedian in hilarious chapters like “God, Religious Tolerance, and Other Shit That Doesn’t Exist.”

Next up for Carolla is another book due to the success of In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks, which is currently the No. 1 selling audiobook on iTunes. (“I have an ‘interest’ in doing the next book because somebody said, ‘Here’s a nice chunk of change, would you please write a follow-up to the book you just wrote.'”) With his current tour, his ongoing podcasts and similar opportunities, Carolla seems closer than ever to what he calls his “fuck-you money,” an amount he says enables ultimate occupational freedom.

“Sadly, I squandered most of my fuck-you money on exotic automobiles,” he tells me. “But here’s the good news: If I had my fuck-you money, we wouldn’t be talking right now, right? I’d be like, ‘Fuck you, I’m sleeping in.'”

Adam Carolla appears on Friday, Feb. 4, at the Uptown Theatre. 1350 Third St., Napa. 8pm. $39. 707.259.0123. www.adamcarolla.com.