BH Interview: Adam Carolla - 'We Didn’t Hate Rich People Growing Up. We Respected Them'

Adam Carolla isn’t looking to change the culture at large with his popular podcast.

“My life is about building and working and wrenching on some cars,” says Carolla, host of the most downloaded podcast on iTunes. When a subject as ripe as Occupy Wall Street hits his radar, his gift for precision rants simply takes over.

Adam Carolla Rich Man Poor Man

“It wasn’t premeditated. People bring up topics, and I go on a jag,” Carolla tells Big Hollywood of a commentary conservatives roundly embraced. “There was some pent-up demand for this kind of rant.”

Now, Carolla is leveraging his unexpurgated views on the economic divide for his first eBook, “Rich Man, Poor Man.”

The electronic book, which hit no. 2 on iTunes yesterday on its first day of release, shows some commonalities between the one percent and the 99 percent. Carolla’s signature observations are packaged around witty illustrations by Michael Narren, who previously brought past Carolla rants to life via animation.

“It’s something I’ve always kicked around, not doing the eBook but the ‘Rich Man, Poor Man’ thing,” Carolla says, describing a "parlor game" of sorts he began via his Twitter account.

Need an example?



“A rich guy’s got ten cars, A poor guy’s got a lot of cars, too, but they’re all rusted out and out in front on cinder blocks,” he says. Or, the very rich AND the very poor often spend their entire day in pajamas.

Today’s headlines are filled with real – as well as ginned up – tensions between the rich and poor. Carolla, a father of two, blames it on a generation of parents giving the wrong message to children.

“We’ve been fed a steady diet of, ‘you’re special, and you can do anything you want.’” he says. Those who don’t get everything on their wish list now resent those who do.

“When I was a kid it was pretty easy math,” he says. “There’s rich people, and we’re not one of them but they’re out there. It was understood that if you'd like to have that [rich] guy’s house you have to bust your butt and get an education ... we didn’t hate rich people growing up, we respected them.”

The eBook arrives just as Carolla’s podcast is gearing up for a productive 2012. He announced on his first show of 2012 that his podcast studio is being expanded, more proof that getting booted off terrestrial radio didn't mean audiences weren't eager to hear what he describes as his nasally drone. He hopes to add new talent to the Ace Broadcasting Network’s roster, a lineup which already includes comedian Larry Miller and Carolla's father, Jim Carolla. The podcaster would love to have magician Penn Jillette do a weekly broadcast under the Ace imprimatur.

Carolla's burst of entrepreneurial pluck is something new for the former "Man Show" host.

“I wasn’t very good at getting things done in my life,” he says of his early years, long before his self-made podcast reinvented his career. “It became a little bit addicting. I realized the more you do, the more you can do. It’s weird, like what Richard Branson does, but on a much smaller scale.”

The scale may be modest, but it’s on his own terms now. And if his comedy peers blasted him for daring to critique OWS, he didn't hear about it.

“I don’t know or notice when I’m being ostracized by the Hollywood community,” he says.

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