BH Interview: Adam Carolla Leaves Hollywood Behind, Won't Turn Podcast into 'Crossfire'
Adam Carolla says he's been through the “Hollywood washing machine,” and he's glad not to deal with any more spin cycles.
“I’m tired of leaving it up to the judges. You can get a lot of bad hometown calls,” the podcast king tells Big Hollywood about his new career as a podcast pioneer working under the Carolla Digital banner. “I wanna train hard and go for the knockout.”
“I don't relish the, 'I get to be the boss,' part. I relish the, 'I don't have a boss' part,” Carolla continues. Success is now entirely up to him, and so is failure. “Either way, I'll just go find a mirror and find out who to blame or who to blow. I like that. It feels right.”
So far, the judges have him winning on points. Last week, Carolla's signature podcast was named by iTunes as the top podcast of 2012, and the new year promises more keenly observed yapping alongside sidekicks Alison Rosen and "Bald" Bryan Bishop. He'll also crack wise with former “Loveline” partner Dr. Drew Pinsky and ex-heavyweight champ Mike Tyson on new podcasts in 2013.
Carolla routinely jokes that he's lazy by default, but the realities of show business simply won't let the ex boxer drop his guard. He talks as much as anyone in the media on everything from home repairs to vintage car racing, not to mention his crusade against restaurants blaring banal top 40 songs so loud you can't hear what the server is saying.
There's a method to his arduous pace. He knows he's only three podcasts away from failure.
“The first thing you have to do is do it and never stop doing it,” he says. “You have to treat every show like it's important. People can be fans for 10 years … but all you need to do is hear three bad ones in row, and you’re probably out.”
The former "Man Show" host is currently flexing his self-made brand with a line of alcohol dubbed, what else, Mangria. It's part of his entrepreneurial zeal, one that finds him hitting the stand-up trail as well as writing best-selling books. It's the podcast that truly sets Carolla apart, and he says he's managed to turn it into a money-making venture where so many fellow podcasters simply speak without a monetization safety net. Commercial spots and Amazon.com affiliate advertising do more than pay the bills, he says.
It helps to have 2 million downloads a week, numbers which have sponsors eager to pony up for Carolla's live reads of their product pitches.
“The Adam Carolla Show” has embraced a right-of-center ethos in recent months, with Carolla blasting both Occupy Wall Street and an administration obsessed with punishing the rich. Carolla extended his conservative outreach last year with a new, once a week appearance on Fox News' “The O'Reilly Factor.” Just don't expect him to pull any O'Reilly style interviews on his podcast when famously liberal stars like Alec Baldwin call in.
“[Alec Baldwin and I] have nothing in common politically. We can sit and talk about that, or we can talk about what we do have in common. We're smart, and we like to laugh,” he says. “I'm not saying it might not be more compelling to call Alec Baldwin out [on the issues] and be prepared to be called out by Alec, but he won't be as likely to call in spontaneously next time.
He considers his podcast an oasis from our increasingly fractured society.
“I don't think there needs to be the vitriol that there is,” he says.
Carolla's independent podcast empire offers an indirect slap to the Hollywood establishment. Meanwhile, Carolla routinely criticizes his entertainment peers, like the hypocrisy behind stars begging for tax hikes while scurrying up north to shoot movies in tax break-friendly climes. Even longtime pal Jimmy Kimmel cautions him against “talking so much shit about everybody all the time.”
Carolla isn't worried should he wish to return to the Hollywood grinder. He has faith in the industry's bottom line.
“Hollywood likes money first and foremost,” he says. “Whatever I say, whatever anyone says … if they think I'm a moneymaker I'm in.”