Adam Carolla and Dr. Drew Pinsky proved Saturday night that the confused teens who grew up listening to Loveline all those years ago haven't forgotten their wisecracking mentors.
The former radio partners performed the first in a series of live shows at Denver's Paramount Theater, mixing their Mutt and Jeff banter with an eye toward modern political realities. The pair, standing before chairs they never used, drew cheers for promoting personal responsibility, attacking California and, of course, reminding the crowd of their signature bickering.
The conversation began with Carolla denouncing his emotionally inert father, but right away the duo's firmly established personas set the tone.
"Have you been on stage before? Act like it," Carolla barked at Dr. Pinsky, his good-natured foil.
The pair recalled classic Loveline memories, Dr. Pinsky's days in medical school and bumbling airport drivers. The material was familiar to long-time Carolla fans, but the podcaster managed to infuse even shopworn stories with fresh observations.
Carolla and Dr. Pinsky mocked the sequester hysteria peddled from the Obama White House, with Carolla reminding the audience sequester-style government is already firmly in place in their state.
"We don't have a usable school system in L.A. [now]," Carolla said. "The good news is, we don't pay any taxes, so it's a push."
The subjects may have been rehearsed in some shape or form, but watching the show made it sound like the pair simply riffed on whatever came to mind. That the approach could yield such rich humor and thought-provoking observations is a credit to their combined powers.
Then, to no one's surprise, Carolla announced, "I'm gonna get preachy."
Seems the podcaster was still steamed over an exchange he had with Calif. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom earlier in the week. Shock of all shocks, Carolla had more to say on the subject.
"He didn't answer a fucking question I asked him," Carolla charged of the progressive hero.
For example, Newsom decried the rash of check-cashing stores preying on blacks and Hispanics. Carolla asked Newsom why he mentioned those two groups when the stores accepted customers from all walks of life regardless of skin color. Isn't the bigger issue the values communities impart on their young members, Carolla asked. Newsom couldn't see Carolla's point, which infuriated the podcaster.
"I didn't hear one idea out of his mouth besides, 'I was wrong' and 'I was racist,'" he said of their recent podcast exchange. "Do you want to help the black man and the Hispanic man or not?" he asked. The rhetoric Newsom spills "is gonna get votes, but you're not gonna help them."
Carolla remains one of the true politically incorrect comics working today. He implicitly savaged politicians who lump people together by the color of their skin.
"How racist is it to say you're black, so you're all the same," he said. "That's racist."
Carolla also revealed plans for the future, including two new film projects - a comedy project and a documentary about acting legend Paul Newman's racing career. He said both would likely be powered by Kickstarter, the crowdsourcing site which allows artists to tap their fan base to secure financing.
Dr. Pinsky withstood plenty of snark from his former radio partner all evening. Yet Dr. Pinsky nailed the biggest laugh of the night after a female audience member, who previously declared her affection for him over Carolla, described her curious sexual problems during a Q&A segment.
"Remember, she likes me," Dr. Pinsky deadpanned.