Adam Carolla Chats About Cars and the Astonishing Popularity of His Podcast: 'We Have Essentially Become McDonald's'
Former Loveline and The Man Show host Adam Carolla loves cars, comedy, and talking about cars and comedy. His daily The Adam Carolla Show podcast has even received a Guinness World Record for the single most-downloaded episode ever, at 59,574,843, and in his spare time he also co-hosts Adam Carolla's CarCast. Prior to being honored by Thursday's Petersen Automotive Museum charity gala, he reflected on the things that make his engine purr.
You're receiving the 2012 Automotive Enthusiast Award from the Petersen Automotive Museum. What's been your reaction so far?
I was excited, a little surprised. I've always been into cars and more recently vintage racecars and that aspect of it. But I never really hung out with that crowd. There's a whole bunch of different car crowds; I just kind of did my thing and then went home. I would appreciate it and go to the events and things like that, but I wasn't a member of any club and I've never been to a Cars and Coffee or anything. I'd just go to the vintage race events as my schedule permitted, and that was that. I always thought they sort of chose from within that group. And so that's why I was surprised and flattered that they chose me.
What's your impression of the museum?
I had a car there for an exhibit for about six months and I've been there multiple times. And now that I have kids that are old enough to kind of dig it, it's really cool. I obviously feel like almost you can't go wrong. I probably enjoy the Italian Supercar exhibit more than I enjoy the Lowrider exhibit. But as long as it's got four wheels, I'm all eyes. And I've been to a few charity events; I think I went to the Trans-Am event there a few years back and that kind of stuff. It's really cool to have it right in the middle of Miracle Mile there, and the Wilshire Corridor. You'd think it would be a big warehouse, but it's what looks like a beautiful office building from the outside, and then you find out there's cars on every single floor.
What was the car you had there for six months?
I had a '69 Lamborghini Miura S there for about six months. My stuff is weird. I do like old Lamborghinis. I have three or four Paul Newman racecars, actually one Camaro and three Datsuns. I have some older Bob Sharp racecars. I have a couple BRE cars, just stuff that doesn't make sense to most people unless you're really into old racecars or Datsun racecars.
The prevalence of comedy podcasts has been exploding and you're one more or less one of the burgeoning industry's forerunners. What are the secrets to creating a good podcast?
The good news is we are now The Man. We are now the number one podcast and we have become The Man. The bad news is we will not be on anyone's list any more of top podcasts. Because we have essentially become McDonald's and we will not be on anyone's list, unless it's a list where people vote. If it's a list where people vote, then we will be on the list. If it's a list where people get to make the list, then we're not going to be on it. But I look at it as flattering, it's like why for the last 20 years everyone hated Jay Leno and The Tonight Show. It's not because he was number five. And that's usually how it works. So I'm flattered in my own way.
I've been at it for three and a half years, maybe more. It didn't really completely exist when I started, and now it does, and it's great for people like me. If you have something to say, it's great, If you don't, it's not. I guess what I'm saying is there's not much magic to it. You do it every day, and people either like you or they don't, and if they don't it's academic, and if they do it's awesome. People always talk about "Well, how do you start a podcast?" Starting the podcast is one trip top Guitar Center and a Macintosh laptop. There's not much to starting it. It's getting the audience that is the more difficult part of the equation.
And how about sustaining from there?
Well, that's where the work comes in. The part where you try to build that audience, and you try to keep that audience. It's no different than any business. It's no different than a restaurant. You need new customers, and you try to keep the customers you have happy, and you have to know that most people are one bad meal away from not coming back for a while, and maybe telling other people not to show up. So it's an ongoing event, and that's why I've done it every single day for three and a half years. I haven't missed a day in that time period. It's not twice a week or a weekend thing; it's every single day without failure for over three years. So that's my first plan, is to deliver the product.
So it's wake up, shit, shower, shave, podcast.
Yep! If I'm going to be out of town I'll tape two in one day so we have one to run the day I'm out of town. That's the way I've always done it. It's easy to do. It's enjoyable at times. It's not a lot of heavy lifting. But it is a commitment. And it's the kind of commitment that most people don't want to be involved with. They will do it once a week, maybe twice a week in a sort of catch-as-catch-can way. But the five-day-a-week part, most comedians don't want to commit to that. For me, I've always just treated it like a job.
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