Adam Carolla cites President Obama’s 2015 appearance on WTF With Marc Maron as a milestone ushering podcasts into the mainstream. “I think it’s another modality for conversation, and that’s always a good thing,” the Adam Carolla Show host says of the medium. “In the next election three and a half years from now — or sooner, as they campaign — there’s probably going to be more politicians sitting down with podcasters.”
The third annual “unconventional political convention” known as Politicon, intended to narrow the gap between Washington insiders and the public, takes over the Pasadena Convention Center on July 29 and 30. Nearly 150 politicians, consultants, journalists, entertainers and podcasters anchor the nonpartisan event fostering discourse via panels, interviews, readings and live tapings.
Along with the James Carvilles, Ann Coulters, Jake Tappers and Lesley Stahls of the lineup, attendees can catch comedians including Greg Proops, Al Madrigal, Anthony Atamanuik, Michelle Wolf, Trae Crowder and Lizz Winstead. A highly anticipated debate sees Chelsea Handler engaging former talk-show host Tomi Lahren. On Saturday evening, Carolla records a live interview with The Daily Show’s Roy Wood Jr., followed by an audience meet-and-greet.
“I’m just interested in a lot of different opinions,” Carolla says of Politicon. “The exchanging of ideas, thoughts and occasionally fluids, so I’m excited.”
The North Hollywood native studied improv in the early ’90s, and in 1994 parlayed his amateur-boxing background into training KROQ’s Kevin and Bean show personality Jimmy Kimmel. He soon co-hosted the station’s Loveline with Dr. Drew Pinksy before partnering with Kimmel for Comedy Central’s The Man Show and Crank Yankers.
In 2011, The Adam Carolla Show set the Guinness World Record for most downloaded podcast. His Carolla Digital network houses a dozen podcasts, and 10 episodes of Adam Carolla and Friends Build Stuff Live aired this spring on Spike. He’s a fan of quick naps — and of going with his gut.
“I do tons of things, and people say, ‘Why? Why did you do Dancing With the Stars or Celebrity Apprentice,' or 'Why did you write a book?’ And I just go, ‘Somebody asked me to do it.’”
Carolla’s current point of pride is his Chassy Media documentary company. Subjects include cars and sports; his personal favorite, Winning: The Racing Life of Paul Newman, combined both.
Next up is a crowdfunded film exploring political correctness and freedom of speech on college campuses. Carolla teamed on No Safe Spaces with conservative radio host Dennis Prager, with whom atheist Carolla doesn’t share much in common but nevertheless respects intellectually. (Prager recently tweeted that the "news media in the West pose a far greater danger to Western civilization than Russia does," even though that he's a member of the news media.) The two have mounted a series of school speaking engagements denouncing the coddling of students and chronicled the results. (Prager subsequently told Fox News, "The only thing I regret about the tweet is that I didn't write the universities and the media in the West are a greater threat to Western civilization.")
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“It seemed like a simpler time when people wanted to hear opinions that were a little bit different than their own,” recalls Carolla, who has publicly said Hollywood fears tackling the subject. A mid-2018 release is expected.
Then again, not all change is bad. Particularly for a guy who claims he doesn't really work for a living anymore.
“I try to keep things in perspective, especially when it’s 119 degrees outside,” he muses. “I used to be on a construction site in Chatsworth with this kind of weather. And now I’m sitting in an air-conditioned trailer. I try to keep that in mind.”
Adam Carolla podcast and meet-and-greet, Politicon, Pasadena Convention Center, 300 E. Green St., Pasadena. politicon.com/speaker/adam-carolla.