humor

Referral Friday: The Adam Carolla Podcast

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Referral Friday is part of an ongoing series inspired by John Jantsch's Make-a-Referral Week. For more about that, and loads more referrals for everything from cobblers to coaches to gee-tar teachers, start here. Pass it on, baby!

If comedians had radar, I'd be flying pretty far under Adam Carolla's.

I'm old. I'm female. I'm a downwardly mobile, bleeding-heart Hollywood feminist woowoo-friendly liberal who has for almost 20 years lived the kind of ratty, rent-controlled, Goodwill-appointed existence that Carolla regularly, and brilliantly, rails against in his (in)famous rants. And if you put a gun to my head, I'd have a hard time deciding which I was less indifferent to, sports or cars. I am, in short, a ladygeezer.

Yet over the past four months, I've grown to love this (literally) raging atheist libertarian-esque capitalist ex-jock gearhead comic with a fervor that borders on the unnatural.

You think you're surprised? When I was your age, I thought I'd be dead by now.

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It's not like he hadn't been around for me to fall for before. Adam Carolla has been knocking around mainstream broadcast media since the early '90s, when his good friend and then-client, Jimmy Kimmel, plucked him from obscurity, a.k.a., the boxing gym, to guest-voice on a local morning-drive show Kimmel was also featured on. Carolla went on to co-host Loveline (with "Dr. Drew" Pinsky, of Celebrity Rehab) as a long-running syndicated radio show and a relatively short-lived MTV show, it ran for four seasons, each of which I managed to miss. Because I am an unwashed TV-free hippie freak*, I also missed The Man Show, Crank Yankers, the AdamCarolla Project and, most recently, Dancing with the Stars. (I'm particularly miffed about this last, as the podcast with DwtS emcee and veteran show host, Tom Bergeron, made Carolla's four-episode arc sound especially juicy and awesome.)

I miss most TV not because it's bad (although hey, no arguments here, and more power to it) but because I cannot be trusted to moderate my intake. Given the opportunity, I'd gorge myself on the bastard until my eyes rolled back in their sockets and my brain oozed from my ears. In fact, I'm pretty sure I left flecks of sticky gray matter on Time Warner's counter when, in a moment of uncharacteristic inner strength, I ripped my cable box from its mooring and hauled it back to the mother ship.

Radio is another story: when the commercial breaks become too long (which they all have) or the pace too frenetic (which, OLD PERSON, it will) or the talk too inane, I have zero issues with flipping over to my iPod and its ad-free cache of home-grown podcasts or even corporate-backed NPR goodness. And the breaks on those few stations that still catered to the demographic I barely edged into were getting longer and longer, as the morning zoos they sponsored got wilder and wilder. For Howard Stern, I could take it; for his replacement on then-KLSX, some yell-y dude with a chip on his shoulder and a faint grasp on his crew, I could not.

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So I'm not quite sure what I was doing tuned in on the very last day of KLSX's all-talk, all-the-time format, but I was. And on that fateful day, Carolla shared the news that while one show was ending, another would be beginning, in his home office, with his high school buddy, Donny (a.k.a. "the Weez") comprising the sum total of his new, lightweight production "staff."

A wannabe broadcaster in my own right (I've been known to ham it up at the mic, and have been threatening my blog readers with an as-yet unmaterialized podcast for years now), I gave it a listen, once. The first episode, featuring his KLSX show cohorts, newsgal Teresa Strasser and a fellow nicknamed "Bald Bryan" (a.k.a. Brian Bishop), was a dud as far as I was concerned. The same tiresome yakking, minus the mainstream audio quality (and, to be fair, the commercials, under contract to CBS through the end of the year, Carolla is funding this entire venture out of his own pocket, an expense that's grown not inconsiderably along with the podcast's audience). Like most things, desperation drove me to a second listen: stuck in the car with nothing to listen to on the radio and burned out on This American Life podcasts, I clicked on a random episode of Carolla, his friend and fellow comic, David Alan Grier, was the guest, and within a matter of minutes, was hopelessly hooked. (Follow-up episodes with Strasser and Bishop, often rank among the best of the ACP, as it's known on the message boards.)

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Grasshoppers, you've probably never heard of a time when sound was served up in heaping helpings, not infinitesimal bites, but there was such a time, and it was Golden.

Human beings talked to each other in complete sentences and in a leisurely fashion, letting the subject meander here and there, hither and yon, where it would. You've never experienced the delight of dialectic serendipity, the dips and turns, the long, slow build of a conversation as played by two masters of the game. And, sadly, even with the wealth of experiences provided five times weekly by Adam Carolla and his deep cache of dazzling extemporaneous word-swordsmen, you may not still: even a game played at this high of a level demands a bit of its audience, and you, my ADHD, post-post-cable grasshoppers, are used to having your jokes pre-chewed and your synapses fired for you. How can you begin to appreciate the pas-de-deux that is Carolla waltzing with Birbiglia, tangoing with Florentine, swing dancing with David Allen Grier? You can't, that's how. You might snicker at some of the potty talk, Carolla and guests take liberal advantage of the lack of FCC firebreathing down their necks, but something tells me you'll tire of it quickly.

Not us old coots. Especially us old-broad coots. I've unearthed three other ardent fans in the ladygeezer (way +40) demographic, and that's without even trying. We ladygeezers love us some of that old-time conversating, and we love it leisurely and meandering. We love hearing Adam and Bob Odenkirk bat around why aging comics lose their edge, or Adam and Dino Stamatopoulos wax poetic on the rightness of family ties disintegrating when they're loose to begin with, or Adam and Byron Allen talk old-school late-night vs. the post-ironic kind. We love the unexpected clicking between Adam and Internet bazillionaire Jason Calacanis or Adam and original-Star Trek George Takei or, greatest of all, Adam and former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson.

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Yes, there is the odd dud guest. Occasionally, the borderline misogyny and blowhardian political fulminating can strain even the most patient ladygeezer's inclusive sense of humor. Does the scat occasionally overstay its welcome? Is there, now and again, one tired joke too many about illegal immigrants or welfare culture? Yes, yes, and absolutely. There's also way too much about the merits of 1970s porn (or is the it the failings of 21st century porn?), but don't let that stop you.

The Adam Carolla Podcast is sprawling, burly, messy, raunchy, smart, hilarious, and FREE. Knowing the capitalist leanings of its host, it's unlikely to remain so past December 31st of this year.

Enjoy it, as you do the rest of the unexpected treasures sprouting from the wreckage of mass media, while it lasts.

xxx
c

*Okay, it's because I'm an addict and can't be trusted around it. THERE. ARE YOU HAPPY NOW?

Photos courtesy of the Adam Carolla Podcast.

From top: Adam Carolla and David Allen Grier; Adam and Bob Odenkirk; Adam and Francis Ford Coppola; Adam and Artie Lange; Adam with high school friends Donny, Ray and Chris.

Get your motor runnin', Day 5: Theme Song for 2009!

First day of a new week.

First (business) day of the new year.

First day of the rest of your life. (Okay...sorry. It's a '60s thing. You had to be there.)

I figure this is as good a day as any to put the FIRST EVER video on communicatrix-dot-com. (No, that Southwest Blog-O-Crap Contest thingy doesn't count: that was a still frame linking to a video; this is the video, uh, also linking to the video.)

WARNING: There are VERY naughty words contained herein. Three of them (I think), two of which are used multiple times, and with vigor. Because something about songwriting brings out the filth in me, I guess. Also, this song covers an important subject that demands underlining! But if you're a sensitive motherfucker, you should probably just ignore this and come back tomorrow.

Ready? I give you...

The Boulder: A New Song for a New Year

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ysh7ZxWew-M&w=425&h=344]

Happy new year! Now, let's get to work!

xxx
c

Earnestness is the new irony

kick me For once, I'm with Anil: April Fool's Day sucks.

It's rare that people get it right, coming up with a clever, playful joke that startles and teases, and then, with the reveal, delights. Most either fall flat, offend or have an effort-to-results ratio that reminds me of why I ran screaming in the night from the world of consumer advertising. It's not bad enough that you commit to doing the stupid and bad; you must also commit precious resources towards the effort out of all reasonable proportion.

Plus, I'm a dyed-in-the-wool patsy, hopelessly earnest, relentlessly optimistic, easily hoodwinked. I was the one who gobbled up the four squares of Ex-Lax my cabin-mates told me was chocolate; a year or two earlier, I was the one who, when greeted at the bottom of the stairs leading to my friend's family rec room by eight other friends yelling "Surprise!", on my birthday, actually asked, "What?" (The answer: "It's your birthday...Stupid.")

For years, I hated my seemingly inborn earnestness. Haaaaaaated it. I wanted to be cool and sophisticated, smooth and worldly. Unfortunately for me, the raw material just wasn't there. I was puny and inelegant and, let's face it, built like a pound puppy: big eyes, tiny body, funny face, gigantic paws. But I was also blessed...or cursed...or blessed...with a medium-sized brain and a will of iron, and over the years (and far too often) I used them in service of my own nefarious and silly desires. If I couldn't be elegant, I could be sarcastic. Oh, could I be sarcastic! I made a particular study of Oscar Wilde and Dorothy Parker, two profoundly funny-looking people who Made It Work, in the parlance of modern-day can-do maven, Tim Gunn, and honed my wit to a razor's edge. I was even mean, sometimes. Okay...a lot. Okay, more than it's comfortable to admit.

Somewhere along the line, it just got tiring, carrying all that crap around. To be organically funny is one thing; to work at it all the time is exhausting. It is also to live in fear: that you will fall flat on your face this next time, that you will be outed as a fraud, that you will fail and fall and be abandoned by all who said they loved you while you were entertaining them. Oy. Too, too much.

The setting down of my heavy load didn't come all at once. It was more of a gradual denuding. Like when you flee the old country with all your silverware and rugs and paintings on your overladen cart, and you're pulling it up that hill, and pulling it up that hill, and heaving things off so you can pull it up that damned hill, and finally you pluck one representative item from the heap, the scrap of cloth that didn't make it onto the quilt but that has a story, or your beloved grandmother's comb which is more missing than teeth, and let the rest of the rattletrap heap slide back down the hill for the Cossacks or gypsies to plunder. That amazing, liberating moment when you get that it's really love that's the thing, not things.

Of course, I still like words. And I still really like stringing words together to make people laugh. I'm starting to realize, though, that I really, really like stringing the words together to make people laugh so they'll relax, or laugh so they'll let down their guard, or laugh so they'll take a second look at an idea or a thought or a really good cause. Laughter disarms people, yes, but I don't want to disarm anyone so they're unprotected and squashable, but rather, to temporarily jam the force field and get some interesting interaction happening.

To get the do-gooders hooked up with the want-to-fund-do-gooder-ers. To get the do-gooders doing different kinds of good to lighten up and find more ways each other is alike than different. To keep the do-gooders doing good, or, if they'd do it anyway, to throw a little happy their way to make the job more pleasant. We each of us have our place.

My place might be on the ground, butt up in the air, a "Kick Me, Hard" sign affixed to the soft and fleshy part. So be it.

Some of us are born elegant; some of us are born clowns. You can fight it or you can work with it. Do the former, and while you may climb the ladder of fortune and fame, you'll also be resigned to a life of struggle and worry and looking over your shoulder.

Do the latter and you're nobody's fool.

Even if you will suffer a sore ass from time to time...

xxx c

Image by phitar via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.