WASHINGTON -- Adam Carolla was fired from terrestrial radio in February 2009. Since then he's earned the Guinness World Record for the most downloaded podcast, had two New York Times best-selling books, began touring as a stand-up and recently became a weekly commentator on "The O'Reilly Factor."
Praised for forward stances on social issues as a co-host of "Loveline" and recently skewered for controversial statements about woman and comedy, Carolla has been able to rile the feathers of most political types for the last 15 years.
Carolla will be appearing at the Warner Theatre on Thursday. We spoke with the podcaster about transitioning from old media to new media and more.
The Huffington Post: How has your audience changed since your move from terrestrial radio to podcasting?
Adam Carolla: I don't think it's changed much but I didn't have a chance to see my audience when I was doing terrestrial radio, except when you do these shows at like, Senor Frogs and it'd be weird, drunken people eating nachos and taking free tequlia shots. When you do terrestrial radio you do about two shows a year outside the studio and it's not quite right. Now we do the live podcast all the time, I do the stand-up shows all the time. I'm essentially a politician now but there's never an election day.
Going from city to city, state to state, telling people to buy my books, support the live shows, click through Amazon, buy my Mangria. I'm in the Adam Carolla business and before I was in the be-a-celebrity business.
HuffPost: You have this large cross section of fans. From kids that grew up with you on "Loveline" to Fox News fans. Who is the target demographic for your shows? Is there one?
Carolla: Well, you know, I don't know why you'd want a target demo. There's a lot of that kind of speak in Hollywood. Hollywood doesn't really know what's going on so they talk about target demos and that kind of stuff. To me, whether you have a labia or scrotum sack, whether you're old enough to own a best of Steely Dan album or never heard of Steely Dan, if you can buy a ticket to my show or you might enjoy my book or you might enjoy a bottle of Mangria or you might want to listen to my podcast, then you're in the club.
It doesn't make sense to me to try to exclude people. If you can understand the language and have a sense of humor, you're in. I'm very flattered that a lot of my live shows, I do get the 26-year old dude that brought his dad and I get the other way too. I get the 46-year-old dude that brought his 21-year-old son. I get a lot of, "My dad didn't know who you are and I gave him your book and he couldn't put it down." It's supremely flattering. If you're not that, you're essentially a boy band. You're kinda screwed because you're on top of the world.
When you do what I do, you're never on top of the world, but you're never get filed under that where-are-they-now category either. I have to enjoy my incredible success in the middle.
HuffPost: There was a lot of talk, somewhat serious, somewhat joking, that you should replace Andy Rooney on "60 Minutes" when he passed. Now you have a weekly segment on "The O'Reilly Factor." How did this come about? Are you getting any flak from it?
Carolla: With me these things come about and they're sort-of organic. I do some sort of jag on Occupy Wall Street, nothing planned, it just comes out that way, somebody brings it up and the next thing you know I launch off on a 20-minute jag. The next thing you know it gets picked up and Glenn Beck is calling me a hero and then I'm on "O'Reilly." I don't know how it works. You go on "O'Reilly" and it's usually one and done but if you do pretty well they'll ask you to come back again and if that's good another time and then it just sort-of happens. I don't know. It's like getting married. You see someone, you get a phone number, the next thing you know you're on a date.
In terms of the ramifications of that, I don't really think much about that. I think, this guy has a show, he has a successful show, he asked me to be part of it on a small scale, so why not? Maybe I'll sell a few more books.
HuffPost: You share an agent, James 'Babydoll' Dixon, with Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert. What does he think?
Carolla: The thing that's funny about Babydoll is a few years ago he probably would have said, "Are you nuts?" but Jon Stewart and O'Reilly have turned out to have a sort of an odd, interesting relationship. Good enough for Jon Stewart, good enough for Adam Carolla, at least according to James 'Babydoll' Dixon.
HuffPost: Your new venture, an alcoholic beverage Mangria, seems to be doing pretty well.
Carolla: It's been amazing. no distribution except buymangria.com and we've sold almost 10,000 bottles. We haven't even really gotten started. It's been pretty damn good.
HuffPost: All of your recent work, podcast, books, Mangria, stemmed from a bad situation, losing your radio show.
Carolla: I thought it was a bad situation too. Then I started realizing that in this new day and age, there's a million ways to make a million bucks. It doesn't have to come from one revenue stream.
A thousand hoses all just trickling into the same trough is going to fill up. Start a podcast, go out on the road to a show, then do a show with Dennis Prager, then record it, then put it on iTunes and charge $3.99 for it. A couple bucks here, a couple bucks there, eventually it starts to add up.
HuffPost: Will you be doing any political material at the Warner?
Carolla: I don't have any plans but if something hits me, it'll hit me. I don't really do a political show but I do try to work a little current commentary into the mix. The answer is basically no, but on the other hand, if people really want to talk about it, we can.
HuffPost: Can we talk about the New York Post 'women aren't funny' debacle?
Carolla: It gets presented to me, who's funnier, men or women, so I say, well, men are funny. Then I go off and say some semi-douchey things. The crux of the argument is who is funnier, men or women. It's like asking who's better as basketball, blacks or Jews, it's not a tie. You have to pick one, so you go black. They do this all the time, someone will say, "I went to school with a Jewish guy who is better then some black guy you may know!" I get that. I didn't say every single Jew and every single black, you asked me to pick. I made an educated choice. All I did was explain, if I had to make a choice between men or women, just like if I was asked to make an all-star basketball team to save the world, I would go black and I would go men.
Then everyone took it and ran with it. It doesn't fit their narrative to mention the names I said of funny women (Tina Fey, Sarah Silverman, Kathy Griffin, Lisa Lampanelli, Aisha Tyler). Everybody has a story to tell. The story can't be, "Well this guy said something a little out of line," that's not a story. The story is, "This guy is a monster. This guy is out of control." It's not really a story. Adam Carolla said some things that are misogynistic but went on to point out some women he thinks are really funny and really talented hurts in the story department. That, they'll never do. What they will do is take the original story, embellish it, change it from men are funnier than women and turn it into Adam saying women aren't funny, not mention any of the follow up stuff. Journalistically, it's lying. It's fine, but you should be working on fiction, not call yourself a journalist and report things that way. Your job is to report things, not create things. But I never care. I like cars.