If anyone needed evidence that comedians are growing tired of kowtowing to woke sensitivities, the lineup of guests Adam Carolla has put together for his new Daily Wire series, “Truth Yeller,” offers plenty of proof.
The hour-long, late-night style show, which premieres on Nov. 26, features plenty of edgy humor via four segments — a traditional opening monologue, an extended guest interview, an improv segment that finds Carolla and guest riffing on audience-submitted topics, and the closing topical tirade from which the series takes its title.
Given that Carolla isn’t exactly known for shying away from controversial jokes, one might think he’d have a little trouble finding comedy friends willing to stand by his side in this defiantly un-woke venture. Instead, his first episode features late-night legend Jay Leno, and following installments include such mainstream Hollywood fixtures as Patrick Warburton, Rob Riggle, and T.J. Miller.
Warburton and Riggle’s participation is particularly interesting, as both men are at the zenith of their careers. After finding fame playing David Puddy on the classic nineties sitcom, “Seinfeld,” Warburton went on to headline popular series like “Rules of Engagement,” “The Tick,” and “Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events.” He’s also scored key roles in hit movies like “Ted” and “Get Smart.”
Riggle, too, has been constantly cast in high-profile vehicles since first hitting the scene on “The Daily Show” and “Saturday Night Live” in the early 2000s. A list of his filmography reads like a rundown of every major comedy film of the last 15 years, including “Talladega Nights: The Legend of Ricky Bobby,” “The Hangover,” “21 Jump Street,” “The Other Guys,” and “Step Brothers,” to name just a few. His television credits are equally voluminous.
So there’s no question performers at their level would be well aware of the vitriol that has been flung at stars Bill Burr, Tim Allen, and Chris Rock for daring to suggest there’s something rotten in the state of comedy. Yet, there they are, laughing alongside Carolla and interjecting their own one-liners as he goes into a hilarious rant about where he is on the “racism spectrum” (nowhere near “Klan racist,” but a guy who wants the freedom to laugh at an Asian friend’s impression of a PF Chang’s greeter.)
Full disclosure, I work for the Daily Wire, of course, but I’ve also been a film and TV critic for 18 years and have reviewed previous Carolla productions. The two episodes I was able to prescreen convinced me that “Truth Yeller” has the potential to disrupt comedy’s seemingly inexorable slide into unfunny political correctness and break the game wide open.
Carolla’s raunchy brand of humor lives harmoniously alongside the more serious, ideological products Daily Wire podcasters like Ben Shapiro, Michael Knowles and others offer.
If Shapiro is the king of the constitutional and historical arguments, Carolla provides the everyman’s gift for perceiving absurdity and skewering it with razor-sharp, blue-collar cleverness. For example, on recent demands that Netflix add disclaimers to stand up specials from comedians like Dave Chappelle, Carolla quips, “Um, here’s your disclaimer a** wipes. It’s a joke. Done with the disclaimer. It says, ‘Stand up Special,’ that’s your disclaimer.”
Like late-night competitors on the big broadcast networks, Carolla cracks wise about the news of the day, except he makes points Stephen Colbert and Jimmy Fallon would never dare. To wit, in one closing bit, he points out that the Founding Fathers didn’t include enough mechanisms to protect the citizenry from idiocy:
“Our Founding Fathers could never really have anticipated a Gavin Newsom. They were like, ‘Oh we have to write the Constitution and protect people from kings and tyrants. They never anticipated stupid. Let me tell you how dumb Gavin Newsom is. All Gavin Newsom talks about is electric cars: ‘We need more electric cars, we have to get more electric cars, we’ve gotta lead the nation in electric cars.’ And then he tells Elon Musk to hit the bricks.”
Beyond the counter-programming that “Truth Yeller” offers with its willingness to make fun of the left alongside the right (and Carolla does turn his fire on Republican politicians like Donald Trump as well), viewers will appreciate the sheer craft he displays. This is especially clear when he makes up standup routines on the spot based on words audience members have written on lottery-type balls that his guests select at random. His on-the-fly punchlines and impromptu callbacks highlight the incredible quick wit that made him a staple for so many years on radio, TV, and podcast shows.
As Riggle says to viewers at one point, “I hope you all appreciate what a high wire act this is.”
The recent success of other productions willing to buck the vice-grip liberals have had on the entertainment industry bodes well for “Truth Yeller’s” prospects.
In only a few short months, Fox News’ cable talk show “Gutfeld!” has managed to draw more viewers than every single network late-night show on offer.
The difference is, Greg Gutfeld’s program is still more political than Hollywood, with panel-style discussions that feature guests who come more from the world of government and punditry than entertainment. Carolla’s show is pure old-school Tinsel Town.
Given the precedent “Gutfeld!” has set, if Carolla’s “Truth Yeller” continues as strong as it starts, he could soon be beating his old friend Jimmy Kimmel ratings.
The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.