Adam Carolla’s upcoming project may put his “no apology” mantra to the test.
The podcaster’s fifth book, “I’m Your Emotional Support Animal: Navigating Our All Woke, No Joke Culture,” shares so many politically incorrect bromides you’ll soon lose count.
Potential publishers didn’t, apparently.
Carolla says publishers weren’t salivating at the chance to claim his latest book, out June 16, even though his previous tomes all became New York Times’ best sellers.
“I think the climate for a voice like mine ten years ago was much different than for a voice like mine today,” he says, referring to his 2010 book “In 50 Years We’ll All Be Chicks.” “The publishers are getting kind of woke, too.”
That may be an understatement, but the comedian isn’t hungry for victimhood status. He thinks that sentiment is crushing our culture, along with wimpy car commercials, Fake News broadsides and, of course, airline passengers requiring more than one support critter.
Off the page, Carolla is worked up over the press making people, especially children, cower during the current pandemic.
“My daughter was freaked out for the last three months. Everyone was scaring her … the news, the moms the dads,” he says. “You’re hurting her life … they look at it like, ‘I’m doing the responsible thing.’”
He pins much of the blame on the corporate press.
“Here’s the problem. The facts as it pertains to COVID-19 weren’t that scary. CNN is in the ‘scare’ business,” he says. “They’re not in the ‘facts’ business. The facts are boring, and they won’t scare that many people.
“If they let you know that everyone who was dying was 88 and was in the nursing home, which they should have, you wouldn’t be that freaked out.”
Something similar is brewing over race relations in the country, he says.
“The actual number of cops shooting unarmed black citizens … it wouldn’t be enough to freak people out,” he says, thoughts that echo Heather MacDonald’s research on the subject.
That narrative, he argues, is amplified by both the press and well-meaning adults.
“It’s a big problem when I see parents sitting down and explaining to their kids that we’re a racist nation,” Carolla says.
He name-checks Oscar winners Charlize Theron and Sandra Bullock for telling their adopted black children “you have a target on your back.”
“That’s scary to the kids,” he says.
Carolla’s early years hardly suggested his rise to culture warrior status.
He grew up poor and famously left carpentry behind for a radio career, thanks to a boost from future chum Jimmy Kimmel. Carolla eventually teamed with Dr. Drew Pinsky for the syndicated “Loveline” radio show where they counseled teens on addiction, relationships and abuse.
He followed a bid to replace Howard Stern on terrestrial radio with “The Adam Carolla Show” podcast. And an entrepreneur was born, one coronated by the Guinness Book of World Records two years after leaving traditional radio behind.
Today, the Carolla universe includes several podcasts, stand-up comedy tours, TV shows (“Crank Yankers”) and a small but growing library of car-related documentaries under the Chassy Media banner.
Carolla’s observational humor packs a subversive wallop by 2020 American standards, but he doesn’t think it’s doing him any favors.
“I don’t’ think there’s a clamoring for my message. It’s not overall good for me and my career and brand and legacy … it’s just the truth,” he says. “I didn’t get into this business to take my talking points from woke idiots who can’t decipher facts … if you’re Mayor [Eric] Garcetti or Gov. [Gavin] Newsom, you must then ignore all facts and take your talking points from your woke constituency.”
“I’m Your Emotional Support Animal” starts with a warning and/or promise.
“I’m not going to apologize for anything in this book… If you don’t like something in this book, you can kiss my…” you get the idea.
That stance makes him unique in celebrity circles, something made clear in recent days when NFL quarterback Drew Brees repeatedly asked for forgiveness after he praised the U.S. flag.
Carolla compared the apology phenomena to a classic “Twilight Zone” episode where Bill Mumy’s all-powerful character wished his foes “into the cornfield.” It’s like what the woke mob does to those who don’t toe the proper narrative, he says.
“We keep talking about having an honest dialogue about race, but if anyone expresses an opinion other than, ‘cops are all racist’ … they have to apologize,” he says. “Would you call that an honest dialogue? How could we have an honest dialogue on any subject if you push back against a thought or notion and for that you were canceled?”
Carolla’s enduring friendship with Kimmel has yet to be canceled despite the chasm between their political takes. Kimmel’s ABC show routinely features the host excoriating President Donald Trump, his GOP allies and even Republican voters.
Kimmel famously said he doesn’t mind losing the latter as part of his audience.
“Not good riddance, but riddance,” he explained.
Even Kimmel’s blurb for “I’m Your Emotional Support Animal” suggests the tension in play.
“Within these pages, you will find written proof that Adam Carolla is insane. Buy this for your uncle,” the “Jimmy Kimmel Live” host wrote.
The two agree not to get political when they hang out, Carolla says.
“I think more people should do it,” he says of that approach.
“Even when we shared an office for many years we never talked about politics,” he says of the duo’s tenure hosting Comedy Central’s “The Man Show.” “We’re just dudes who want to make people laugh. We haven’t really changed that … we just continued on not talking about politics … good people can disagree on subjects.”
Carolla’s book also touches on President Trump, offering readers a unique glimpse at the hard-charging personality.
“I believe he wants to be loved,” he says, something his ideological foes could seize upon if they dropped their Trump derangement for a spell.
“I believe that if Mark Ruffalo and Rosie O’Donnell sent him a fruit basket and said, ‘let’s let bygones be bygones,’ he’d go, ‘Would you like to be Ambassador to Sweden?’” he says.
One reason Carolla can afford his “no apologies” pledge is because he runs his own company, or “pirate ship” to use his phrase. Many Americans lack that luxury, and he says it means they need to think ahead if they dare think for themselves.
“First things first, you need to set yourself up,” he says. “I can get canceled or wished out into the cornfield, but I have stuff I can sell … or I can just retire,” he says with a laugh. “You need to have a Plan B … something to fall back on, so that you can express your honest opinion and stop apologizing. All it does is begat more apologies.”
The current apology mania isn’t about being kind or respectful, he warns. It’s about power.
“The ultimate power is the apology,” he says. “Being able to beat someone up is a kind of power … but having them apologize in the public square [means] you have dominion over that person.”
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