Adam Carolla’s career suicide

So Fran, how do you really feel?

I feel as if I didn’t need to wake up this morning to see this ignorance splashed in my face. Or any other morning.

My friend (and Fresno Pub Quiz co-quizmaster) Adam Wall posted this little bit of sweetness on his Facebook wall this morning: a piece about Adam Carolla going off on trans people on his podcast.

The news of this rolled out kinda slowly over the past few days — he spewed this on Thursday — which I guess says something about how many people listen to this podcast, from a guy who can’t find room for his shtick on terrestrial radio anymore. I didn’t even know Carolla still had a career, actually.

And his half-assed attempt at an apology? From the guy who claimed to be “No on H8” and then said, “a mom and a dad is better than two dads or two moms”? Puh-leeeeeeze. And if you listen closely, he wasn’t apologizing for actually saying what he did. And no matter how you dress it up, shit still smells like shit.

And unlike the morning-show idiots in Sacramento two years ago — who seemed especially remorseful and chastened after losing several major advertisers over their 33-minute rant against trans kids — Carolla, on first blush, doesn’t seem to get it.


It’s the time-honored trick of talentless comics the world over: Isolate a group of people seen as inferior to the rest of society, tell a few jokes about them and all the yahoos in the audience are bound to laugh. Cheap yuks when nothing else works.

Carolla, onetime co-host of testosterone-demoed programs The Man Show and Loveline — and now host of the Speed Channel’s new The Car Show — has done this several times in his career. Over the past decade, he’s notably gone off on Hawai’ians, Asians in general and Filipinos. Small-enough groups where he wouldn’t create as much controversy in America as if, say, he replaced the word “Hawai’ians” with “blacks.”

He turned to podcasting after his last terrestrial radio show, on KLSX in Los Angeles, was canceled 2 1/2 years ago.

And he was doing his podcast Thursday morning when the “news girl,” Alison Cohen, brought up the story about an online petition calling for Bert and Ernie to get married on Sesame Street. The topic was, and is, kinda silly, but Carolla’s response wasn’t — not on any planet I’m living on. I think his words have much more effect in the two dimensions of print, so here you go:

Cohen: There’s a petition going around online asking for Bert and Ernie to get married on an episode of Sesame Street.

Carolla: This is reaally gonna change things for the better.

Cohen: Well, see, the petition reads, “In this age of horrific LGBT — lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender –“

Carolla: When did … when did evvverybody get fuckin’ lumped in with the gays, y’know what I mean? When … really? How … What percentage is traaansgender, d’you know what I mean?

Like … let’s just say I was a politician and I said, “Hey, transgendered folks, I don’t need your vote. I don’t think I could get elected? What do they make up — 30 percent of the population? Sure, I went to school with a bunch of transgendered guys, and now I work with a bunch of them … like, what the fuck! When did we start giving a shit about this, these people?

Cohen: Yeah, I don’t know.

Carolla: And we gotta, we gotta work it out with the … and now there’s all  these variations where it’s like, “I’m a pree-op, traaansgender, trans neutral, trans fat — shut the fuck up!

Cohen: Right. And that’s like, so you’re, so basically, what that means is that you’re actually a guy who wants to date women –.

Carolla: I’m having —

Cohen: Who somehow swings around.

Carolla: No. I’m having hormone replacement therapy, but I still have my penis, but I’m not gay, but I’m attracted to men. It’s like, whaat the fuck? I can’t do the math! Ican’teven … every time I see Chaaz Bono, I don’t know what — my cock looks at me and goes, “Huuh?” Like I — uh, what do I do?

Cohen: What do you say back to it?

Carolla: I dunno. I like — I dunno — hide behind the balls! They’ll protect you!

(Cohen cackles)

Carolla: Act as a giant trampoline. They deflect anything that comes at ya.

Well, I’m not sure what’s worse — his rant or his response.

After GLAAD called him out about his podcast yesterday, TMZ caught up with Carolla and asked him about it. His reply: “I’m sorry my comments were hurtful. I’m a comedian, not a politician.”

Let’s parse this.

For one, Carolla was not saying, “I’m sorry for what I said.” He actually said, “I’m sorry you took it that way.” Big honking difference.

I’ve had people say “I’m sorry you took it that way” to me before. It’s even more offensive than their original comment — because it’s their passive-aggressive way of flicking the responsibility for their actions off their shoulders and throwing it back at you! They’re saying, in essence, “It’s your own damn fault for feeling that way and it’s not my problem.” Which is exactly what Carolla did here.

Second, “I’m a comedian, not a politician.”

Well, besides giving himself too much credit for being funny, Carolla has insulted every single comic in the history of his line of work who has made the world a much more aware place with their social barbs: Lenny Bruce, The Smothers Brothers, George Carlin, Norman Lear (as creator of All in the Family), Richard Pryor, Chris Rock, Dave Chappelle and many others. People who’ve generated more humor before breakfast any given morning than Carolla has ever spewed in his life.

And, oh yeah — singling out the group of people who suffer the highest rate of violence in this country is totally fucking hilarious.

Y’know — maybe he oughta call Tracy Morgan and see what he tells him about going off on a group of people for no reason.

Then again, anyone dumb enough to go off on Manny Pacquiao probably won’t take the hint, anyway. Not from a bunch of guys in dresses, as he has them pegged. And not if the above was his idea of an apology.

Hope his balls are big enough to protect him from career suicide. And by the way, living out in the everyday world with the possibility of violence against you is balls. Hiding in an anonymous studio and lobbing bombs is no balls. Anyway, I hope he has much fun podcasting to his family and friends.

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8 Responses to “Adam Carolla’s career suicide”

  1. ed Says:

    this situation, along with the tracy morgan one that you mention, make comedy such a difficult thing for me. many comedians will say terribly offensive things. some will do it frequently, without any semblance of an apology.

    i’ve only talked to a few comedians in my life, and some have expressed how unoriginal and weak comedy can be, especially when it relies on things like race and gender. but, then again, some of the best out there are still doing jokes on these same issues. louis ck, whose comedy is currently running the world, has some jokes about homosexuals in his stand up that make me a bit uncomfortable. but, on his show he also had a gay comedian friend come on and do a bit that essentially blasted louie and other comedians for doing these jokes.

    as for corolla, he hides behind the cloak of comedy here. he does a podcast. he says, off the cuff, whatever he wants. simply calling it comedy doesn’t give him carte blanche. he wants it that way, but it doesn’t cut it. at least tracy morgan’s gaffe was in the context of a stand up routine. not any funnier, but the context does matter in defense of comedy.

    what you may not realize fran, and what may make it even more problematic, is that people listen to corolla. he is as popular now, as a podcast, as he was on terrestrial radio. in fact, his listenership has increased because people outside of the radio reach can now here him daily, for longer concise time. i’m not sure if he still is, but he was the #1 ranked podcast on itunes for quite some time. people are listening. and, if they listen and just let it slide, or even worse, agree with him that it’s okay because it’s comedy, or it’s just okay, then we have a big problem. i honestly doubt he will see career repercussions. people will push it off, and say, “well, he’s ‘Carolla, onetime co-host of testosterone-demoed programs The Man Show and Loveline’.”

    • franoramaworld Says:

      Yeah, I understand that, Ed — the popularity of the podcast. He boasted to his pal Kimmel about how he now has the Guinness record for the most downloaded podcast.

      But it doesn’t hurt to have people like me prodding and pushing and calling him and his like on their bullshit. After all, you can file his rants under the category “It’s all fun and games ’til someone gets hurt.”

      And as I said, living out and open takes balls. Hiding in a studio and lobbying bombs at people takes no balls. At all. And his apology was, really, a non-apology.

    • franoramaworld Says:

      Also, remember that Don Imus, also irreverent, was practically terrestrial radio king of the universe — until his half-second commentary on Rutgers women’s basketball players. Took one tiny pebble to topple him and ruin his rep.

      And he showed an incredible amount of remorse after that, which Carolla hasn’t and probably won’t. And the I-Man managed to rebound fairly nicely, but his influence is nowhere near where it was. And now he’s situated at the one station that would take him — the flagship of Limbaugh and Hannity.

  2. ed Says:

    i definitely agree that it’s good for people to call him on his shit. i think some of his stuff is funny, but i also think his schtick gets old, and his rants are quite tedious at points. he’ll say the same old crap over and over, which is one of the things that stopped me from listening to the podcast.

  3. Jim Says:

    The bottom line to all of this is…we live in a society that let’s this behavior go unchecked. To say that “mean people suck’ doesn’t even begin to impact the surface.

    Let’s face it – unless there are more people prepared to take some kind of stand against folks like Carolla (aside from GLAAD), it will continue.

    To Ed’s earlier point – living out and open takes courage, while hiding in a studio and lobbying bombs at people takes no balls.

  4. butt hurt faggots Says:

    wow, this is a long slow suicide. two years later and YOUR career is still nothing.

    • franoramaworld Says:

      Not sure what career you have besides being a professional asshole. Come to me when you have the balls to attach your real name to what you believe. Anyway, I think I hear your mom calling you for dinner. And for God’s sake, put on a pair of pants, willya?

  5. J. Temple Says:

    Criticizing Carolla because his shtick gets old, and his points are tedious misses the bigger picture. Denigrating other people is not funny and hardly worth a laugh. People of value, and people who have values don’t build a life on it. And I can’t think of any person I know who would change their life for his. For all the charm he thinks he has, he still has to wake up in the morning and be him – a sorry, pathetic SOB.

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