Adam Carolla hosts one of the world’s most popular podcasts: the appropriately titled The Adam Carolla Show. You might also know him from his co-hosting the MTV show Loveline with Dr. Drew, or The Man Show with some guy named Jimmy Kimmel. In more recent times, he has quietly built a media empire, touring as a stand-up, authoring books, and directing and producing movies. And best of all (well -- to us, at least), the man has his own beer.
He didn’t just slap his name on some cheap swill, either: Carolla is a serious beer lover, and had a hand in developing his own Endless Rant IPA, which is produced by a Los Angeles-area brewery. So we gave Carolla a ring and had a wide-ranging conversation with him (below, edited for length and clarity) about making beer, owning Paul Newman’s racecars, and the art of storytelling.
Lee Breslouer: Hey Adam! How are you?
Adam Carolla: I’m good, I’m taking my dog for a walk. He just stopped. He’s 110lbs, and he just kind of does what he wants. Now I’m trying to get him to go with me, but he doesn’t want to go this way.
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Good luck with that! So, your podcast is super entertaining. But what do you think it is about the podcast that makes it so damned popular?
I don’t know. That’s probably a question better left to someone who thinks it’s special. [laughs] For me, I’d been doing a radio show in some way, shape or form now for 20 years. So it’s just showing up, getting your pieces in place, and going to work and trying to never become complacent.
I carry around a little buck slip -- I make my little notes, I make my little jokes. I have stuff I want to talk about every day, and it’s just about having a consistent voice, surrounding yourself with good people, and coaching them so that you’re getting what you want out of them. Or so that they know what you want, more accurately.
I think the trick is not to figure out what the audience wants to hear, but to figure out a way to make them excited about what you want to talk about. There are a lot of radio/TV personalities who go, ‘I’m going to figure out what you want me to talk about, and I’m going to then say what you’d like to hear.’ Versus, ‘I have my own voice and my own life, and look, whatever happened to me, it’ll happen to me.’ But I have to figure out how to convey it in such a way where it feels like you’re invested in it, or you were there, or you were a part of it. It’s good storytelling.
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Speaking of telling stories, tell me about your Endless Rant beer!
I was approached by a couple of brewers who said, ‘Hey, if you want a beer, we can make you one!’ And I sort of took the easy way out, and I said.... There’s a couple of dogs barking at my dog. [Editor’s note: He’s walking his dog, remember?]
I said, ‘There are a couple of IPAs I like.’ I think I said Stone and Pizza Port. They said, ‘It’s funny, one is [made] the new way, and one is [made] the old way. One has a new ingredient, and the other one has an old, traditional ingredient.’ And I just said, ‘Let’s meet in the middle.’ And we met in the middle! We dialed it in, and did a little trial and error, but generally came up with a really nice IPA that I’m really proud of, and people seem to really like.
Aside from IPAs, do you have any other types beers in your fridge right now?
For me, one of the guys I watch football with on Sunday has been bringing over the one liter Stone [Enjoy By] Double IPAs -- the fresh batch stuff with the date on it. And I’ve been enjoying that on football Sundays quite a bit. I’m kind of a puss. I like all the citrusy flavors in those beers. But the double IPAs and the fresh batch stuff are great. And they sell for $9 a liter.
I don’t know why, but with a 12oz bottle, when you [pour it into] a nice beer cup, and you finish it off an inch and a half from the top, it’s not satisfying. I like the big liter bottle and pouring it right to the top.
Paul Newman famously loved beer too, but there’s something else you have in common: a love of racing. Tell me about your car collection.
He was sponsored by Budweiser for a lot of his career, and was known to crack a Bud or two after the race. I was watching a show where someone was selling his Volvo wagon -- he had a souped up Volvo wagon that was a daily driver for him. And when they were cleaning out the car, they found dry cleaning stubs, and movie ticket stubs -- the kind of stuff that falls between the seats of life. They also found a Sierra Nevada bottle cap. So he must’ve enjoyed a Sierra Nevada in his souped-up Volvo. [Editor’s note: Let’s assume Newman enjoyed it while the car was parked!]
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How many of his cars do you have at this point?
I have 10 of his race cars.
What’s the last Newman car you raced? How’d you do?
I raced a 1979 Porsche 935 at the Rolex Historic in Monterey. It was a big race in Monterey about a month ago.
How’d you do?
16th out of 50.
In terms of how you’ve done with his cars, is that about average? Is that worse than you wanted to do? Are you looking to win these things every time you go out?
It depends on the group I go out there with. I think the best I did was 6th place a couple years ago. I’ve been faster in his other cars, but I’d never driven this 935 Porsche before. And it’s a pretty expensive car, so I was trying not to crash.
I know you’re passionate about cars, but I also love to hear you talk about gambling on the podcast. Got any fun Vegas gambling stories you can share?
I’m ready to head to Vegas for Kimmel’s 50th birthday in the next few weeks, so I have that to look forward to. I gamble on the Super Bowl every year and lose every year, and that’s pretty much it with me and gambling. Though I did put down $10,000 on Mayweather with McGregor just because I didn’t really look at that as gambling. It was somebody saying, ‘What if I said, "Give me $10,000, and I’ll give you your $10,000 back and $2,200 dollars in day." Would you do it?’ Yeah, I’ll do that.
You’re obviously a great storyteller. I’m always amazed that two minutes into any story you’re telling, I’m enthralled. I’m not sure where the story is going, and I’m not sure I like where it’s going, or that it’s even going to be entertaining -- but you always pull it off! For people with friends who tend to ramble, do you have any tips so people can stop boring their friends with shitty stories?
Please read body language. Read people shifting in their seat. Read people trying to interrupt, but you not letting them interrupt. Read people saying little code words like, ‘We only have the sitter for three hours,’ or ‘Is someone blocking me in the driveway?’ If you start hearing those things, it means wrap it up. I realized that people don’t read other people.
You ever hear people on the phone, and you’re sitting in the backseat? I used to do this with [Dr.] Drew. You’re sitting in the backseat of a Town Car, and they’re on the phone with their wife, and they’re talking. And you hear them saying little phrases like, ‘Okay. Okay. Will do. Okay, then. Okay, then.’ If they add, ‘Okay, then, I’ll see you then, then. I’ll see you then. Okay. Will do. Will do,’ the fourteenth time you hear ‘Will do,’ understand that the person’s trying to get off the fucking phone. If you hear, ‘Will do’ [a lot of times] in thirty seconds, that means that person’s tapping out. They want off, but they can’t say, ‘I would like to hang up the phone with you right now.’ So ‘Will do,’ means, ‘I want out.’
Alright Adam, will do! Thanks for talking with us!