Comedy

Adam Carolla calls me an a**hole and turns Paramount Theatre crowd against me

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The crowd was an interesting mix of 25-to 35-year-old fans of Celebrity Rehab and Loveline's MTV era, and a slightly more ripe generation who -- assumption on my part -- looked as though they were more familiar with Adam Carolla through his appearances on The O'Reilly Factor. This was the crowd that cheered heartily whenever Carolla would argue a libertarian ideal, nodding in their seats while shouting "That's right!" like they were in a Pentecostal church service. This demographic also jeered and cursed whenever the name of a liberal was brought up, and cackled hysterically at Carolla's labeling of Gavin Newsom as a "bullshit artist" and Gwen Stefani as a "cunt-ship."

I enjoyed the electric polarization of the liberal/conservative crowd for the first hour of the show, soaking up the rare opportunity to witness so many crewcuts next to so many facial piercings. It was a similar dynamic to the Bill O'Reilly vs. Jon Stewart debates last year, with both sides forced to come to terms -- or at least sit side by side -- with the humanity and logic of those they've blindly despised for so long. During the Q&A session, one girl casually mentioned that she'd found male gay porn in her boyfriend's drawer, watched it and was aroused. This was a non-fantastic detail for anyone in the audience who has read Savage Love, and for the Fox News patrons seated beside me, finding gay porn was gasp-worthy enough -- but watching it! Enjoying it! Seasoned showman that he is, Carolla turned the laughter machine back on by making the age-old meathead comment that female-on-female is not gay porn, because it's hot -- but two dudes is officially gay porn, and the only acceptable response for any certified straight man faced with male gay porn is disgust or straight-out vomit.

Carolla is a dominating force on stage. Not just a very comfortable and quick-witted showman, he has a divisively questioning mind, sparking worthwhile debate for both his lovers and detractors. This was only complemented by the striking chemistry he has with Dr. Drew. After a decade of running Loveline together, they have a comforting dynamic of banter, finishing each other's sentences and ribbing one another in the way that only good friends can. Dr. Drew appears much less comfortable on stage than Carolla, looking like a nervous child in his slightly oversized jacket while clutching the mic with both hands. This is his charm, though: He's the cute intellectual who appeals to the kind of women who get turned on by facts. At one point Carolla ripped into his sidekick with slightly more venom than usual, asking, "Have you ever been on a stage before? Well, act like it," after Dr. Drew apologized too many times for his unfunny anecdotes.

I was almost feeling sorry for Dr. Drew until the subject of obesity came up and he said to Carolla, "This kind of reminds me of that whole McDonald's/Big Mac conversation you had." I instantly knew what he was referring to, and apparently so did some of the people in the audience who'd read my piece -- or already heard Carolla talking about it.

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Josiah M. Hesse
Contact: Josiah M. Hesse