Comedy

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

Page 3 of 3

Last week I did a phone interview with Carolla, and while people have noted some contention between us during the conversation, I came away thinking it was the most fun I'd had doing an interview in ages. Often in these situations, you don't want to bog people down with intimidating questions, because if they get uncomfortable or start to feel stupid, their answers can feel unnatural -- or the interview simply ends. But none of this applied to Carolla. He has a confidence about his words and isn't afraid of tension. He lives for tension. Carolla is a high-volume Japanese auto factory of controversial one-liners, so it really only took some gentle devil's advocacy on my part. And Carolla's soap-box magically appeared. Straight out of the gate, he launched into a conspiracy theory of liberal comedians and their class hypocrisy, repeatedly bringing up Samuel L. Jackson and his Canadian tax shelter.

I was having a blast. Often you have to search for a quote while listening to an interview, but I knew that with this one, all I'd have to do was transcribe it and it'd be pure gold. Naturally, our conversation drifted toward his most recent Google-ready rant about shaming obese people. I agreed with his views that we have a double standard toward obesity versus smoking, and he drifted -- completely of his own accord -- into his theory that McDonald's should be taken out of the why-are-we-so-obese-today conversation. His argument was that McDonald's is a constant, and that from a scientific standpoint, if more people are obese today than in the '60s, and McDonald's was around in the '60s, then McDonald's must be removed from the equation.

Only mildly interested that he brought it up, I thought I'd play the Morgan Spurlock role and mentioned that McDonald's has changed, primarily referencing portion sizes, but also citing that meat, dairy, wheat and potato farming have drastically changed in five decades. "Wait, wait, so the Big Mac, the Quarter Pounder, aren't the same?" he asked. I said they weren't. "They're calorically different?" In the energy of the moment, I said I thought the calories probably have changed. On this point, I will completely concede that Carolla was right: The calories haven't changed.

I didn't plan to talk about McDonald's with Carolla, and would certainly never argue that McDonald's is to blame for the obesity epidemic. For the most part, I lean toward Carolla's libertarian ethos of personal responsibility, and would point toward the rise of sedentary lifestyles behind desks as more responsible for obesity than fast food. But when that meek little opportunist Dr. Drew brought up this part of our interview while on stage before a full house, Adam Carolla's memory of our exchange proved much different than mine. Here's what he said at the Paramount Saturday night...

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Josiah M. Hesse
Contact: Josiah M. Hesse