Adam Carolla

Is Adam Carolla the Most Polarizing Comedian Today?

Comedians are often controversial because it's their job to poke fun at people or current events, and some can take offense at what is being said in the name of fun. Comedian and radio personality Adam Carolla is no different and some have said that his comedy has actually crossed the line from harmless fun to racist, misogynist, and homophobic bashing, while others have said he's one of the best personalities on air today.

Early Life and Career

Carolla was born in Los Angeles in 1964 and his sense of humor was evident early on. He was not given a middle name so when he applied for his driver's license, rather than leaving that space blank he wrote in "Lakers" because of his love for the Los Angeles Lakers and reportedly that word still appears on his license today. His high school graduation was delayed due to a library fine, which he paid off in order to receive his diploma in a 2005 episode of his TV show The Adam Carolla Project.

His break into show business actually happened by accident; he had been something of an athlete growing up and volunteered to help train comedian Jimmy Kimmel for an exhibition boxing match being staged by a local radio show. He and Kimmel became friends and Carolla began appearing as a regular on the same show. Carolla was soon a regular part of the call-in show Loveline, along with Dr. Drew Pinsky. Callers would ask questions about love and sex and Carolla would provide the comic relief on the show, offering crass jokes that were sometimes offensive but which were generally a hit with the audience.

After a stint with Kimmel replacing Howard Stern's head writer after he left, Carolla was offered to be the replacement for Stern in a morning broadcast show, as Stern was headed to satellite radio. The Adam Carolla Show debuted in 27 markets in 2006 but was cancelled in 2009. He then began a podcast that was downloaded by listeners and which became the most popular podcast on the internet, according to Guinness.

One of Carolla's most popular endeavors was The Man Show, which debuted on Comedy Central in 1999 and ran until 2004. The show was sexually charged and raucous and celebrated while lampooning the stereotypical loutish, rude, and misogynistic male. The Man Show included voluptuous female models and girls on trampolines, and one segment had Carolla and Kimmel setting up a booth near a farmer's market asking people to sign a petition to "end women's suffrage." It was revealed that many people signed the petition, not realizing that "suffrage" was a woman's right to vote, confusing it was "suffering."


Throughout his career Carolla has offended a number of groups due to his off-the-cuff remarks that some have said are inappropriate. For example, in a late-2003 Loveline episode, Carolla said that Hawaiians are "dumb," "in-bred," "retarded" people who are among the "dumbest people we have." Obviously this upset many in the state of Hawaii and the show was no longer carried on the Hawaiian affiliate KPOI. In 2010 he said regarding the Philippines, "They got this and sex tours, that's all they have over there. Get your shit together Philippines." Even though he apologized via Twitter, he met with a great deal of backlash from the Philippines.

Carolla also went on the offensive regarding transgender people in 2011, saying, "When did we start giving a shit about these people?" He also asserted that straight parents are better than homosexual parents but eventually apologized for his "hurtful" comments.

Carolla has also been accused of sexism and misogyny due to some remarks he made about women in the industry, during an interview in 2012 when he was asked if he hated working with women. His response was, "No. But they make you hire a certain number of chicks, and they're always the least funny on the writing staff. The reason why you know more funny dudes than funny chicks is that dudes are funnier than chicks. If my daughter has a mediocre sense of humor, I'm just gonna tell her, 'Be a staff writer for a sitcom. Because they'll have to hire you, they can't really fire you, and you don't have to produce that much. It'll be awesome.'"

In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks

In 2010 Carolla published In Fifty Years We'll All Be Chicks...And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy and the book hit #8 on the NYT bestseller list. The book is a compilation of his rants from his radio talk show and some new material, in which he complains about the condition of today's society that demonized peanut butter and jelly and which, according to him, is run by minimum wagers with an axe to grind. While it got some great reviews, others said that it was just a compilation of complaints from someone whose life and success should give him nothing to complain about!