Comedy

Adam Carolla’s live podcast shows how unforgiving the format can be

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Despite Carolla’s hard work, his live show fell flat.
Photo: Zack W
Jason Harris

I’m a huge fan of podcasts. I regularly listen to more of them than I have fingers, and I even have a podcast of my own that’s rooted in the world of comedy. But the truth is this: I rarely laugh out loud when listening to them.

And so it was when I attended last weekend’s live version of The Adam Carolla Show at Vinyl. Admittedly, Carolla is not in my regular lineup of listens, but I loved the interview on Industry Standard With Barry Katz in which he went into great detail about how hard he’s worked to rebuild his career as a comic and audio personality. That podcast, which goes deep into process and personal histories, is directly about comedy, and while it’s always entertaining it’s not often funny.

Unfortunately, this edition of The Adam Carolla Show, one of four recorded over a two-day span, was neither particularly interesting or funny.

Carolla is a hard worker. He stood for the duration of the show, while his supporting players, Gina Grad and Bald Bryan, sat onstage. He kept the show moving, never waning in enthusiasm despite the tepid audience response.

Carolla’s guest was Louie Anderson, who also sat, and served little purpose. Anderson, who has his own podcast, has also been a guest on Industry Standard and was an excellent interview subject on that show. Here, he faded into the background. The bulk of direct questioning from Carolla to Anderson was about the comedian’s time on ABC’s short-lived celebrity diving show Splash, which didn’t even deserve that much attention when it aired two years ago.

Regular segments “Blah Blah Blog” and “Gina Grad’s News” were also performed. The former is a game where a celebrity blog is read aloud by co-producer Mike Dawson, and the panel has to guess which famous person it belongs to. The latter is like “The News With Robin” on Howard Stern but, you know, not as good.

Credit Carolla for his relentless hustle. He was in the hotel taking pictures with his fans and hocking his Mangria “ready to drink wine cocktail” before the show. But even as one of the most important podcasters in the history of the medium, he couldn’t pull this one off. It goes to show just how hard it is to be funny in this format.

Tags: Comedy
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