With a Miller Lite in tow, acerbic entertainer Adam Carolla took the Crest stage and delivered his familiar catchphrase – “get it on; got to get it on; no choice but to get it on!” – kicking off a rowdy night of comedy for an enthusiastic sold-out audience Thursday night.
Carolla hosts “The Adam Carolla Show,” a talk show featuring interviews with celebrity guests that is produced in his home studio and topped the iTunes Store's "Best of 2009" selection of audio podcasts.
The former “Loveline” and “The Man Show” co-host was in Sacramento to perform a live comedy event entitled “Christmas Carolla” in support of his recently released book “In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks.”
Starting off with the fan-favorite “What Can’t Adam Complain About?”, Carolla encouraged audience members to shout out Christmas-themed topics that he would then complain about for several minutes.
As shouts of “porn” and “polygamy” rang out through the theater, Carolla went through topics like candy canes, the baby Jesus, and the Jewish holiday Hanukkah.
“It’s not as important as Christmas,” Carolla joked of Hanukkah, which is celebrated at the beginning of December. “You take your Hanukkah, and you do it in June!”
Setting this event apart from your normal stand-up comedy routine was a visual, interactive aspect. “Christmas Carolla” made use of the large film screen behind Carolla on stage, and as he performed, producer/sidekick Donny “The Weez” Misraje projected images on-screen from his Mac laptop.
For example, while Carolla ranted on the audience-suggested topic of bar mitzvahs, Donny projected an image of a young boy with a huge mop of curly hair at his own bar mitzvah, enhancing the overall comedic effect.
Various video clips were also played at intervals during the show, including clips from “Crank Yankers” (co-created by and co-starring Carolla) and “The Man Show.”
One such clip was from “The Man Show,” called “Drunken Pilots.”
In the pre-9/11 clip Carolla and co-host Jimmy Kimmel dress in airline pilot uniforms and walk around inside Los Angeles International Airport with "beers" in their hands, pretending they are drunk and interacting with travelers.
Aside from a few curious stares, people they encountered were largely unfazed with the duo’s stumbling around and slurred speech.
“Can you imagine doing that today?” Carolla asked the audience when the lights came back on. “Pepper spray and zip ties all the way!”
Carolla is the consummate pro and didn’t miss a beat all night. A highlight of the evening was a segment called “Why I Hate LA”
“Since we’re here in Sacramento, I thought it would be good to kiss a little ass,” he said as he introduced the skit. Like a politically incorrect Jerry Seineld, the segment allowed his style of observational comedy to shine.
Carolla recounted how he had driven around LA and his Glendale neighborhood and taken photos of certain things that irked him about the area, one of them being the omnipresent graffiti. The photos were projected on the screen allowing the audience to see exactly what he was talking about.
He riffed on the penis graffiti on his local mailbox, graffiti on trees and the graffiti on highway signs and how it led the city to place barbed-wire around many of the signs. "What are we, in Guantanamo?" asked Carolla.
During the last bit of the night, the Crest audience was treated to a rare and detailed glimpse of the earnings of a celebrity entertainer.
Carolla, who has been candid about his salary over the years, shared his annual Social Security taxed earnings statement with the audience by projecting it on screen.
He covered the statement and line by line revealed one year and corresponding income amount at a time. He went from 1980-2003 and for each year, he provided an explanation on what job he had and what he was doing at that stage in his life.
The financial journey took us from Carolla’s humble beginnings working at McDonald’s in 1980 making $232 that year, through stints working in construction, carpentry, and carpet cleaning for a few thousand dollars a year. In 1992, the year he went to his 10-year high school reunion, he earned $3,512, and he joked about the ladies at the reunion lining up to give him blowjobs.
He said his early earnings became sobering, if not depressing, and it was at that time that Carolla told himself he needed to do something with his life by the time he was 30.
Soon after, he met Jimmy Kimmel, who was the “Kevin and Bean” morning radio show sports reporter in L.A. at the time. Kimmel thought he was funny, put him on the radio, and kick-started his career in showbiz.
Finally, we were shown the line item for the year 2003, where after gigs wth “Loveline” and “The Man Show,” his reported earnings for the year were over $2,000,000.
The comedy show took an unexpected but welcome motivational turn as the show ended. Carolla let the audience know that “it’s not about the money, it’s about doing what you want to do.”
On that note, Carolla sent the audience on their way, high on endorphins and having received an inspirational kick-in-the-pants.
“Take the weekend, and think about what you want to do,” he said. “Then noon Monday, start the dream!”
Photo credit: Barry David Marcus