Adam Carolla, the former host of Loveline with Dr. Drew and the Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel, has found success in a new format.
Carolla, who hosted a morning radio show in Los Angeles until February, made the transition from radio to podcasting. And two of his podcasts are in the iTunes Top 10. Carolla says one of them, CarCast, was inspired by public radio's Car Talk — but, he says, his show is funnier.
"I listened to that show quite a bit, and I would see when I would go to iTunes that it was a perennial Top 10," Carolla, who also hosts the Adam Carolla Podcast, tells NPR's Madeleine Brand. "And I thought: 'I think we could do better than that.' They're funny for mechanics, not funny for funny people."
Carolla is a guy's guy, but funny. After he co-hosted Loveline and the Man Show, he became the West Coast replacement for Howard Stern when the shock jock went to satellite radio. Quickly, he became known as the Howard Stern of California. Carolla, however, says that's not the real him.
"If you're living in Kentucky and working at a Wal-Mart, you should definitely see me and ask me where the juggies are and where the trampoline is and how come I'm not holding a beer," he says. "But if you're from Los Angeles, and you work in the industry, you shouldn't think of me as that. You should understand that that's a bit of a role."
But Carolla acknowledges that many of his experiences from before he attained stardom have shaped him. He says that his portrayal as a working-class guy who likes to hang out at Home Depot and drink a beer with his pals isn't shtick.
"I didn't have any success in show business until I was 30 to 31 years of age," Carolla says. "I had a lot of years before that that were really just sort of low-rent, just super-blue collar, toiling in the dirt and the sun and all that kind of stuff.
"I had so much of that in me by the time I got into show business that the cement had sort of dried."
Carolla made $1.8 million a year during his last year on CBS Radio before he was replaced by top-40 music. Carolla says it's becoming difficult to work on radio because the paradigm has changed.
"They've figured out that playing music for essentially free gets them the same ratings than putting a bunch of people to talk on the radio gets," he says. "So, they can spin a couple of Lady Gaga records and get the same ratings as from me talking, but they don't have to pay Lady Gaga."