Reviewing, even commenting on, the Adam Carolla Show feels a bit hacky. I guess blogging on podcasts in general is a bit hacky. But what are you gonna do?
It’s like critiquing Chick-fil-A for a bunch of foodies; in many ways Carolla’s podcast stands as the definitive success model for the medium. Everyone’s heard of it, and it remains a quality piece of R-rated programming. But I have to say it: what happened to all the awesome guests?
Carolla summed it up in a recent episode when he revealed he was thrilled when guests used to cancel on Loveline. It seems he was always more comfortable just cracking wise with Dr. Drew. Well, he may be getting too comfortable again.
When you look at Carolla’s now behemoth operation, recorded in a state-of-the-art studio and supported by about a dozen sponsors, a host of other shows on his network, a successful liquor, a few best-selling books, a never-ending tour of live dates, and an upcoming motion picture, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why his “pirate ship” has become a big commercial and little else.
What we’ve all seen happen to the show over the years is not necessarily by design, but it’s completely obvious when you look at its trajectory. This is far from a sell-out accusation, or a “their first two albums were so much better” statement. Carolla and company are as funny as they ever were — still firing on all cylinders in that department; it’s the structure of the show that seems to be wanting these days.
To establish listenership, Carolla, with the help of former producer, Donny Misraje, corralled a cavalcade of B-listers to bolster downloads and iTunes reviews. With the help of Carolla’s substantial terrestrial fanbase, The Adam Carolla Podcast soared to the top of the iTunes charts. There was a new guest every day, and they were good guests. It was very dirty, and very entertaining.
The guests are few and far between these days though. With Misraje now long gone, and currently embroiled in a lawsuit with Carolla, the show has fallen back on the terrestrial format, wherein calls from listeners are taken every episode, and the guests are less guests than they are regular bit players. Though the go-tos (David Wild, Joe Koy, and David Alan Grier) are all great, they feel more like recurring characters than content purveyors. Its a very terrestrial play.
I’m not in any way attributing the show’s lapse in quality to Misraje’s absence. However, hiring someone over at Carolla digital who pushes back every now and then may not be a bad idea at this juncture.