On the road again with Adam Carolla’s funny vehicle.
Some guys, when confronting a midlife crisis, will get a sports car or a goomah. Adam Carolla, on the other hand, made a film. Road Hard is Adam’s Annie Hall, a barely disguised and awesomely told auto-bio pic concerning a comedian forced to return to the road to make a living. The road is one-way, paved with good intentions. Adam’s dilemma: Click it or ticket. The goal: Find an exit, and step on it.
His character, Bruce Madsen, resorts to performing in comedy clubs, in front of brick walls and stoned faces. His movie and TV career had hit said brick wall, and the road that awaits him is The American Dream in reverse: flying coach, two-star hotels, and drunken patrons who only remember his work from a decade before (in this case, The Bro Show, a take on Adam’s real-life brilliant classic, The Man Show, co-hosted with Jimmy Kimmel).
In the film, Bruce’s constant Bro Show exchange is freeze-dried into the character of a floor buffer who recognizes him from back in the day.
“Hey, Bro Sho!” the floor buffer shouts as a dull lightbulb turns on over his head.
“That was heartbreaking, and it happened to me,” Adam tells me. “And when it happened to me, I remember feeling it. He’s bringing up a show I did thirteen years ago. In his mind, I’ve not done anything in thirteen years. It was humbling. And that’s the essence of this movie. This guy is getting humbled, and he’s gotta figure out a way to reconcile it or get out of it. And I think in his mind, the answer is always, ‘I need a show. A big show!’ But that’s not going to cure anything. Because [the big show] will eventually be off the air and then he’ll be back [on the road] again. I guess I was trying to show that the answer isn’t ‘more;’ maybe the answer is a completely different direction.”
Unlike his cinematic alter ego, Adam Carolla is not washed up. His podcast is one of the most downloaded on earth, his nationwide standup comedy appearances sell out, and his books have been New York Times bestsellers. Over 14,000 of Adam’s fans crowd funded the flick, and share a day-to-day familiarity with him that transcends any trace of a has-been.
“I love my fans,” he says, reaffirming that his meet-and-greets are a genuine lovefest and not just a formality. “That’s the reason I have a house.”
With a Paul Newman racing documentary in the works, another season of his Spike TV reality show To Catch A Contractor, and the continued success of his podcast empire, Adam has little time for more soul searching. Yet he leaves me with this thought:
“It’s helpful to be in charge of your own pirate ship and destiny. I’m just trying to balance that and being a dad, and racing a vintage car every blue moon. If [Road Hard is successful], maybe I’ll do another one. If it isn’t, I’ve gotta get back to feeding my twins.”
Find out more about Road Hard here.
Find out more about Adam and subscribe to his podcasts here.