& Fortune: Comedian Adam Carolla
Getting rich turning old jobs into a media empire
Adam Carolla was cruising through his late teens as a journeyman carpenter
and boxing instructor when a local radio station decided it needed
a trainer to prepare its on-air personality, Jimmy the Sports Guy,
for a boxing event.
That Jimmy was Jimmy Kimmel, and the friendship that ensued has
led to a virtual media empire. Carolla became a regular on Kimmel's
radio show, and that eventually led to the formation of "The
Man Show," which became a hit on Comedy Central. Carolla had
also paired with Dr. Drew Pinsky on the show "Loveline,"
which became a long-running hit on both radio and TV.
Carolla and Kimmel created another hit show for Comedy Central,
"Crank Yankers," and then Kimmel got the ultimate promotion,
his own talk show on late night network television. Carolla, meanwhile,
has kept even busier than his old pal, if possible. He has two shows
on cable -- the Comedy Central talker "Too Late with Adam Carolla,"
and TLC's "The Adam Carolla Project," in which he and
his old construction buddies remodel houses. He also does the voice
for one of the characters on Comedy Central's animated "reality"
cartoon, "Drawn Together."
Now, as if that's not enough, he's stepping into the biggest challenge
of his career starting this morning -- taking over for Howard Stern
on the West Coast stations of Infinity Broadcasting (recently renamed
Bankrate spoke with Carolla about stepping into another man's legacy,
and how his success helps fuel his interests.
Bankrate: Howard Stern's fans are legendary for their loyalty. What
has been the response from them so far?
Adam Carolla: I have no idea. You mean, people stopping me in the
street kind of thing?
Bankrate: Or any buzz on Web sites?
Adam Carolla: I don't
know. I don't know how to work a computer. I've never put my name
in a computer, never looked on any Web sites. Somebody has owned
adamcarolla.com for 10 years, and I don't even know who owns it.
Never even tried to get it back. So I have no idea. I'm sure they're
bitterly disappointed. I don't need to confirm it by going on the
Bankrate: While Howard's fans are loyal, many of them are probably
the same people who watched The Man Show. Is that going to make
the transition a little easier?
Adam Carolla: Stern wanted me to be a part of the show on a regular
basis at one point. When I told him I couldn't relocate, we had
an ISDN line installed in my house so that when Artie (Lange) was
off shooting a movie or something, I would fill in. So I have the
unique experience of not only going on the show as a guest, which
I've done many times, but going on as part of the crew for five
hours at a time. I've probably done Stern 20, 25 times.
Bankrate: Since you're taking over for Howard Stern, are you getting
anything close to Howard Stern money?
Adam Carolla: No. I'm
getting a lot of money, I'm just not getting anything close to Stern
money. In success, I'm sure I'll be compensated handsomely. But
first we have to have some success. The other thing is -- I know this
sounds corny -- it's about the money for everything for me, except
for radio. I've been making plenty of money doing TV, probably a
lot more than most people would think doing basic cable, and financially
it has not been necessary for me to do radio, and I've never left
it. Money's nice, obviously, but there are things that are more