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Adam CarollaFame & 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.

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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 CBS Radio).

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 computer.

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 important.

 
 
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