By Adam Carolla It Books. 277 pp. $26.99
Adam Carolla’s fans are legion. They’ve made his first two books bestsellers and “The Adam Carolla Show” one of the most popular podcasts on the Web. And those fans have even loftier goals in mind for this acerbic commentator. “Not one stand-up show or live podcast goes by,” he writes in his new book, “where someone doesn’t say to me in the autograph line afterward, ‘Ace, you should run for president.’ ”
Ah, democracy. . . .
“President Me: The America That’s in My Head” is Carolla’s silly, vulgar manifesto. In a swaggering diatribe against ineptitude, narcissism and political correctness, the author cherrypicks his way through the U.S. government, describing what he’d change in each office and whom he’d appoint as Cabinet secretaries. Along the way, he delivers a vacuous, offensive address to the United Nations (“Italians are essentially dumb Jews”) before concluding with a lame State of the Union address (“America is back on top again because of me”).
Carolla believes that “the essence of comedy is taking an uncomfortable truth and finding humor in it. Taking something horrible like crime, war, poverty, or divorce, and making it funny.” But he doesn’t do that in “President Me.” He takes things that aren’t horrible, such as differences in race, ethnicity and gender, and makes really bad jokes about them. Pick a page at random and you’re likely to come across a line such as, “In my America, we will bring back the dumbwaiter, a little elevator in the wall in the middle of the hallway where you put your tray and send it down to the Mexicans in the basement.”
Throughout the book, Carolla feebly argues for what he believes are common-sense solutions to big-government problems, and he positions himself as someone who has risen from the 99 percent through “hard work, innovation, and captured opportunity.”These traits are presumably intended to earn favor with common men. Or at least white men. “And as far as ‘white privilege,’ speaking as a honky, I got none,” the author writes. “In fact, if I had been black or Hispanic I might have done better.”
Late in “President Me,” the author vows that he wouldn’t raise the minimum wage. “Greed is motivation,” he writes. “We can pretend that there’s no such thing as human nature and that we’re all not just shaved apes competing for resources, but that’s ignorance.”
Perhaps that ugly philosophy is the secret to his success. But if that’s the America in Carolla’s head, let’s hope it stays there.
Wilwol is a writer in Washington.