To many people, comedian Adam Carolla is a just a voice — granted, they know him from his decade hosting the popular radio show “Loveline” or his “Adam Carolla Show” podcast that broke records as the most-downloaded podcast of all time. (More than 60 million people have downloaded.) So it might jarring to not only see him on television Sunday night, but see him holding power tools as he helps reconstruct houses.
On Carolla’s new reality show “Catch a Contractor” (premiering Sunday at 10 p.m. on Spike TV), he seeks justice for wronged homeowners whose contractors did a shoddy job and disappeared. Carolla and a team of construction experts lure the shady contractor to a “sting” house where a pricey new job awaits; when the contractor shows up, the angry homeowners are waiting to get revenge. The “revenge” is that Carolla and his team oversee the contractors as they re-do the messes they left behind.
It might surprise some to know that Carolla is a carpenter himself — he spent a decade working in construction before he became famous co-hosting “Loveline” and later “The Man Show” on Comedy Central alongside Jimmy Kimmel. Since then, he’s also made appearances on “Dancing With the Stars” and “Celebrity Apprentice” (he lasted four weeks in both competitions). After talking to Carolla via phone (he was in his podcast studio that he built himself) here are some insights we learned about his passion for building things, why he’s making another attempt at TV and his thoughts on pal Jimmy Kimmel’s new trend of viral YouTube pranks.
On whether this show was inspired by a bad experience with a contractor:
Nope – that’s just because Carolla’s usually always the contractor on his own projects. Although he claims he’s worked with plenty of slacker subcontractors, he solves that problem by being in charge himself.
On if the show’s shady contractors were embarrassed when they were caught in their lies:
No so much. “They don’t have embarrassed as a gear,” Carolla explains. After all, if they had shame, they wouldn’t be up to the shenanigans they pulled. Reactions from caught-in-the-act contractors were more surprised and flat-out angry.
On what was appealing about being back on TV:
“People periodically come to me and say, ‘Hey, we want to pitch you a TV show!’” Carolla says, but that’s usually just a drunk guy at a party and it rarely works out. However, the simplicity of this idea appealed to Carolla’s sense of justice, along with the carpentry hook and the fact that it was completely unscripted. “You could say what you wanted to say.”
On whether people say, “Wait, what, Adam Carolla knows a lot about construction?”
Carolla jokes that people are surprised he knows anything: “If I said I was a certified public accountant they would be surprised.” Construction has always been his outlet: “I’m very hands on and very into building – I’ve always had that part of my life.”
On why he’s unfazed by his ability to build cool stuff:
Carolla’s helped build enough houses to be unimpressed by the fact that he builds houses. “That’s the thing that’s weird about it, when people who don’t build want to talk to you about building,” he says – they assume he stands back and gazes in wonderment at his creation. Not so much: Does Paul McCartney listen to Beatles songs all day and cry with pride? Probably not. “For me, I just move on to my next project…I’m standing right now in the studio I built for my podcast,” Carolla says, shrugging it off. “Now, if I wrote a Beatles song, I would be very impressed.”
On if people recognize his voice over the phone when he calls to order pizza or something:
Carolla admits that this has happened, though it’s hard to get real stats because most people don’t say anything. If he calls 10 places, one of them might recognize his “nasally drone” and think it’s Adam Carolla — it’s unlikely they’re brave enough to ask.
On his thoughts about former “Man Show” co-star Jimmy Kimmel’s slate of viral YouTube pranks:
To Carolla, this is just a natural growth of Kimmel’s longtime love of pranks. “Jimmy’s always made prank phone calls, he didn’t need to videotape it,” Carolla says. “That’s just what he did.” He compares Jimmy Kimmel realizing you could do pranks on the Internet to a guy addicted to porn who just discovered there’s porn on the Internet – why would you ever do anything else?
“Catch a Contractor” premieres Sunday, March 9 at 10 p.m. on Spike TV.