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Why Adam Carolla Chose Comedy Over Carpentry

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Why Adam Carolla Chose Comedy Over Carpentry

On this special episode of Rock Stars of Remodeling, comedian Adam Carolla shares his construction background and how he moved into the entertainment industry

April 9, 2024
adam carolla construction

Before co-hosting "The Man Show" with Jimmy Kimmel, and before "Loveline" with Dr. Drew, and even before co-creating "Crank Yankers" on Comedy Central, Adam Carolla worked in construction.



"Right out of high school, I just basically walked down to a construction site. I just worked as a laborer, it was the only job I ever had other than show business and McDonald's," says Carolla. "I literally started the ditch digger, and I just sort of made my way up through finish carpenter."

On this special episode of Rock Stars of Remodeling, Carolla discusses his career in construction and why he ultimately chose comedy over carpentry. He also shares his thoughts on his visit to the 2024 NAHB International Builders' Show and the 30th annual Pro Builder Show Village.

If you, like millions of others, have followed his career closely, you know he's deeply connected to the construction industry and has produced a variety of home improvement programs over the years.

And hear about his latest project, an animated series about a wood shop teacher, "Mr. Birchum."



Adam Carolla  00:00
I probably would have remained being a carpenter if it paid the same as show

Drew Barto  00:11
welcome to rock stars of remodeling a podcast presented by Pro Remodeler Media where the best and brightest stars and home improvement share actionable insights with like minded industry standouts like you.

I'm your host Drew Barto. I spent 13 years as a director of marketing for replacement window and door company in Pittsburgh, where I learned a lot from some of the great minds in the home improvement industry. I aim to bring many of those voices to you on the show to help you gain more leads, close more sales and boost your bottom line. Let's rock.

Hi, everyone. Thank you for joining me for a very special episode of rock stars of remodeling. Today's guest needs no introduction, but he's getting one anyway. Adam Carolla co hosted Loveline with Dr. Drew co created and co hosted the Man Show with Jimmy Kimmel, and CO created crank anchors on Comedy Central among a host of other successful TV shows.

And now, he has one of the most popular podcasts on the planet, the Adam Carolla show, if you like millions of others have followed Adams career. You know, he's deeply connected to the construction industry, and has produced a variety of home improvement programs. And that's what we're going to dive into today. Adam, thank you so much for joining me on rockstars remodeling.

Adam Carolla  01:13
Thanks for having me.

Drew Barto  01:15
Yeah, I'm excited to talk to you. I know. I know. You recently paid a visit to the NAHB International Builders' Show in Vegas, and spent some time at Pro Builder's Show Village. You know, I'd love to get your thoughts on those events. But But first, I want to better understand your connection to the home, the home improvement industry and, and why you've created so many shows related to it. Were you involved in construction prior to your entertainment career taking off? 

Adam Carolla  01:36
Yeah, I was a carpenter for many years before I got into show business. So right out of high school, I just basically walked down to a construction site, I just worked as a laborer, it was the only job I ever had. Other than show business and McDonald's a while I worked my way, literally from ditch digger, which is how I started on it just happened to be a job that needed a lot of case on dugout and flooding and things like that.

I literally started the ditch digger and I just sort of made my way up through Finish Carpenter, basically. But I did rough and, you know, framing and foundation and earthquake rehab, and I worked at a couple different cabinet shops and worked at a Euro cabinet shop, you know, metric system stuff and worked at sort of standard American stuff, you know, laid up a lot of laminates, and I just did everything for a lot of years.

Drew Barto  02:39
How did you go from that to the entertainment career? What what sparked you there?

Adam Carolla  02:42
Well, I I liked the skill of carpentry. And I liked design and building and I liked all that stuff. But I just wasn't getting paid.

The way I could get paid if I if I did entertainment. And I just sort of consciously thought, Well, I'm gonna try to transition from one thing I could do to another thing I could do. And I felt like I could do. I felt like I could do comedy or carpentry. And I've already doing content without third doing carpentry.

So I should try doing combinate I just banged away at it for about 10 years and eventually met Jimmy Kimmel and got a break. And he got me on to the radio. And once once I got on the radio just kind of took off.

Drew Barto  03:31
Yeah, it seems worked out pretty well for you, Adam, I know your podcast is super popular. And it's been going on for for quite some time. You've been doing podcasts for more than a decade kind of when podcasts were starting you were you were you were getting involved with it.

But I really wanted to see, you know, one of the shows I watched one of my favorites of yours was Catch a Contractor. Being in the home improvement industry myself, you know, dealing with a lot of shady contractors and trying to protect homeowners was was important to me. So what was your motivation to sort of call out these types of contractors that were ripping homeowners off? And was that show inspired by bad experiences you've had in the past? 

Adam Carolla  04:04
I haven't had too many bad experiences with contractors because I never really I did everything with me and Mike guys kind of thing. Once I got out of doing it myself. I started in on rehabbing a lot of houses once I could afford to buy a house and refurbish it.

So I have it I'm sure it's kind of us, me and my guys, occasionally there'd be some sub, but that shell was such a good idea. Like they just came to me and and I went oh, that's a good idea. And then I'm I'm sort of uniquely qualified to be involved with it because of my background.

So I knew I know what framing it's supposed to look like and I know what cabinetry so you know, I know what it all supposed to look like and what it's not supposed to look like because of how much of it I did. So for me it was fun. I mean I always liked I you know I probably Probably would have remained being a carpenter if it paid the same as show.

Drew Barto  05:06
Did you enjoy that work?

Adam Carolla  05:07
I do. I like projects, I like working with my hands. I like solving problems, I think it's makes save. I think it translates to other venues, I think a lot of the problems that we're having in society, it's a lot of people that never went out and solve problems all day like you do when you're on the job site, you know, they're getting an air conditioning, and they have a lot of kooky thoughts.

And there's kooky thoughts or from not really living in the real world where there's, you know, gravity and danger and things can happen. And I really do believe that you have to have a relationship with revs, which is on a jobsite, every time you pick up a tool, there's a risk to it, you know, I mean, I could remember firing up a router, you know, like a three horsepower plunge router, or something like that.

Or, you know, when you take a right angle, half inch chuck, drill, the big auger pin, and then you're drilling stuff, the Paulson collects through it or something like, stuff happens, like you have to kind of be prepared. Every time you climb a ladder or get up on some scaffolding, you have to kind of think about it a little bit.

And I realized that all those guys have a relationship with sort of danger, but they weigh it out, and they figure it out, then something like COVID comes through, and everyone goes in their house and duct tapes, the door shot. And I'm like, You have the wrong relationship with risk here, people and I was like, well just stay home. And I'm like, that's not the plan.

The plan is, how do you move forward in a safe way, not not staying home? And I realized I kind of got that through being a carpenter. It was never you're not going on the roof. It's how do you go on the roof and work safely?

Drew Barto  06:55
Now, it makes a lot of sense. There's a lot of risk in in home improvement and construction. And no, no job. No two jobs are the same.

And that's I think that's like you mention with problem solving, there's always a new problem to solve on any job site. And I think that's a great comparison you made there. Now we, Adam, we both attended the NAHB International Builders Show in 2024.

In Vegas, this had to be a lot of fun for you because it's it's all kinds of new products in construction and construction related. And I assume he got the walk the show floor. What were your impressions of the event? And did you did anything stand out to you?

Adam Carolla  07:26
Yeah, I love the big scale tile. I'm talking, I don't know, four foot by 10 foot. Yeah, cheese piece as a child. I love terrazzo. I'm a sucker for terrazzo. Air did the big Terada big format terrazzo tile thing, and I just sat looked at it, and I just like, had a butter up the back of that thing. And I think it's sanded and blades and do you use spacers? Like, how do you lay tile that's bigger than a sheet of plywood, write it out.

And literally, you just get a notch trowel and butter up the back of it like and in the, you know, the fix years, you know, the bathroom fixtures that sinks, you know, the ovens. I mean, I'm in Candyland. Those places I just can't believe how much of that stuff exists. It didn't exist back when I was doing it.

I mean, you know, bigger seats Italian it was maybe two foot by two foot, you know made that was considered exotic. 

Drew Barto  08:31
Yeah, it's an amazing show. I mean, there were over 100,000 attendees this year, at the at the event and it's just amazing, a shoulder shoulder walking through all like three or four buildings full of new products, innovative products. Now I also I know that you got to experience pro mother's sister publications, show Pro Builder's Show Village.

We celebrated our 30th anniversary this year. It's an was outdoor exhibited IBS. Now you have a chance to see that for yourself. What were your thoughts on that? 

Adam Carolla  08:59
Yeah, a lot of I'm guessing modular houses, I'm not sure. Yeah, some are modular and some are go by a different name, but pretty impressive stuff. I've been really interested in modular homes for a while now just because I like the idea of building the home in an area that has a roof on it.

And it's sort of weather proofed, you know, it always bothers me when I see houses in the neighborhood get built in, they're just fitting out there and they're draining. And then six months later, there's like mildew on the shear walls.

I love the idea of building a home in a factory in a in a place that is temperature controlled and and then just putting it together in one day, you know, on the job site. So I was really proud of that and also the price of some of those houses. It's so inexpensive compared to traditional building.

Drew Barto  09:53
It's impressive. The price points are not unreasonable at all. And if you're into those those sides of homes I think it's a great idea for a lot of people who are looking to invest there rather than build. Now, Adam before I before I let you go today, I wanted to see what you might have gone going on this year in 2024.

Anything new in addition to your show that you have going on in 2024,

Adam Carolla  10:14
I got an animated series coming out on the daily wire called Burcham, which it's about a woodshop teacher. The trailers out there if people want to Google, Mr. Birchum. And it's really funny, and there's a lot of good names involved with it, and it'll be coming out pretty soon.

Other than that, in the podcast every day, you know, tour the country doing live data is good AdamCarolla.com and find out when coming to a town near you.

Drew Barto  10:43
Sounds great. Adam, Adam curl everyone check out Adam carolla.com For more details on everything he's got going on, including his standup show dates. And, Adam, it's been a pleasure talking to you today. And thank you for joining me on rock stars remodeling.

Adam Carolla  10:56
Thanks for having me.

Drew Barto  10:57
Thank you for listening to rock stars of remodeling. As promised there were some amazing takeaways that you can use to build a better business for yourself, your employees and your customers. If you've got an idea for a future episode, or guests I should invite on the show. I'd love to hear from you. And don't forget to follow rock stars remodeling on Spotify or SoundCloud and click the like button on this episode. Until next time, rock on



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