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‘King of podcasts’ Adam Carolla speaks his mind

Adam Caroll| GETTY IMAGES

Adam Carolla | GETTY IMAGES

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Adam Carolla

Where: Genesee Theatre, 203 N. Genesee St., Waukegan

When: 8 p.m. Saturday

Cost: Tickets are $50, $35 and $25.

Info: geneseetheatre.com

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It’s been nearly 20 years since Adam Carolla made a life-altering decision: He volunteered to train Jimmy Kimmel in a celebrity boxing match in Los Angeles.

“He did a radio (show), and it was ‘Jimmy the Sports Guy’ vs., you know, ‘Michael the Maintenance Man’ for a morning radio stunt,” Carollo recalled, on the phone from Los Angeles, about the fateful developments in 1994.

“They needed trainers, and I was working as a boxing trainer at the time, and I said, ‘I’ll train one of these guys.’ I wasn’t thinking about training Jimmy, per se. I would have taken Michael the Maintenance Man and had a whole new career, I’m sure.”

He added that “I showed up at the radio station and Jimmy came down the hall, and he wasn’t doing anything. He was making, I don’t know, $53,000 a year working at the radio station? And he said, ‘When do you want to start?’ and I said, ‘How ’bout today?’”

The rest, as they say, is history, though Carolla sounds amazed to this day about the measures of fame that the two friends now share.

“I was out to dinner with him on — what was it? — Wednesday night,” he said, “and I’m sitting there talking to him and he’s talking about presenting at the Emmys, you know? And he hosted the Emmys last year. It’s crazy.”

Memories like these might be on the set list when Carolla brings the stand-up version of his portfolio to the Genesee Theatre in Waukegan on Saturday. But the 49-year-old California native could tackle anything, judging from an interview that touched on “The Celebrity Apprentice” and, yes, Miley Cyrus:

Q. For a show like the one at the Genesee Theatre, how much of that is scripted, how much is improvised and how much is it something you heard about that day that you want to talk about?

A. I like to — if at all possible, and it usually is possible — I like to open up by talking about something that has to do with the town, the city, the experience, even if it’s the airport or whatever it is, to make the show feel like it’s been personalized and customized. ... It’s usually something I noticed about the town on the way in, (or) something in the news, like, “Oh, daylight savings starts tomorrow.”

Q. With what’s been going on in the news this month, is there anything that jumps out that you’d like to riff on?

A. The way I work is, somebody has to stimulate me — you can’t just go, “What’s funny,” or, “What are you thinking about?” I have to experience something, and then I can do 10 minutes on it.

Q. All right, let’s throw this at you — the last couple of weeks, everybody’s going off on Miley Cyrus. Cher went off on her the other day. What do you think about the whole “Wrecking Ball” video and the MTV Video Awards controversy?

A. It’s funny, but the harder she tries to be sexy, the less attracted I am to her — she’s really just become like a sorority chick who’s sloppy drunk and is trying to put her tongue in my ear, but her breath smells like Jack Daniel’s and Marlboro Lights, and it’s freaking me out.

And I’ve said many times, we have this thing where we’re like, “Oh she’s hot,” and she’s not attractive. Just because you’re skinny and you’re tan — basically, there’s a math that we do on attractive that I haven’t signed off on. Just because you’re tan and not old and skinny doesn’t make you hot. It gets you into a certain category, (like) 5 and above, but it doesn’t make you hot. That’s what I’d like to explain to Miley Cyrus.

Q. Talking about fame and choices, which would you rather do again — “Dancing With the Stars” or “The Celebrity Apprentice”? (Carolla appeared on both in the last five years and was sent home relatively early in each case.)

A. Oh, man. I wouldn’t want to do either one of them in a really bad way. But I imagine I’d say “Dancing With the Stars” because I could stay home in L.A. and get into shape, but both of them were uncomfortable. Not bad experience, but it’s like asking a Marine if he’d like to go through basic training again.

Q. You’re busy with the podcast and other gigs, but how much of your life now is touring?

A. I probably go out two times a month and do a few shows. It’s not a big part and not a small part. I never really do tours, I just never stopped doing tours. I set up a show, I do another show in some neighboring city and then I come home on Sunday. Bob Seger would be hard-pressed to write a song about what I do.

Q. By the way, how did Jimmy Kimmel do in the ring?

A. He was lousy at boxing. Jimmy is not a great athlete by any stretch of the imagination.



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