Sharp-tongued comedian Adam Carolla and on-air personality Dr. Drew Pinsky have lately been known as a wildly successful podcaster and celebrity rehab adviser (respectively) but the two found fame as co-hosts of “Loveline,” the radio-show-turned ’90s MTV staple.
Pinsky, of course, is still hosting the radio version, among other projects, so when the two began hanging out again via Carolla’s podcast, they hatched the idea for a national tour that would revive the stage version of “Loveline” — complete with audience participation.
Neither host comes without controversy. The plain-spoken, decidedly Libertarian Carolla has been knocked for his politics and pro-male stance, and Pinksy has been criticized by comedians and media watchers for both his practices and results. But their straight man-comedian chemistry remains intact, as anyone who’s heard one of Carolla’s recent podcasts can attest.
We caught up with Carolla and Pinsky separately over the phone in the last few weeks to talk about the reunion tour — which visits Denver’s Paramount Theatre on Saturday, March 2 — their controversial reputations and what they know about each other that nobody else does.
Why did you decide to bring back this lineup of “Loveline” now — and why as a national tour?
Adam Carolla: Drew and I used to go out and do these tours years ago and we basically just went around the country. So I guess it’s kind of like getting the band back together. We did college campuses almost exclusively at the time. It was a good ten years ago and we both really enjoyed working with each other and doing our thing, so to speak, just being on stage together. Then we started doing a podcast together and kind of reunited a little bit, so at a certain point somebody who wanted to make money said, “Why don’t you guys go out together?” And since I like traveling and hanging out and sharing stage time with Drew, it seemed enjoyable. For the way I’m wired, it’s just much more enjoyable than going out there and doing a 90-minute stand-up show because I like the improvisational part of it so much. It became enticing to me, like, “Oh, this doesn’t feel like work!” Getting on a plane and going and doing a 90-minute stand-up show kind of feels like work. Not hard work, but work nonetheless.
Would you also compare it to getting the band back together?
Dr. Drew: That’s exactly what it is. (Adam) asked me on board his podcast network and I really enjoyed that, just the whole long form of being able to take the interview wherever you want it to go. I find that very exciting. I’ve done this (touring) myself around the country for years and we did it in the late ’90s together, so we thought, “Let’s try it again.” The atmosphere isn’t different dynamically. It’s the same phenomenon, it’s just the content is different and people are worrying about different things these days. It hit me between the eyes the other day when I was talking to a 22-year-old with four kids and I was thinking how we didn’t so much deal with that back in the day. These traumatic childhoods people are having, destroying families, the lack of education — people are not sure how to conduct a life and are getting into trouble with their relationships. It’s really more about survival in the world.
Can you describe your chemistry when you work together? Why do you think it worked for so long on the radio and MTV?
AC: We’ve got a good shorthand and done so many reps together that it’s hard to duplicate that unless you have 10,000 hours of time in the cockpit sitting next to your co-pilot. It’s just hard to get that over a weekend in the simulator. So, that’s why when we get together people are like, “Oh man, this is great!” And sometimes we kind of forget that when you take two guys that have sat next to each other for 11 years every night and put them together, yeah, there’s GONNA be something there– even if one’s funny and one’s a good straight guy. Truthfully, people say it about me and Jimmy (Kimmel, Carolla’s former co-host of “The Man Show”) too.
To extend the metaphor: do you also feel like this is the best lineup of this reunited band?
DD: Actually, I always I thought of “Loveline” as sort of parent-child kind of a conflict, an id/superego struggle. Fundamentally that’s how it’s setup, but the dynamic is so different because we’re both people that are trying to do two different jobs. We’re both very interested in people and life and society and how things are functioning. In our podcast we get into politics and all kinds of things we never used to get into on “Loveline.” But fundamentally we have two different priorities. I’m talking about health and he’s interested in entertaining people and being funny, but he’s interested in doing it in a way that people learn something, and that’s where we come back together again. So he tells stories or talks in metaphor.
Adam definitely seems to enjoy his metaphors.
DD: It’s like giving your dog a pill, but if you wrap it in turkey or Gaines-Burgers or peanut butter, they take it every time. Adam is the peanut butter and I’m the pill. He’s the Gaines-Burgers.
I guess that would make the audience the dog.
DD: Ha! Well, you know what I mean.
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