Adam Carolla on Porn, Patent Trolls and Lena Dunham

The podcast host defends his O’Reilly gig and talks 'Catch a Contractor'

Adam Carolla catch a contractor
Courtesy of Spike TV
Adam Carolla on 'Catch a Contractor'
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“I’ve always wanted to do a home improvement show,” says Adam Carolla, while driving to a racetrack in Northern California. He got his wish with Spike TV’s Catch a Contractor, where Carolla, a licensed contractor named Skip Bedell and his detective wife lure deadbeat contractors to a house and confront them; the accused can either finish the job or endure a legal battle. “It sounded wildly uncomfortable to me because a lot of these guys are volatile and scary – and I just thought it'd definitely be the kind of show I'd like to watch.” Carolla (who hosts the most downloaded podcast of all time) discussed his war with patent trolls, defended his gig as a talking head on The O’Reilly Factor, explained why he doesn’t think Lena Dunham hasn’t changed the way men look at women – and why he doesn’t think we should make any more porn.

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Finding a good contractor seems to be a universal problem. What are your tips for finding a good one?
You know, always word of mouth, always ask for references. If you walk into someone's kitchen and you love it and that person tells you "Here's who did it, and the guy was clean and courteous" – you know, it's pretty much as old as time gets in terms of being pretty straightforward. Let the guy show you a couple of pictures. You can go online at any city you're in, get the guy's license number, see if there's any blemishes or leans or any of that kind of stuff.

Why do you think this business is so ripe for people ripping other people off?
Well, you know, a lot of these guys are not doing it because they have a love of woodworking or home improvement. Think about all those guys you went to high school with. Some of them went off to college and became doctors and lawyers — and then there were the rest. They had to make a living and they ended up selling used RVs or installing linoleum. Whatever it is, you think they had a love of it? Do you think that's what they fantasized about when they were 10 years old? No. They have to do something for a living. Most general contractors and carpenters that I've come in contact with don't have a love of any of that. They just have to make a living.

Rochelle and Scott Waters, who appeared on the show, are now suing for more than $2 million after they say more than 200 gallons of raw sewage spilled into their home in California.
My take on that is we took their place, which was a disaster, and made it beautiful. The contractors were all licensed, every aspect of that job was inspected and signed off by the city, by the city inspector, so you do the math on that lawsuit. That’s all I've got to say about that.

You’re also engaged in a lawsuit with “patent trolls” [the tech company Personal Audio], who you’ve said are basically suing you for having a podcast. First of all, what are patent trolls?
They’re sort of this country at it's worst – the thing that would make the founding fathers never stop yakking into a garbage can. They’re basically a group of attorneys that buys up old patents and then figures out how to sue people, no matter how distant the connection is between the patent and the person that's using the technology. They'll make some sort of paper-thin connection to what they're doing and then slap 'em with a lawsuit. They're set up in Eastern Texas. It's good business for the town they're in, and that's their business.

How’s the lawsuit going?
It’s going well. We've raised over $175,000 dollars, though we need a million dollars. It’s meritless. Unfortunately the only way to prove that it's meritless is to pay lawyers a million dollars and go to court. We have no choice but to do it. We feel like if we just rolled over and paid up with these guys, everyone who does a podcast would be next. So what we're asking is that the podcast community sort of band together, rallies their troops and contributes to this legal defense fund – it's at fundanything.com/patenttroll. When we do that, we'll beat them and they'll go away and we can get on with our lives.

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You’ve been appearing on The O’Reilly Factor since 2012. How much shit have your friends in Hollywood given you?
Not from friends, but when Variety does a review of Catch a Contractor, they have to start it off by announcing that Adam Carolla, “one of Fox News' dancing clowns” is insane. I don't know what one has to do with the other. You know this town, they do this thing where it's like, “The media is not left-leaning.” Really? Why do half the reviews that involve me have to work politics into then a show that has no politics in it. If Janeane Garofalo came out with a show, would you start it with her politics and then get on to the contracting stuff?

I guess it's because there's not that many people in Hollywood who would go on O'Reilly?
Yes, and by the way, I am not right wing. I simply talk realistically about education, family, smaller government and less taxes — and that has made me right wing. I never was right wing. I've been talking for two decades on the radio about the importance of staying together and raising your own kids – and not crapping out kids if you can't afford 'em. That's my rap since 1995. Somehow that's turned me into Rush Limbaugh. It's never changed, so I haven't changed.

Are you a Fox News fan? Do you watch it in your downtime?
I don't actually watch all that much news, because once you read enough stories about yourself, you realize how inaccurate most of the stuff is. I just basically watch car shows.

Do you think Fox is “fair and balanced?”
I think that Fox basically pushes back against CNN, and CNN pushes back up against Fox or MSNBC. But I've got to tell you: I wasn't that familiar with O'Reilly. I mean, of course I knew who he was. When I started doing the show, I'd be listening to his talking points and I agree with 9 out of 10 of them. My feeling is, if you're going to report a story where you know some college student killed himself because his roommate was gay-bashing him, that's not the truth. I know everyone picks that story up and runs with it, and I know it's salacious and fun and somebody's getting bashed. But I don't feel like I'm getting the truth from CNN when they report those kind of stories.

I know Fox does the same thing, and that's what it's turned into – I mean, it's not the news anymore. It's just opinions. I would challenge anyone who just think a guy like O'Reilly is some sort of right-wing hate monster. Listen to what his points of views are on many different topics. Most of it comes down to common sense. It may be stuff you don't want to hear, it may be stuff that some people don't want to hear and some communities don't want to hear, but it doesn't mean it's not true.

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You defended Chris Christie about a year ago – what do you make of his recent debacle?
Oh, you mean about this whole like "Bridgegate" stuff? If it gets back that he did this, that’s about as low as you can go. But I've always said that if Christie wants to shut down a bridge, all he has to do is try to ride a bicycle across it. That's at least three lanes right there, right? I mean, that's more delays than any orange cone could ever create, right?

Do you think there's too many late night shows now?
You're talking to a guy who does a podcast in a world where there's a million podcasts.  So I watch Kimmel, I support my buddy Jimmy. As far as everything else: The pie gets cut into thinner pieces every year. The Dukes of Hazzard, Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Hart to Hart — all those horrible shows from my childhood would get 30 million viewers, and now, I don't know, Breaking Bad gets 2.5 or 3 million or Girls gets 750,000. Everyone has to fight extra hard for an ever-shrinking wafer of pie.

What do you think of Girls?
I think it's a well-written show. [But] you know, there’s something that bothers me about miserable comedians – the “I'm a mess” comedians, like “Oh my God, oh I have to go here and it's gonna suck, it's gonna be horrible.” It’s well-written and well acted, but this thing where, you know, she's changing the way men look at women in their sexuality and so forth? That part is nonsense. Guys like one thing. We pretty much worked that out a billion years ago, and no matter how much she gets naked, that's never going to change. There was just an article from the L.A. Times a few months ago that talked about that — that's not going to change. But making people laugh? That's a good thing.

What do you think of the nudity on the show?
I'm all for nudity. I'm just saying, I've seen plenty of, say, Real Sex on HBO, and they go into Germany and they got those husky chicks and the bondage whatever and they're covered in latex – that doesn't get me to change the way I feel about sexuality or what I'm attracted to. That’s just a husky chick wearing a truck inner tube. I ain't into it. 

I don't know any guy that’s been forced to change the way he looks at women's sexuality by women that they don't particularly want to see naked getting naked in front of them. That’s me. Do you know any guys who have changed what they like sexually since, oh, I don't know, junior high? Some guys are ass guys, some guys are boobs guys, some guys are into other guys...[I don't think]  a TV series has been able to change that for anybody, but good writer, funny show.

A lot of the comedy duos end up hating each other over time. That doesn’t seem to have happened with you and Jimmy Kimmel.
I had dinner with Jimmy in Austin during SXSW, and I talked to Dr. Drew on the phone for like an hour the other day, There’s just one common denominator here which is me, and I must be the world's coolest dude. But I take a lot of pride in the fact that I met Jimmy – our 20th anniversary is coming up in probably a matter of weeks. And I met Dr. Drew probably a few months after that and started working with him a year or two later. I consider them two of my closest friends.

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I heard you say on Howard Stern that you’re not a big David Letterman fan.
I’ve always been a fan of his work; I’m not a fan of him personally. Part of that is, we're just trying to get him do this Paul Newman racing documentary, and he declined to do that. I respect the man's work, but I don't think I'd want to have a beer with him.

Do you have a sense of what he’s really like?
I think the boss' office door should basically always be open, and I think his has a deadbolt on it. That's the way he chooses to do business. It doesn't matter to me because I don’t work for him. Again, I think he's a super funny, innovative pioneer, he's going to go down as one of the best. I don't happen to think he's a nice guy.

You’re a regular Howard Stern guest — is his door always open?
He’s had the same group of people around him for 30 years. It’s usually hard to be a dick and manage to keep the same people around you for that period of time. He's always nice to me, he's always friendly and generous and sweet, so I'd imagine he's doing something right.

You’ve spent decades in radio. Why have so many rock stations basically shut down?
I have twin seven-year-olds, and I could only imagine explaining to my daughter how you sit by this box with a knob on it and wait for a song that you like to come on. She'd go, well, that's insane; I can listen to anything I want. I'll have that conversation with her the same way I'll explain [to my son] how guys used to go to the Pussycat Porn Theater and all sit together and watch porno as a large group of likeminded gents. He will be as equally as confused by that conversation as I have with the radio conversation with my daughter.

I saw an article saying the porn industry is basically dying.
I'm curious, why we are producing anymore porn? Do you not feel like you could spend the rest of your life looking at porn you hadn't seen the day before, and there would still be more porn left after you died that you didn't get to? It's not like The Sopranos or something, where you get the box set and you get all caught up. I feel like if you gave me a thousand lives and a hundred computers, I couldn't get through what we currently have banked in the porn vault. I just don't feel like we could ever go through it. There are 2000 porn movies all around the world being shot as we speak; meanwhile, there's two million that I haven't seen yet. How big does the vault in your spank bank need to be? That's my question.

Who would you want to see as the next President?
I'll just say Lena Dunham. I feel like that would make me a hero in this town.