Road Tripping

By Jim Ruland

Adam Carolla's career has been all over the map. From short stints on Dancing with the Stars and Celebrity Apprentice to long hauls on Loveline with Dr. Drew, The Man Show (co-starring Jimmy Kimmel) and The Adam Carolla Show on CBS, Carolla is as versatile as he is entertaining.

That hasn't changed since he set out on his own. In 2009, he launched "The Adam Carolla Show" from his home studio in Los Angeles, which has earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records for the most downloaded podcast.

The native Southern Californian has a simple strategy for navigating the terrain of multiple mediums.

"The bottom line is, you take your sense of humor and you take your sensibility, and that's what you bring to it. You can bring it to a book, you can bring it to a podcast or you can bring it to a live show."

Which is precisely what Carolla will be doing on Cinco de Mayo.

He'll be making his way from L.A. to San Diego's Spreckels Theater to do a two-man show with radio personality Dennis Prager. It seems like an odd combination: Prager is an orthodox Jew. Carolla is an unrepentant atheist. But the odd couple approach has worked for Carolla before, during his years working with the unflappable Dr. Drew Pinsky.

"When you have two guys whose combined radio experience is 50 years, you're not going to have a lot of dead air."

Carolla hopes this visit to San Diego will go more smoothly than his first trip. When he was 16 years old, he borrowed his dad's VW Rabbit and set out with a friend for America's Finest City on a "dude vacation."

"I don't know what we were doing."

After dropping their stuff at a motel, they went to the zoo. When it got dark, they headed back to the motel, and that's when the trouble started.

"Neither one of us had any idea where the motel was. There were no cell phones or print outs or GPS or anything. We couldn't even remember the name of the place. It was back in the drive-around-find-a-motel-pull-up-ask-if-they-had-an-open-room days. No one could help us."

After driving around for three hours, they finally stumbled upon their motel. Moral of the story: It's hard to find your way when you don't know where you're going. Sometimes you get lucky. Sometimes wandering off course provides the path your were meant to follow.

Case in point, a career in food service was derailed when Carolla's application for employment at a North Hollywood Taco Bell was denied.

"It's a blow to your ego when Taco Bell says you're not Taco Bell material," Carolla says.

The experience provided Carolla with a valuable life lesson-and the title for his new book, Not Taco Bell Material, a memoir structured around all the places he's lived from childhood to now.

Luckily for his fans, Carolla has blazed a trail for which there is no roadmap. 

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