‘Being rich used to be cool in this country,” says Adam Carolla. The 47-year-old comedian remembers the good ol’ days, when “even if you couldn’t afford a BMW, you would buy one” to impress women. Now, “the guys who are getting laid the most are the ones with the skinny arms who are driving the Priuses.”
It’s a strange world.
But Carolla sees the humor in it; he exploits it, really, in his daily podcast, The Adam Carolla Show, which, with 60 million downloads, is the most-downloaded podcast in the world, according to Guinness World Records. And he points out the similarities between the rich and the poor in his new e-book, Rich Man, Poor Man, which debuted at number two on iTunes.
The rich and the poor live a lot alike, Carolla contends: They wear their pajamas all day; they take outdoor showers; they keep their dogs with them at all times. “If you row,” for instance, “you’re either a poor, old fisherman [living in a] little village, or you’re on the Harvard crew team,” he says. “Middle-class people don’t really row
anything.” Not using a wallet is also a shared trait: “Either you have a money clip with your initials on it, or you have a wad of singles in your pocket.”
Carolla warns his fans not to read any deeper social commentary into his jokes. He makes them because they’re funny. Listing the similarities between the rich and the poor is “really just a way to amuse yourself,” he says. “It just kind of turned out to be timely in terms of what we’re going through.”
Not that he’s agnostic on the issue. He hates the fact that the rich have to pretend they’re not wealthy. “We’ve turned our world into some kind of prison yard, and if somebody finds out you’ve got a couple of cartons of cigarettes stuffed down your pants, you’re going to get torn apart [on] the handball courts.”
Given the contributions rich families such as the Carnegies and the Rockefellers have made to the arts, Carolla finds it “weird” to equate rich with evil. If the rich are evil, “why are you sitting in their library? Why are you sitting in their hall? Why did I just listen to a whole show on orangutans with no commercials that they paid for?”
When asked about the hullaballoo over Mitt Romney’s tax returns, Carolla adds, “I don’t know who is sending mosquito nets over trying to cure malaria in Africa, but last time I checked it was Bill Gates. Is Bill Gates evil? Are all rich guys evil or just guys with nice hair?”
Despite the fact that he bears no political label, Carolla became a darling of the Right in December when he called Occupy Wall Street protesters “a bunch of f***ing self-entitled monsters.” On reflection, Carolla is more forgiving. He sums up: “Their heart’s in the right place, but their a** is blocking traffic.”
He actually agrees with them on one thing: “I don’t like lobbyists and generous campaign contributions affecting policy. I think that should be illegal.” He knows congressmen engage in insider trading, but “I really do think nine out of ten of us would probably do that and not think that much about it. We’re asking these people to be better than that; we’re not making them.”
Despite the flaws in our system, “it’s about the best the world has to offer, which is, come here, work hard, and you can succeed.”
Carolla chafes at the idea that the rich got their money from their mommies and daddies. “With every person I know who is considered rich — who makes more than $200,000 — it has nothing to do with their parents, other than maybe their parents fed them, raised them, and possibly helped them with college.” Rather, “every guy I know who makes over $250,000 has two or three jobs, and their parents are in a completely different field: They’re schoolteachers, bus drivers, or they work for the post office.”