When you ask Adam Devine when he started performing, here is something you don’t expect him to say: “I was hit by a cement truck.” Devine was an 11-year-old all-star shortstop, with very 11-year-old dreams of playing professional baseball. That changed one day, when Devine went to a store with some friends. “We were gonna go get candy,” he says. “And also rip pages out of Penthouse. That was a real agenda.”
As they left the store, there was a miscommunication. “One buddy was across the street. He yelled ‘Come on!’ as in ‘I’m excited to go look at boobs!’ And I heard ‘Come on!’ as in ‘The coast is clear!'” Devine walked with his bike onto the road — right into the path of the aforementioned truck. “They say the reason I lived was the bike took the hit first,” he says. “I still slid 500 feet. Picked me up under the first two wheels and then spit me out.”
Devine spent the next two years with limited mobility, ultimately undergoing 25 surgeries. Two decades later, the co-creator of Comedy Central’s Workaholics and star of the new raunchy rom-com Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates can look back on the accident with surprising clarity. “I’m glad that it happened to me,” he says. “It really gave me a driving force.” Confined to a wheelchair, Devine started writing down jokes, sketches; he would call into a local radio station and do characters, or perform a Chris Farley impression.
“A lot of comics say that something traumatic happened in their lives, that sort of pushes them in this direction,” Devine notes. “Some of their dads burned them with cigarettes and stuff. My dad just pushed me in a wheelchair, you know? It coul dbe much worse. I just had a cement truck.”