The host of 'Loveline' explains how real-life teens are more screwed up than their on-screen counterparts

By Josh Wolk
Updated March 09, 1999 at 05:00 AM EST


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Fielding graphic sexual questions as cohost of MTV’s ”Loveline” (weeknights at 11:30 p.m.), Adam Carolla is not known for subtlety. While his partner, Dr. Drew Pinsky, gives clinical responses to the seriously confused teens, Carolla can be counted on to pipe up with masturbation advice or a far-too-personal analogy to his own bedroom peccadilloes.

And now he’s getting another opportunity to showcase his missed manners:”The Man Show,” a weekly comedy series that Comedy Central will air starting June 16. The series will feature all things that men supposedly love, like ”midgets and fat guys and explosions and monkeys and girls in bikinis jumping on trampolines,” says executive producer Daniel Kellison. EW Online spoke with Carolla, 34, and asked him about his reputation as a sexual-dysfunction know-it-all, his celebrity guests’ misfired advice, and what it means to be a man.

Because they only know you from ”Loveline,” do your fans start blabbing about their sexual experiences to you when they meet you in person?
Yeah, they do a lot of opening up. But I don’t think it’s because they think I have an answer for them. I’m like everyone’s drunken atheist cousin. People know where I’m coming from, and they know they’re not going to offend me, so it makes it more apt to just come up and start saying things. They know I’m not gonna pass judgment on them — even though I secretly do.

Sometimes your celebrity ”Loveline” guests pipe in with some pretty off-base advice. Do you ever wish they’d keep their mouths shut?
Celebrities live in a world that’s a bit different. When I say something stupid, my friends tell me, ”That’s stupid, you don’t know what the f— you’re talking about.” But a lot of celebrities don’t get enough of people telling them, ”Hey, shut up, you a–hole.” They surround themselves with a lot of people who do a lot of head nodding, so after enough years of that, you stop editing yourself, and you start coming up with a lot of harebrained schemes. It’s usually some sort of half-baked philosophical thing that has to do with ”The Man.”

Teen movies and TV shows are really hot now. How are teenagers’ troubles different in real life from the way they’re shown on the screen?
Their problems are a little more deep-rooted or complex. The teens who we speak to have troubles that started at age 2 1/2 and went on for years and years, and a good talking-to at 18 is not gonna erase it. The movie version has troubled kids, but the right counselor’s gonna straighten them out overnight, or (they’ll be cured by) a brush with death or becoming Prom Queen. But (in real life) it takes eight years of therapy, not winning one football game.

You spend all your time analyzing people’s problems. Do you find yourself judging your friends?
It creeps into my life, but not to distraction. I was a carpenter for 12 years, and I can go to someone’s house and enjoy a meal and leave without trying to fix something. It doesn’t mean I won’t notice things. If you were an orthopedic surgeon you’d probably notice someone’s posture, but it doesn’t mean you’d be compelled to crack their back. You’re like mall security who’s on his way home and just watching some lady being held up, but you keep on walking.

Wow. You are king of analogies.
Well, I give that last one a 4. They’re never thought out, and they’re rarely repeated.

”The Man Show” sounds unapologetically un-P.C. Do you expect any complaints?
We would anticipate a certain amount, yeah. I’ll make another analogy here. Pretend you’re an artist and you paint a painting. If a certain percentage of people don’t hate it, you’re not really doing your job, are ya? If they don’t, then it’s just dogs playing poker or clowns crying. I’m hoping that 80 percent of the people will be fanatical about the show, and 20 percent will want to kill us. To me, that’s much better than 100 percent giving us a 5.

So being hated doesn’t worry you at all?
We had the same thing going in with ”Loveline.” It’s weird, now that it’s been in the lexicon for a while, it’s just ”Loveline.” But three years ago, it was “‘Loveline’…what’s that? These guys sit around talking about the vagina? That don’t sound like a good idea.”

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