Adam Carolla Tells Clay & Buck How We Fight Cancel Culture

31 Jan 2022

CLAY: Welcome in Clay Travis, Buck Sexton show. Joined now by Adam Carolla of the Adam Carolla Show, the most downloaded podcast. If you’re in the Orange County area this Sunday, he’s got a comedy special for The Daily Wire with special guest stars William Shatner and Dennis Quaid. That’s pretty cool. You can pick up tickets at Adam, I mean, you think you’re doing a show with those two dudes, but they might cancel on you given that everybody’s getting canceled left and right. Are you confident they’re gonna be there?

CAROLLA: Oh, yeah, the show will go on — and, you know, something that just popped into my head as I was listening to the music that was playing that’s the Pretenders, obviously. Rush always used that song, and I talked to Chrissie Hynde, the lead singer of the Pretenders years ago. I interviewed her and I said, “How about the fact…?” And just hold this up against Neil Young and what’s going on today. I said, “You’re very liberal and left wing.” She said, “Yes.” “How about the fact that Rush Limbaugh uses your music as his intro music every episode?” And she said, “Yeah, that’s fine.”

CLAY: It is interesting how we’ve gotten there, right?


CLAY I mean, from total understanding that you might not always agree to you’ve got to be canceled.


BUCK: Hey, Adam, it’s Buck.

CAROLLA: And it’s driven by one side. Yeah.

BUCK: I just want to ask you, you have access to a lot of folks, you’ve been in the game of entertainment and you have Hollywood friends and everything. We just had Bill Maher — we played the audio; I’ve done that show a couple times — and Bill is a man of the left who is essentially saying, there is a real contingent on the left that is really driving a lot of these conversations about cancellation and about “misinformation” now. You hear this from the pulpit of the White House and the West Wing, too, but he’s essentially saying the left has gone insane. Are you hearing that in back channel from celebrities and people in that world that you know? Are they recognizing that the men can get pregnant line or the emoji that’s just come out, this has just gone too far?

CAROLLA: I think there’s a problem here, which is it’s all coming from people they voted for, and they just can’t admit that they voted for the wrong people. So, there’s a kind of a silence. There’s not an agreement, because sane people can’t agree with what they’re saying. But there’s more of just an overall silence because it’s their team that’s doing this.

CLAY: Adam, you’ve been doing your podcast for a long time. Joe Rogan now is under fire. We saw Dave Chappelle under fire for his comedy special recently. You know, in thinking about this, those guys feel like they’re big enough to be uncancelable. How do we come through the cancel culture era? Can we? Where do you see this thing going?

CAROLLA: Well, first off, as I’ve said for years: No apologies. Apologies get you nowhere. That doesn’t prevent anyone from being canceled. They’re still working under a playbook that some publicist put together from 2001, where you just read a prepared statement, apologize, and then you get to go back to your job. Apologies used to stop you from being canceled. They no longer stop you from being canceled. They just give momentum to the side that feels emboldened in terms of canceling. So you’ll notice the second everyone stops apologizing is the second it goes away.

BUCK: Adam, do you think that comedy has an opportunity here to make a comeback? You do political commentary, but you’re a comedian, I think, it’s fair to say, foremost perhaps, or at least for a long time. Do you think that there will be comedy making a comeback as people realize that if you can’t make jokes that offend anybody, you really can’t make jokes so this can’t go on forever in the way that it’s been going in this country?

CAROLLA: Yeah, I agree — and I’ve always said once they get to the comedians it means they got to everybody because the comedians are sort of the last to fall. But I was surprised and disappointed how many comedians just shut up and were scared for their livelihood as well. I do think there’s gonna be a backlash. I feel like you’re already seeing it. And the left overplayed their hand, and they lost guys like Bill Maher, and they’ve lost the Joe Rogans, and they’ve lost… They’ve lost a lot of champions on their side because they’ve overplayed their hands. And I know it’s gonna come back and bite them, and it already has.

CLAY: Adam, when you were doing The Man Show and when you were doing Loveline, do you ever go back…? First of all, those shows were amazing. And Buck and I sometimes say the late nineties and early 2000s were kind of like the best time in American history, because it felt like everybody was pretty much getting along. And the culture reflected that in terms of what was being produced. What percentage of the jokes that you guys made on The Man Show and/or on Loveline back in the day would be allowed to be aired today?

CAROLLA: Well, I think the real insidious part of this whole thing isn’t “the man” silencing. It’s people editing themselves. There would have been a lot of, “Oh, this is funny, but we can’t do it. I wish I could say this, but we can’t do it.” You know, that’s the insidious part. The insidious part is when the artists actually self-censor, like they have an opinion but they don’t want to give it. ‘Cause that’s really the silence you’ve been hearing lately. It’s not Comedy Central or the internet or tweets or whatever. It’s people silencing themselves. That’s the scary part, and that probably would have been something that took place in this culture right now if it was around — if The Man Show was around — now.

BUCK: We’re speaking to Adam Carolla of the Adam Carolla podcast and also you can go to to pick up tickets for his Daily Wire special with William Shatner and Dennis Quaid which is coming up, taping it this Sunday. Adam, you’re in California. I’m a New Yorker, born and raised, and have never been as disappointed in my hometown and city as I’ve been with the leadership and honestly the reactions of a lot of people during covid and what they’ve been willing to not just go along with, but police others to make happen.

You have a lot of volunteer Mask Stasi walking around New York City, for example, making sure that everyone’s, you know, behaving and doing whatever Fauci says. Is California…? I mean, Clay started out the show today talking about Gavin Newsom at one of the big football games — I don’t know which one, Clay, but one of the games.

CLAY: 49ers-Rams out in L.A. this weekend.

BUCK: One of the important ones with many of the people watching —

CLAY: (laughs)

BUCK: — where Gavin Newsom didn’t have a mask on for the photo and, you know, it’s like the millionth time we’ve seen this. We’re not pretending this is new or different. But are Californians waking up to this is crazy, like the ones that didn’t know it was crazy in the beginning? Like, what’s your sense? Are they done with Fauciism?

CAROLLA: God, I hope so. But, you know, we just had an attempt at a recall for Gavin Newsom, and it didn’t work at all. So this is a bunch of idiot Californians that while they’re starting to slowly wake up to it, they’re still voting for guys like Newsom — guys that, you know, subscribe to lockdown. You know, I was saying to Dr. Drew the other day, I said, “You know, Sweden went one route as it pertained to dealing with covid, and China went the other route, and California followed China rather than Sweden.” Just think about that concept.

CLAY: That is pretty wild to contemplate, and I was gonna build on what Buck was saying there. So Gavin Newsom’s in SoFi Stadium; he’s posing alongside of Magic Johnson — a guy who has a few health related conditions in his background, by the way — and he’s not wearing a mask. Yet kids everywhere are required to wear masks. Next week is the Super Bowl in L.A.

Are we gonna go off the hypocrisy meter scale even, Adam, based on what you’re hearing about the number of celebrities that are gonna be at big parties celebrating the Rams going up against the Bengals out there in L.A.? I just… I can’t even hardly pictures are gonna be out there of the rich and famous totally defying every mask-related rule, every covid-related rule for most of next week.

CAROLLA: Well, you know, they’re all such narcissists and they have short memories and they do revisionist history. You know, going back to the Bill Maher clip. The real Bill Maher clips to look at over the last several months is Bill Maher saying things that you guys have said and saying things that I say every day and his audience clamping! So Bill Maher goes, “Hey, we gotta reel it back. We gotta reel it in with these Draconian covid laws,” and his audience is clapping. This is the same group that was cheering on Fauci and mask mandates and vaccine passports 10 minutes ago! So they have no ability to look in the rearview mirror and admit, maybe they got something wrong.

BUCK: Yeah. No, there’s no willingness whatsoever to be honest about not only that they were wrong, but also who was right, Adam, to your point about how what you’ve been saying, what Clay and I have been saying here for… I mean, Clay and I had our first interview together when we had different radio shows, I think it was in April of 2020, and have been saying things that now the New York Times editorial page is writing. And it’s like, “Well, who cares about who was right and who was wrong?”

We care actually on this show. We know you do too. Just if there’s reason for hope right now, Adam, if you’re gonna give it to people for, you know, across the whole country. I mean, you know you’re a Californian but you speak to the whole national audience here. Do you think that enough people have figured out about the lunacy that’s going on, that there’s gonna be a big repudiation at least politically at the end of the year and that could lead to some real freedom and some good things happening?

CAROLLA: I hope so. You know, I sent out a tweet a few months ago that said, “I’ve learned nothing about how viruses work in the last two years, but I learned everything about how government works.”

BUCK: Amen.

CLAY: That’s well said. Hey, I hope so to see you next week out in L.A. You gonna be in town?

CAROLLA: Oh, yeah!

CLAY: All right. Let’s grab a beer.

CAROLLA: Come say hi, Clay. Let’s do it, man.

CLAY: For sure. That’s Adam Carolla.

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