Everything Reminds Me of Something: Advice, Answers…but No Apologies
Welcome, dear reader, to my sixth book. If you had told me in 2010 when I wrote In Fifty Years We’ll All Be Chicks…And Other Complaints from an Angry Middle-Aged White Guy that I’d crank out five more volumes of said complaints, I wouldn’t have believed you. So thanks.
This one’s going to be a bit different. I’m going back to basics. The great Jimmy Kimmel created an idea for my stage show: having audience members write one word on a ping-pong ball for me to riff on. They would then shoot those ping-pong balls out of their vaginas at me onstage. When Jimmy sobered up, we decided it would be cleaner, literally and figuratively, if we just put those ping-pong balls in a bingo hopper and pulled them out at random for me to pontificate on. The name of the show is Unprepared, and I perform it along with some more prepared stand-up comedy throughout the country.
At my core I’m an improvisor. I flamed out of the Groundlings, the famous improv troupe in Los Angeles that gave us greats like Paul Reubens, Kristen Wiig, Lisa Kudrow, and Phil Hartman, but later went on to cofound the ACME comedy theater. More important, I did the lion’s share of the work on the radio show Loveline for over a decade with Dr. Drew, who can name every bone in the body but doesn’t have a funny bone in his. So I thought I’d kick it old school in this book and do things a bit more free-form, answering questions and doling out advice.
The audience questions throughout this book are all real; nothing is cooked. We solicited them on my podcast and on Twitter, weeded out the dead wood, and in various hours stuck in miserable L.A. traffic I riffed, ranted, and raged and turned them into the following tome. There are going to be many improvised tangents along the way, thus the title. It was originally going to be called Ask an Asshole: Advice and Answers from the Least Apologetic Man in Comedy. But smarter people than me realized that would be a marketing problem. Even though it’s true that I am an unrepentant asshole, it would have been hard for Tucker Carlson to say the book title on air when I went to plug it on his show. So we decided to clean up the language a bit for sales. That was actually the biggest complaint from my last book, the language. If you read the Amazon reviews for I’m Your Emotional Support Animal, you’ll see that people generally agreed with the sentiments, but many wished I had expressed them with a few less cuss words. My favorite was this email sent directly to my publisher. Let it be the first I address in this book.
I am writing you today to let you know how disappointed I am with your new Carolla book “I’m Your Emotional Support Animal.” I bought it hoping for some humor in this now humorless society and to support Post Hill Press.
I am truly disgusted by the filthy language in this book. Just a few pages into the book the profanity started. There should be a disclaimer for those of us who are offended by this offensive language. I returned the book at Amazon and will get my money back. I will never buy another of your books, as I find I can’t trust them. I just don’t know why, when we are such an educated society, we are now resorting to the most vile of language.
As a proud asshole, let me say, fuck your delicate sensibilities. You do the thing I hate the most: say “I like humor as much as the next person” before you call for censorship and cancelation. You clearly have no sense of humor. I’m not going to apologize; shitty times call for shitty language. I wrote that book in 2019 when things sucked and our society was going off a cliff, but even I, with my crystal ball of a brain, couldn’t have seen just how bad things would get after the twin viruses of COVID-19 (and the accompanying government ineptitude and overreach) and the post–George Floyd infection of “antiracism,” critical race theory, and police defunding. That book hit the virtual shelf (because no one could go out to an actual bookstore at the time) and sold 11,292 hardcovers in our first week. Yet we did not make the New York Times bestseller list. Hmmm…
For June 14–20 of 2020, I’m Your Emotional Support Animal was the forty-eighth-bestselling book in the country, according to Bookscan, and the twelfth-bestselling nonfiction book on Amazon. It made the bestseller lists of USA Today, the Wall Street Journal, and Publishers Weekly. But more important, it sold more copies than eight books on the Times list, including the following. (I’ve included the publishers’ descriptions from the list to add to the nausea).
•Me and White Supremacy (10,994 copies sold): “This eye-opening book challenges you to do the essential work of unpacking your biases, and helps white people take action and dismantle the privilege within themselves…”
•Between the World and Me (10,020 copies sold): “[A] bold and personal literary exploration of America’s racial history…”
•Hood Feminism (3,672 copies sold): “A potent and electrifying critique of today’s feminist movement announcing a fresh new voice in Black feminism.”
Seeing a trend there?
I bring this up not out of bitterness but out of a need to call bullshit. So, like the great Babe Ruth, I’m calling my shot now. There is no way I’ll get on the New York Times list again. And I now take that as a badge of honor. I never in my wildest or darkest fantasies would ever think that anything I said onstage or wrote on the page would ever be considered “important,” but in times such as these, simply speaking your mind—as I’ll do in the following pages, prompted by your questions—is considered an act of defiance and, potentially, patriotism.
As you likely know—and if not, then you’ll know by the end of this book—I’m into vintage racing. I was at an event at the track at Pebble Beach last year, and people kept coming up to shake my hand and stroke my ego. It used to be that when I was stopped at an airport or an event like Laguna Seca, they’d say, “Hey, Man Show! Where are the Juggies?” or “I grew up listening to Loveline.” In 2021 the same number of people came up to me, but no one brought any of that up. What they said was, “Thank you for what you’re doing.” I tried to stay humble and just reply, “I’m just talking. I’m a comedian just doing my job,” but they’d push back: “No, it’s important what you’re doing.”
I still have a hard time accepting this, but I’m glad if you think it. I can’t say every moment in the following chapters is going to be a profound speaking of truth to power. There are still plenty of fart joke arrows in the Ace Man’s quiver. But hopefully you’ll enjoy some pearls of wisdom and nuggets of joy, and have some moments when you think, I’m afraid people would think I’m an asshole for saying that, but I’m glad he did.
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|Epub, PDF||July 21, 2022|
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