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Podthoughts by Colin Marshall: The Adam and Dr. Drew Show


Vital stats:
Format: golden-age Loveline, more or less, but with fewer calls and more discussions of the breakdown of society
Episode duration: 45m-1h10m
Frequency: 8-9 per month

Mention this though I often do when writing about things Adam Carolla-related, I tuned in to Loveline throughout my adolescence with a near-religious dedication. Those nightly two hours with Carolla and “Dr. Drew Pinsky” on sex, drugs, medicine, home improvement, auto repair, and the state of the republic had formative effects I can’t possibly overstate. (They even taught me, broadcasting out of their decrepit Culver City studio, quite a bit about the geography of Los Angeles that would come in handy when I landed here myself.) Though ostensibly an advice show, and one that did sometimes spend a solid hour taking calls from stoned fifteen-year-old snowboarders worried about herpes, Loveline produced its most memorable gems of wisdom — not just about pills or booze or dental dams or plywood, but about life itself — with nobody on the phone, and nobody in the studio (certainly not from the gallery of “drunken rockers and stupid actresses,” as Carolla has since described the guest list) but its co-hosts. They admitted that they didn’t do the show for the callers, who half the time wouldn’t even pretend to accept their counsel, but the listeners. As one of those listeners, I can vouch for the benefits.

Like any nightly live show, especially one hosted by fellows busy even by celebrity standards, Loveline weathered the occasional absence: another doctor sitting in for Drew, another comedian for Adam. This taught us that, while either individual could hold their own, we tuned in for the combination, the pairing, the duo — the sum greater than the parts. The inquisitive, education-loving, clinically-minded, mild if sometimes twitchy Dr. Drew’s yin balanced the education-free, down-and-dirty/nuts-and-bolts, outwardly base but secretly incisive Adam’s everyman yang, making 1995 through 2005, the years between Carolla’s hiring as a co-host and his departure to helm a morning show on KLSX, the program’s near-official golden age. (Pinsky’s presence goes back to the early eighties, and continues to this day, alongside that of someone named Psycho Mike.) Apart from occasional guest appearances by Carolla on Loveline or Pinsky on Carolla’s radio show and, later, flagship podcast, 2005 through most of 2012, constituted lean years indeed for we who consider ourselves appreciators of Adam and appreciators of Dr. Drew, but out-and-out fans of Adam and Dr. Drew.

But then Carolla grew his podcast network, giving rise to the opportunity to replicate the old formula with The Adam and Dr. Drew Show [iTunes] [RSS]. Put on Carolla and Pinsky’s new podcast for just a few minutes, and your subconscious mind may well revert to its old Loveline listening patterns, so faithfully has it retained the format. The most obvious differences come from no longer laboring under commercial radio’s layers of infrastructure and management: nobody tells them they have to take a commercial break, nobody tells them they have to take calls, nobody tells them they have sit down with the guys from Oasis. They still do bring guests on once in a while, but only those they really want to talk to: a Jim Jeffries, a Jimmy Pardo, a David Alan Grier (or maybe Carolla’s kids). And they still take calls, though doing so has fallen to an even lower priority than it had in their days at what Carolla called Westwood None. But podcasting grants them the freedom to spend more time doing, at least to my mind, what they did best on Loveline: noticing something they find especially surprising, nonsensical or bothersome, then spinning it out into a much larger discussion about humanity: human foibles, human society, human nature. In the grains of sand they find working in entertainment, in medicine, and through everyday life, they see our world.

And what they see in our world, they don’t much like. Carolla has long traded on his proclivity for unhesitant and unrepentant fault-finding — “What Can’t Adam Complain About?” has become a semi-regular feature on his various shows over the years — but these days his talks with Pinsky almost immediately turn into detailed breakdowns of what ails America. This theme, the increasing doggedness with which they pursue it, and the tone of aggrieved lament that sometimes sets in, has, I sense, put off more than a few longtime fans. They may go so far as to dump good old Adam and Dr. Drew, now almost twenty years older and seemingly quite wealthier (though Carolla started from zero) than at the dawn of that Loveline’s golden age, into the “out-of-touch middle-aged white guys” box. I suppose it doesn’t help that, in the past decade, several prominent media figures who sing for their supper to the conservative crowd have treated Carolla as a fellow traveler, or at least as a crossover point. I have, at moments, thought of him as conservative, but only when I haven’t actually listened to him in a while.

Carolla has, I believe, called himself a libertarian, but neither does that label represent the contents of the jar; he may do endless variations on the a standard set of themes, but he doesn’t do them on the standard set of libertarian themes. The objections to Carolla, and to a lesser extent Carolla in dialogue with Pinsky, have less to do with their politics, I would submit, and more to do with our tendency to frame everything in political terms. The show’s conversations begin with complaints about passionfruit, ketchup packet design, energy drinks, participation trophies, the strange proliferation of service dogs, and they may well touch on public policy along the way, but they all wind up at the same destination: the grand slackening of America, the hemorrhaging from all our men, women, children, and institutions the quality they on one episode term “grit.” It goes back, in the context of The Adam and Dr. Drew Show, to the premiere, wherein Carolla brings up a banner he spotted at a high school: “Do the impossible: graduate.” Out of this morsel he makes a Christmas dinner of societal indictment, a j’accuse aimed at America’s pathetically withered expectations and the awesome bulk of its sloth.

As an entertainer, Carolla knows how to push his points as far as they can go. Pinsky, who still dutifully tempers this impulse with a well-placed nuance here and there, now also contributes a few criticisms of his own. (Having recently read Democracy in America, he occasionally cites Tocqueville in so doing.) We should note that Carolla himself spent decades never having technically graduated high school himself, and that both he and Pinsky display what some might consider a freakish compulsion to work as hard as possible, all the time, putting them at a vantage from which almost everyone (“except Richard Branson and Madonna,” Carolla has noted) must look lazy. Still, they both came of age in the seventies, this country’s last sustained period of fecklessness, reality denial, and gruesome footwear. They clearly fear that, in some sense, that time will return. I never lived through the seventies and have no inclination toward complaint, but I admit that Adam and Dr. Drew have got me a little afraid too. Despite having little faith in grand solutions, at least whenever I start to feel myself slacken, I can usually trust them to snap me, as a 28-year-old with an iPod just as they did to 13-year-old me with a radio, back into action.

[Podthinker Colin Marshall hosts and produces Notebook on Cities and Culture [iTunes] and writes essays on literature, film, cities, Asia, and aesthetics. He's working on a book about Los Angeles, A Los Angeles Primer. Contact him at colinjmarshall at gmail or follow him on Twitter @colinmarshall.]

Sawbones: Plague Medicine


Looking to get back at the guy who stole your parking space? Why not launch a plague-ridden body into his home with a catapult? This week on Sawbones, Dr. Sydnee and Justin will tell you how to do just that as they explore the real history of plague medicine and the made-up history of the Rat King.

You can subscribe to their show right now on iTunes! Then tweet with the #Sawbones hashtag and tell all your friends (and loved ones). You can also follow the show on Twitter (@SawbonesShow).

Music: "Medicines" by The Taxpayers

Ep. 19: Pregnancy: The Sexy Second Trimester

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One Bad Mother
Alice Bradley
Eden M. Kennedy

Biz and Theresa discuss the second trimester and tackle such issues as "feeling great: myth or fact," genetic testing, and all the things we are about to kiss good bye when the new baby comes. We are joined by Eden M. Kennedy and Alice Bradley, authors of Let's Panic About Babies.

Subscribe to One Bad Mother in iTunes
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Share your genius and fail moments! Call 206-350-9485

Let's Panic About Babies!, by Alice Bradley and Eden M. Kennedy
Alice Bradley's Website
Follow Alice Bradley @Finslippy on Twitter
Eden M. Kennedy's Website
Follow Eden M. Kennedy @MrsKennedy on Twitter

Show Music
Opening theme: Summon the Rawk, Kevin MacLeod (
Anthem, Awesome, Beehive Sessions (, also avail on iTunes)
Mom Song, Adira Amran, Hot Jams For Teens (, available on iTunes)
Telephone, Awesome, Beehive Sessions (, also avail on iTunes)
Closing music: Mama Blues, Cornbread Ted and the Butterbeans ( and available on iTunes)

Stop Podcasting Yourself 281 - Colt Cabana

Colt Cabana

We present this episode out of order due to timely events. Pro wrestler Colt Cabana joins us to talk about a shooting we all witnessed. And also wrestling, of course.

Download episode 281 here. (right-click)

Get in touch with us at spy [at] maximumfun [dot] org or (206) 339-8328.

Brought to you by:

(click here for the full recap)

Judge John Hodgman Episode 118: Taxi Evasion


Marcelo brings the case against his girlfriend, Sam. When Sam takes off early from a night out, Marcelo would like her to take a cab home. Sam thinks he's not respecting her ability to walk home smartly and safely. Who's right? Who's wrong?


Lewis Michael Powell for suggesting this week's case name!


RISK! #440: Queer

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Kevin Allison
Kris Grey
Cameron Esposito

Song: RISK! Theme by Wormburner and John Sondericker

Song: Andrew In Drag by The Magnetic Fields

Live Story: All the Rage by Kevin Allison

Radio Story: The Other by Kris Grey

Song: Earthworms by Nicole Reynolds

Live Story: Come Together by Cameron Esposito

Song: Same Love by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis

All Star Episode #4


Song: RISK! Theme by Wormburner and John Sondericker

Song: Bully Main Theme by Shawn Lee

Live Story: Summer Lovin’ by Jay Mohr

Live Story: Riding in Cars With Boys by Aisha Tyler

Song: Good to See You by The Grapes of Wrath

Live Story: Sex in a Can by Tom Lennon

Radio Story: The Crunch by Jessica Williams

Song: Dangerous Times by Wildlife

Live Story: The Fly by Andy Dick

Song: I’m Here Forever by Boys Boys Boys Band

Bullseye With Jesse Thorn: Nathan Rabin, Benjamin Nugent Author of American Nerd

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Nathan Rabin
Benjamin Nugent
Brian Heater
Alex Zalben

New to Bullseye? Subscribe to our podcast in iTunes or with your favorite podcatcher to make sure you automatically get the newest episode every week.

And if you're looking for a particular segment to listen to or share, check us out on Soundcloud.

Insane Clown Posse

Becoming an Enthusiast: Nathan Rabin on Loving Phish and ICP

Some bands thrive in the cultural middleground. You can play their music in the grocery store, and no one objects. Neither the jam band Phish nor the horrorcore hip hop duo Insane Clown Posse plays that kind of music. Each group has a rabid, devoted following of fans, and on the flip side, has inspired intense loathing. Phish's noodley covers and original songs are derided as music for druggies and hacky-sack playing college students. Insane Clown Posse and their dark, often violent music is for "Juggalos", their group of Faygo-drinking, clown makeup- wearing fans.

As a longtime culture critic and former Head Writer of The Onion's AV Club, Nathan Rabin thought he was immune to the draw of either group. Their music and communities weren't high-brow. They weren't terribly fashionable or cool. So he set out to write a kind of sociological text about the groups, and find out why they had such die-hard fans. He didn't know he would end up a convert.

Rabin's new book is You Don't Know Me, But You Don't Like Me: Phish, Insane Clown Posse, And My Adventures With Two Of Music's Most Maligned Tribes.

Rabin tells us about his psychedelic experiences at their concerts, his mental breakdown halfway through researching the book, and finding solace in music and community among Phish Heads and Juggalos.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment with your friends.

Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes

Comic Recommendations From Brian Heater and Alex Zalben

Brian Heater and Alex Zalben stop by to recommend their favorite graphic novels as of late.

Brian recommends Aesthetics: A Memoir by Ivan Brunetti. A self-taught artist, illustrator for the New Yorker, and currently on faculty at Columbia College Chicago, Brunetti examines his many influences and how they combined to make his unique, simple, DIY style.

Alex suggests Matt Kindt's Red Handed: The Fine Art of Strange Crimes. In the town of Red Wheelbarrow, no crime gets by Detective Gould. But can this hardboiled detective connect the dots between a young woman who obsessively steals chairs, a man who carts dirt around town, and a photographer whose subject matter is others' private tragedies?

Brian Heater is the author of BoingBoing's comics column, Comics Rack. He also hosts the new podcast, Recommended if you Like.

Alex Zalben is a producer for MTV Geek and host of the Nerdist podcast Comic Book Club.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment with your friends.

An early "nerd" sketch on Saturday Night Live

Nerding It Up With Benjamin Nugent

This interview originally aired in 2008.

Benjamin Nugent's book American Nerd explores a people and their history. Nerds have been an archetype for decades now. But where did they come from? What is a "nerd", anyway? Benjamin Nugent set out to write a loving portrait of nerds and nerdiness -- including his own.

He talks to us about the origins of "nerds" in the humor pages of college newspapers, Saturday Night Live's first dig at nerds , and the underappreciated toughness of his nerdy friends in middle school.

Nugent released a novel, Good Kids, earlier this year.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment with your friends.

The Outshot: Thief

Jesse recommends the 1981 noir Thief, starring James Caan. It's a crime thriller about one last job, but it's just as much about running from loneliness as it is about running from the cops. Director Michael Mann infuses it with a cool, dark beauty unlike any robbery film you've seen.

If you liked this, let someone know! Click here to share this segment with your friends.

Throwing Shade Episode #88 - Waterpark Bikini Insanity, Gay Adoption in Russia, Pat Robertson, Throwing Shade East Coast Tour


Erin and Bryan are back from their West Coast tour feeling fresh, funky and extremely independent. This week, Erin throws serious shade at a waterpark in Missouri that kicked a woman out because they didn't like how she looked in a bikini. And Bryan talks about Russia's new adoption laws and covers the latest joke in Pat Robertson's endless standup routine. 
Ready to throw some shade? Be our guest! 
See TSPOD live on our East Coast tour! Buy tickets here
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@gibblertron & @bryansafi #tspod
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My Brother, My Brother and Me 159: Home Alone Castle Doctrine


We always ask that you share each new episode with a friend, but maybe don't do that for this one if your friend works for the government. Let's just say we've got a very special, very ... manhunted guest.

Suggested talking points: Shnowden, Screening, Reverse Jodie Foster, Hair Sister, Plosives, Worst Christmas Ever, Bank Humpers, Craigyonce, Big Percy's

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