This post requires a bit of context.
In 2003, I had what I consider to be the only roommate that will ever be known as my live-in best friend. We both rented rooms in the same house and almost every week, we watched The Man Show on his big (pre-HD conversion) television set.
Ordinarily, it’s not the sort of thing I would watch. It’s not because I was prissy or “goody-two-shoes”, it’s just because we didn’t always have cable growing up and I get uncomfortable watching certain things with people present. For example, my mother and I watched American Pie together. I couldn’t watch it any longer, but my mother laughed her ass off at the Jason Biggs pie scene. To be fair my mother probably wouldn’t have liked a lot of the humor in The Man Show. It’s all a matter of perspective. And maybe watching The Man Show with another guy my age (thereabouts) made it a little less squirmy.
The Man Show was surprisingly well balanced. It wasn’t just one half hour of dick and fart jokes. (It was at least ten minutes, tops) And I’ll admit, that I joined in on the “Man Show Cheer” and chugged my, eh, soda. Look, I was 20 and I didn’t drink yet.
Eventually Carolla and Kimmel left and were replaced by the new hosts, Doug and Joe. And with no disrespect intended towards the latter two hosts, Adam and Jimmy were The Man Show. Doug and Joe just had big shoes to fill and something of the old show’s flavor got lost in the new format. The cheer at the end was stopped because someone actually got so drunk from guzzling their beer that they got sick, so that’s forgivable, but for the most part the Man Show just fizzled and died.
Life happened and I didn’t follow people as closely as I do now. I don’t know much about the intervening years following the end of the Man Show and Kimmel’s landing the late night talk show.
But I became aware of Adam Carolla’s podcast through one other comedian that I discovered in 2013. Steve Hofstetter. In fact, it was this well known clip that clued me in and after I listened to that episode, I started listening to High Confidence, Low Self Esteem.
Now, Steve Hofstetter had mentioned having a speaking part in Road Hard quite a few times. And you can even hear some more behind-the-scenes information about his scene here on Youtube.
So I will confess that a huge part of watching this movie was so that I could see Steve Hofstetter in what was basically a minute-long scene (that was awesome). But that’s fine, because Adam Carolla and everyone working on this movie put a great product together.
Road Hard is about a comedian who is basically struggling just to make ends meet, doing the comedy circuit on the road and really feeling the drag of trying to compete with the Youtube generation.
I definitely laughed at the comedy bits.Though I was confused at first, because I wasn’t sure if they were a part of the story, but it turns out that the scenes set in actual clubs (like Flappers) were real shows that Carolla put on for the Kick Starter backers who funded the movie.
The story of Bruce Madsen is funny and uplifting. I feel like Road Hard will be for comedians in any stage of their career what Clerks was for, well, Clerks. It’s funny, but it’s also down-to-earth, and it’s the realism of the story that gives it the sense of balance that the Man Show once had. The romance isn’t forced, the ending is well earned and believable, and over all, I’m glad to have finally gotten the chance to watch this movie that I’ve heard so much about.
Carolla drew from a lot of personal experience in the making of this story. He even describes it as being semi-autobiographical. The “Bro Show” is obviously the stand-in for The Man Show, complete with a post MS Kimmel stand-in, but it’s important to remember that this movie is a work of fiction.
The biggest sign that this movie is fiction is that the daughter chooses to go to Bennington College because it is “cheaper” than her other options. Yes, I know she gets a scholarship, but lets be real. That would buy her some pencils, tops.