The Imaginary Rabbi and the Dead End Kid: Another Evening with Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla
Most novelty duets don't last past the song's three-minute mark, and with good reason.
(Exhibit A: This "American classic" that nobody really listens to.)
It's not that the performers involved aren't talented, but bringing them together is shallow musical stunt casting. The pairing is an ill-advised mutation, a doomed chimera.
When Dennis Prager and Adam Carolla first started appearing together onstage, unimaginative types didn't "get" it.
Why would a distinguished, highly educated Jewish author go on the road with a foul-mouthed atheist comedian from the wrong side of the tracks?
To fans like me, this duet actually made good sense.
On his podcast, Carolla had repeatedly expressed his admiration for Prager, both as a fellow Los Angeles broadcaster and as a man whose values so closely jibed with his own.
Another fan, R.J. Moeller, made it his mission to bring the two men together to talk about politics, religion, and values.
Thanks to Moeller's efforts, Prager joined Carolla on the air, and it was obvious to everyone within earshot that the two men were a natural team:
The two of them violated the First Rule of Comedy Teams: that the best ones feature An Idiot Who Knows Nothing and An Idiot Who Knows Everything. Prager and Carolla are definitely non-idiots, and their admirers would call them nigh on infallible.
After their wildly successful "first date" on the radio, the idea of these two compulsive performers sharing their new friendship with the rest of America seemed obvious.
Armed only with a couple of chairs and microphones, Carolla and Prager mounted one stage, then another, and were gratified by the number of folks who paid good money to enjoy their low-tech, high-minded "act."
Moeller had intuited what thousands of audience members have since discovered after attending "an evening with..." Prager and Carolla: their similarities and differences create an effortless chemistry.
Both Prager and Carolla have loyal fanbases who bring their own enthusiasm to the theaters. (Tickets sell out pretty quickly.)
If you can't make it to one of these shows (and new ones are added all the time) the next best thing is to pick up the high quality recordings of these low-key yet hilarious and thought-provoking shows.
The latest Adam Carolla/Dennis Prager recording captures their appearances in Philadelphia and Redondo Beach.
As always, the show consists of Prager and Carolla's unscripted musings on party politics, child rearing, hard work, sports, food, health, and much more.
During the "Philadelphia" show, Prager and Carolla start out by chatting about the evils of airport security and the dreaded "COEXIST" bumper sticker. (An appropriate topic in the "City of Brotherly Love.")
On the topic of cultural and racial differences, Prager declared that ethnic jokes were healthy, but admitted that he drew the line at gags about lynching and the Holocaust.
Naturally, Carolla can't resist cracking wise -- with perfect delivery:
Why shouldn't you hit a Mexican on a bicycle?
It's probably your bicycle.
This gets a big laugh from Prager -- and a few disapproving roars from the audience.
Carolla, who was raised by a lazy hippie welfare mom, wonders when "the left got so aggressive." The ones he grew up with were decidedly low energy, he says. Achieving inertia seemed to be their goal.
He also observes that his paranoid, health-conscious mother believed everything artificial, from microwaves to color TV to food preservatives, caused cancer -- but somehow missed the one (natural) thing that really did: the sun.
"Everything I did in eighth grade recess is now banned," Prager chimed in, fondly recalling one game that involved "capturing" female classmates.
"I was in charge of the 'prison,'" Prager added. "I loved eighth grade."
Other highlights: Carolla quips that "cul de sacs" are what rich people call "dead ends."
Prager gets some humorous mileage out of the number of Christians who call him "their rabbi." ("No Jew has ever said that to me," he deadpans.)
After the program proper, audience members are invited to ask questions "about anything." This segment helps make each of the recordings one of a kind.
Because, indeed, repetition is a built-in hazard with these Prager/Carolla outings.
Fans know that these men have their personal hobby horses, and love them for it.
(With Carolla, it's cars, shoddy construction practices, and passion-fruit ice tea; Prager's more lofty preoccupations revolve around male/female differences, the existence of God, and civility.)
However, each show I've listened to features revelations.
Prager is famously fearless about subject matter; people still talk about his call-in radio segment dedicated to determining once and for all whether or not Asians really are horrible drivers, and if so, why.
Yet in Philadelphia, he admits to leaving a topic out of his latest book, Still The Best Hope, because it was simply too controversial and he didn't think he could face the fallout:
His belief that bottle feeding is no better or worse for infants than breastfeeding!
My only complaint about these Dennis Prager/Adam Carolla recordings is that the shopping cart at AdamCarolla.com has never worked for me. The customer service folks at Topspin couldn't be more courteous. It's just that their "solutions" never solve anything and inevitably, somebody has to email me the shows as mp3 attachments.
Once you actually get hold of them, however, these unusual recordings are a real tonic, especially if you crave an occasional break from horrible pop music and inane television shows & movies.
They let you "chill out" while giving your brain, your soul, and your funny bone a good workout.
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