About two weeks after I moved to Los Angeles in September 2010, I was at the Bed, Bath & Beyond on Ventura Boulevard in Studio City and I ran into Adam Carolla’s wife Lynette at the checkout. Adam’s famous for his radio work, particularly his ten years as co-host of Loveline alongside Dr. Drew, and he now has a podcast network called Carolla Digital, which he runs out of a warehouse that holds a lot of his cars. Lynette has a podcast of her own called For Crying Out Loud (formerly The Parent Experiment), which I listen to now and then. (I love podcasts, but there are only so many hours in a day.) I had some idea of what she looked like, but she’s not someone I would recognize right off the bat, much less expect to find standing five feet in front of me. I was standing at the checkout counter, waiting for my roommate to finish up, and I noticed a cart with more candles than anyone should be buying in the line next to ours. I looked at the person beside the cart, and she had a Bruce Springsteen sweatshirt on.
I didn’t think much of it at first, but something kept nagging at me. Suddenly it clicked: this was Lynette Carolla. I had heard Adam rant about how his wife loves Bruce Springsteen more times than I care to count, but my recollection of what his wife looked like was vague at best, and I’m fairly shy, so I didn’t say anything to her. Plus, by this time I had that “the jig is up” feeling, since I had been gawking at her for a while and it was pretty obvious she noticed and was kind of weirded out by it. (Sorry, babe.) I stood there for what seemed like hours (really it was only a few minutes), trying to figure out a way to start a conversation without coming across as some kind of stalker, and in the end I decided to just let it go. But when I got home, I felt badly about it, since the last thing I wanted was to make her uncomfortable, so I tweeted in her direction. I didn’t think for a second that she would actually respond, but she did, and pretty quickly at that.
@EricMackAttacks ha! I was wondering but then I saw Jersey plates & I was wearing my Bruce jacket.I looked like crap! Next time say hi ;-)— Lynette Carolla (@LynetteCarolla) September 23, 2010
(If you’re wondering about the “Jersey plates,” my roommate’s from New Jersey and he hadn’t gotten California license plates yet.) I remember thinking, “That’s very nice of her to say that.” I thought that was going to be the end of it, but then about a week later she tweeted at me again.
@EricMackAttacks hey you should listen to next weeks parent experiment, the one with Sugarmama, I tell the Bed, Bath story, it was cute!— Lynette Carolla (@LynetteCarolla) September 29, 2010
I thought, “Uh oh. I’m in for it now.” I gave the episode a listen, and sure enough, she managed to do the story more justice than I could have ever done it. There were some embellishments in there, for sure, but it was all in good fun. She also referred to my roommate and me as “college guys” (this was four months after graduation, so the description was apt), who were “kinda hot.” (Again, embellishments.) I wish the episode were still up on the website so I could actually provide evidence, otherwise this will probably pass into legend. It was beyond flattering, to say the least, so I thanked her.
@EricMackAttacks tee hee! Glad you liked it and hope I didn't embarrass u too much! It was a story that makes for good radio/podcast ;-)— Lynette Carolla (@LynetteCarolla) October 5, 2010
Well, to be honest, it was pretty embarrassing. Her co-host or guest, I forget which, jokingly (?) encouraged me to feel her up in the toaster oven section next time. (I won’t put quotes on that because I can’t recall the exact wording or who said it.) I’ve been meaning to attend one of Adam’s live shows at the Jon Lovitz Comedy Club at the Universal Citywalk for some time so I can talk to her face to face, but I haven’t gotten around to it. I bring up this story because a few weeks after all this took place, HBO aired a documentary called The Promise: The Making of Darkness on the Edge of Town, which I highly recommend if you’re a Springsteen fan. I was a big Springsteen supporter, but the guy has had a long career, with a lot of albums, and Darkness on the Edge of Town was one that I had only listened to a few times. My impression was that it was a very good album, but I wouldn’t have counted it among my favorites.
Well, The Promise was my entry into the Darkness album; once I watched the documentary, I was hooked. And when I watched The Promise, I kept thinking about my exchange with Lynette, and how she must have been watching, too. (I later read on her Twitter that she did watch and also liked it.) I’ve listened to Darkness on the Edge of Town many times since then, and every time I’ve listened to it, I’ve thought about Lynette and how nice she was to me. And it’s one of my favorite stories to tell when I speak of my adventures in LA since Adam is one of my heroes. I still remember the day I started listening to Loveline: September 11, 2001. I was aware that it was on at night on 99.1 WHFS (my favorite station) when I was growing up in Maryland, but I always ignored it for whatever reason. I wanted music, not talk. But on 9/11, I listened. School was let out early, and all we did was watch CNN show the footage over and over. All day. There wasn’t a single channel, it seemed like, that wasn’t showing it. (I can remember my mom at one point saying, “Just leave it on one channel. They’re all showing the same thing.”)
The world literally stopped turning. It sounds kind of ridiculous now, but everything else in life just seemed so miniscule that day. I remember when I went to bed that night that for the first time in my life I had no idea whether the world was going to be the same when I woke up in the morning. Those are troubling thoughts a thirteen-year-old should never have, and in hindsight it’s not surprising to me that I didn’t try to fall asleep when I was sent to bed. So I turned on Loveline, and was pleased to discover they were talking about the day’s events. I don’t remember a single thing from that episode, but I do remember that they decided to dedicate the next night’s episode to calls exclusively about the attacks, as well. Other than that, I don’t remember anything from that episode either. Adam and Drew were very therapeutic, probably a lot more so than they realized. They certainly succeeded in gaining a new listener. (And, as it turns out, a lifelong fan.)
I listened to Loveline a lot when I was in high school. This was before Dr. Drew’s omnipresence on cable television and Adam’s name becoming synonymous with the word “podcast.” I loved how Adam would rant about things and complain about LA culture. (There was something kind of empowering about it — it’s probably why he has so many fans.) I was absolutely fascinated by it since I had never been to LA and didn’t know what it was like. He frequently commented on his education at North Hollywood High School, which couldn’t have contrasted more with my private school that was frighteningly obsessed with sending kids to the nation’s best colleges and universities. After attending one of those universities (Miami), I moved out to LA, settling into an apartment in the San Fernando Valley right down the street from North Hollywood High School. I now spend my evenings as an English tutor for Hispanic kids in the Los Angeles Unified School District, some of whom attend North Hollywood High School, for the No Child Left Behind program.