TopGear USA Names New Host Adam Corolla

adam corolla, topgear USA, Gear, NBC, host, presenter, newAs Jalopnik reported last week Adam Corolla has been named the first host of TopGear USA in it’s newest iteration of GEAR on NBC in 2009. (per an announcement on his radio show and some pix with TG cars, see K Nob left.) I have read all kinds of mixed reviews online and heard people’s opinions on this pick and here are my thoughts to add to the fray:

1. I don’t know Adam Corolla from a bag of rocks but a lot of people seem to know him from The Man Show and they seem to think he is funny and willing to get shoved in frozen lake for a laugh. (which sinefeld and leno wouldn’t do) This is encouraging. He doesn’t have a persona that is so well known it is career limiting (being typecast) yet people are pretty sure he can do (or has done) Improv in his day and has some snark. This was a big qualifier for this job. I am sure they did some pilot episode recording or something to compare the candidates on film (per Richard Hammond’s book where he mentions his interview & audition) and I bet Adam probably does ok in the snark category. (he also seems to do well in the 1991 wardrobe category) This is probably the most important part of the selection process.

2. Many people seem to be up in arms about the TopGear USA show needing to be an exact replica of the TG UK show down to the exact personality traits of each host. (presenter) They say they need an overbearing stubborn tall guy, and an emotional and hyper short guy and a long haired geeky guy. This couldn’t be more wrong. You need some great personalities, some strong opinions and some great improv and mucking about to make a great show. You can’t re-create the actual people and their attitudes over here that Jeremy, Richard and James have in real life. That would be monkey-stupid and not at all viable. The mix should be diverse but the personalities all will be different.

2.5 I have also read that people think Adam Corolla doesn’t have a car background. He must have some car knowledge though or else they wouldn’t have selected him. I would guess that you would have to have all of the following skills to host: know how to drive a manual transmission well enough to talk to the camera and drive at the same time, know some basic autocross skills for the lap times and tests, be familiar with fancy and race type cars so that you know how to power slide and such. I would also hope the person genuinely enjoyed power sliding and pushing a car’s limits. I think a lot of the technical things that Jeremy, James and Richard say are discussed with the producers and prep people of TG to give them some topline analysis from the team of research geeks behind the scenes. Hopefully NBC’s GEAR will have a team of car geeks behind the scenes too.

3. Some people are complaining that the show will be all about NASCAR and that will suck ass. Yes, that would technically suck ass if it happened, but I think the show will have diverse talent and diverse activities all around the different car type groups. (Imports, Domestics, Pony Cars, Muscle Cars, Roadsters, Trucks, Minvans, SUVs, Street Racing Mods, Low Riders, Classics, Really old Classics, Classics with wooden wheels, Green Ecological leaf-eating Cars, Exotics and Supercars. And hopefully there will be some fun crossover with the auto racing sports in this country Indy, CART, NASCAR, Funny Cars, F1, Unlimited Fuel Dragsters, Autocross, Sprints, and Demolition Derbys at the county fair. (please use the last one I beg you) The content is usually based on a couple things:

    A. Supercars awe inspire us all, so cover as many of those as possible and make the editing and camera work turn it into car pron. This keeps the 10-50 yr old boys happy, and the beauty of the cars even makes it interesting to some of us women. We also enjoy the speed.

    B. People need practical every day cars reviewed in a non-sleep inducing non-autoweek way. This means everything from the YuGo to the Mercs. (by merc I mean Mercedes not Mercury, I can’t believe I just said that) I can’t believe MOTORweek is still on TV. I want to shoot my television when I run across that show accidentally.

    C. Challenges building things and Road Trips through other countries are the comedy and entertainment portion of the program. Do the ridiculous, seriously. Do the serious, ridiculously. And please Fork it up in ways we never thought possible. The only difference here is that it should require less passport use in the USA. Route 66 anyone? Highway 1 PCH?

    D. Weird sometimes stupid stunts. Jumping minivans and seeing how long a car runs with all the coolant drained out of it. endurance, destruction and general stunt-ness is needed here. These segments are short on time and long suspense and hopefully provide either humor or carnage or both. (ala the car chases in the blues brothers movie)

    E. The Star in a Reasonably Priced Car segment. It allows the BBC to make some marketing money and it gives us some interesting non-car related person in an autocross race situation. This either ends up being impressive or rediculous, it works great either way. I recommend a Chevy Malibu as the car here. It’s so average it hurts. It will also be painful seeing George Clooney actually sit in one instead of the fancy schmantsy things he is used to.

But the question I want answered that no one was asking is: Did Adam Corolla get the job just because he was named after a cheap econo-box Japanese car? If so it’s a really bad pun, and I wouldn’t mention it. I think using the corolla as the reasonably priced car is out too.

Also read about the interview with Adam Corolla and my suggestions for the show here.

Also, I am a little baffled that this got ranked #1 on a TopGear USA search in Google. I am not sure how that happened. This blog isn’t really that great, except possibly when I write about TG or Marketing. Anyway, if for some reason you officially want to contact me about what I write here, you can through my other blog here. My stats say that about 50 people a day are looking for TG USA info and come here. I hope that is enough for NBC’s to keep the show on air this fall.

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11 thoughts on “TopGear USA Names New Host Adam Corolla

  1. Pingback: TopGear USA Version 2 with NBC BBC Partnership « The Protagonist

  2. Please do not worry! As a long time fan of Adam (Loveline, Jimmy Kimmel Live, The Adam Carolla Project, The Adam Carolla Show (KLSX)) I can attest that he is eloquent and emminently qualified to discuss 3 things sex, construction (he is a master carpenter) and automobiles. He collects them and is passionate about all things Top Gear and spends quality time with Jay Leno in his garage. I didn’t mean to have that sound gay…but you know what I mean. Also, big plus, he has a particular dislike for NASCAR and rails about how Americans watch that crap instead of Formula One amongst others. Long story short, you will be pleased.

  3. Sorry,..but Jeremy Clarkson hates the idea of having the BBC peddle his most watched automotive program to every country on the planet,..especially the US,..which he has a great distaste for. I can only imagine what he is going to say,.as he runs down the list of Adams accomplishments,..nothing beats the video of him having a wrestling match with some drunken idiot on his show. Combine that with Juggies on trampolines,..and about a million penis jokes on his sex show,..and the stage is set to be the laughing stock of the world. His fan base is the NASCAR crowd,.his humor,.and his work has catered to them for years,.he should cover that and leave the finer things to others. While he may claim a love for formula1,.he should do the right thing for the US,.and continue to make penis jokes while driving American muscle and pickup trucks,..and stay the hell away from Ferrari,..he doesn’t deserve the honor of showing anything like it to an American audience,.in a TopGear style format.

    Sorry if this seems harsh,..but I don’t care how much time he spends in Jays garage,..he happens to be among the few in Hollywood that have ever seen Top Gear,..he most likely has so much free time hes seen every episode,.and got to the right people to speak intelligently about it. NBC sees big numbers from the BBC,.they need a show,..he was there,..thats it. Its almost as if NBC has never even seen the show. Adam is borderline unpatriotic for even throwing his hat into the ring,..the most he should have done is offer to consult,..or maybe present show ideas. Don’t get me wrong here,..the tour thru the south was nothing short of hilarious on the part of the TG crew,..but if there is to be a US equivalent,..there will be retaliation.

    Having Adam as a host just gives the rival more ammunition,..we will be lucky to be called a cheap knock-off,..when we should be setting a new standard,.raising the bar. We don’t imitate,..we dominate.

    Dear NBC,..watch a couple of episodes and search out the essence of what makes Top Gear great.

    You wont find Adam anywhere near your conclusion.

  4. Hey Skendo, I appreciate your comments and agree that NBC is in over its head and probably has no idea what they are doing trying to remake topgear.

    BUT I *disagree* that Jeremy Clarkson is some high brow presenter and Adam Corolla is some low gutteral goofball. How many times have you heard Jeremy Clarkson say Gonnoreah and Syphillis in the past year of TG shows? At least a dozen. No TG doesn’t go totally blue on the show but they are not immune to penis jokes. Jeremy even remarks that he gets stiff from new car models that come through on promo from car companies and mimics a german engineer that has to leave the screen because the Porsche that he is talking about has given him an orgasm. So, there is an element of low humor present in every TopGear show that makes it accessible for people of all income levels. And if they didn’t take the piss out of everything on that show us average folk would never identify with these rediculously expensive cars that we will never own.

    And if Clarkson’s latest DVD “Supercar Showdown” in 2007 is any indication, TopGear will be getting even more disturbing in their humor in the coming year. They decided to do 2 car crashes/exposions that were fake, but cut into the footage as if they were real. And I find death jokes way more disturbing than any sex joke.

  5. I appreciate the comments thus far, but must submit my vote for Adam. I listen to his show every morning on my way to work in Seattle, and find him utterly entertaining.

    There are two traits I appreciate of Mr. Corolla, whether or not I agree with his comments – which many times I do not. First, Adam is downright funny. His timing is impecable and his wit instantaneous. Long after the average comedian would be scrambling for a quick comeback, Adam has already left us laughing and moved on to the next point.

    Secondly, Adam is intelligent. Often the two go hand-in-hand, as is the case with most effective comedians, especially improv comedians. During the course of the radio show, Adam interjects comments off-script that betray his broad knowledge. Of course, knowledge, by definition, is not intelligence, but it’s an indicator of what a person has been able to do in their life. This is a man who came from a poor family, did not have a great education, and started his working career cleaning carpets.

    So, does Adam fit the bill for Top Gear? I love watching the BBC show, as it is a refreshing break from many review-type shows, Autoweek included. When watching Autoweek, I feel like the script is a magazine article, and the host is simply reading to the audience, unaware he is on camera. Top Gear stands out because of its playfulness, humor, and variety. On top of it all, these guys have a genuine love of cars. I believe Adam Corolla can contribute all of these qualities to a U.S. version.

    But, what about cars? Adam is vehemently opposed to NASCAR, frequents car shows, drives a Lamborghini and muscle cars alike. He. Loves. Cars. And his interested is piqued whether it’s an Italian exotic or an American sleeper.

    There was concern that Corolla’s Top Gear would be a sex joke forum. We can’t include Loveline in the argument – it WAS a sex show – any more than saying Leno can’t be a talk show host because all he talks about are cars on his car specials. You’ll hear plenty of adult-related comments on the radio show, too. Once again, it’s a morning radio humor show. You’ll hear it on most shows, and the audience isn’t complaining.

    So is that all he can do? How many penis jokes did you hear when he was on Dancing With the Stars this spring? His movie, The Hammer, was just released. It had it’s share of humor, but it wasn’t a vehicle for sex jokes, either. Adam knows his audience, and behaves appropriately, not unlike any other successful entertainer.

    When I read that Top Gear was coming to the U.S., I was excited. When I read that Adam woud be the star, I was elated. Like any new venture, especially remakes of existing – and revered – programs, it could fail. The American audience is very demanding and unforgiving in their entertainment preference. It could also be a great version of a well-loved show, catered to our viewers.

    I, for one, can’t wait to see.

  6. And as for the other comments, thanks for all the opinions. I think TG starts high brow and then goes lower for goofball humor. If you start low, you really have nowhere to go. As far as how many people in the US watch UK TG? I would say about 10% of americans have/do watch it and with 300 million of us, that is about 30 million. Just a guess. I hope they all translate to TV watchers for NBC’s sake and get nielsen boxes so it counts.

  7. You are totally mixing up AutoWeek with Motor Week. The two have NOTHING to do with each other. AutoWeek was on TV, years ago on the old Speed Channel before it sold out to NASCAR. AutoWeek has never been accused of being boring. If you don’t think so, just visit http://www.autoweek.com. Motor Week, the PBS weekly tv magazine is another story.

  8. You are right. AutoWeek should never be mentioned in the same breath as Motor Week. AutoWeek magazine has been around much longer… since the 50s. I’ve been getting it every week for the past 10 years and look forward to every issue. And, I’ve been living on thier website lately… get’s me through the day.

  9. Old discussion but it should be mentioned that Adam has the same need to gripe about traffic and traffic laws that Jeremy engages in fairly often. Back in the Loveline days he complained about not being able to turn left at a red arrow light even in the middle of the night when there wasn’t a car in sight for miles. He announced what intersections he jumped through regularly and invited the cops to come write a ticket. This subject got him pretty worked up and turned into quite a hilarious tirade every time (usually once a week or so). And this was on a “sex show”. I can only guess what he’s got in store for us on an actual car show.

    Not happy about this meathead pretty boy presenter though. Can’t even be bothered with the name, the HGTV guy. Bad presenter there, completely out of place on Top Gear.

  10. Pingback: Should Top Gear UK Continue Without Jeremy Clarkson? | The Protagonist

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