Let’s Get Weird: Adam Devine at Aspen Laugh Fest
The 33-year-old comedian, actor, writer and sometime-singer has gone from struggling Hollywood nobody to the kind of comedy star who shows up on “Ellen” and “The Tonight Show” and in Hollywood blockbusters.
“Workaholics,” in which Devine plays a dumber version of himself as the telemarketer Adam DeMamp, was the clever and raunchy brainchild of Devine and his roommates Blake Anderson, Anders Holm and Kyle Newacheck.
“We went from living in the house we shot the show in, all together, just working super hard doing YouTube videos trying to get seen, just putting things out there, to having the show, to doing seven seasons,” he recalled in a recent phone interview. “You can’t imagine what that’s like — to have four best friends do their own TV show together.”
The show is currently in its seventh and final season. The foursome opted to end the series before it jumped the shark.
“We felt like we were still doing good stuff and weren’t out of ideas,” Devine said. “We would rather stop before we ran out of juice.”
When Devine finished filming the show last year, he immediately went into production on “Magic Camp,” a family-friendly Disney film in which he plays a camp counselor (and Jeffrey Tambor plays his mentor).
“It was such a change of gears from ‘Workaholics,’” he said. “To go right into this PG-rated Disney movie was kind of a fun exercise for me.”
Acting with kids provided some unique challenges for the foul-mouthed comic.
“I didn’t realize ‘s–t’ was a curse word,” he said with a laugh. “Didn’t know that. So I’m saying ‘s–t’ all the time, not thinking I’m cursing. Finally one of the parents came over to me and said, ‘Adam, just so you know, “s–t” is a curse word. The kids are all losing their minds.’”
As soon as he wrapped shooting the film, Devine hit the road for his “Weird Life” stand-up tour, which brings him to the Aspen Laugh Festival for two shows at the Wheeler Opera House tonight.
The tour marks Devine’s first time on the road doing stand-up in several years. His sets have been tackling the bizarre experience of sudden stardom. He’s looking forward to spending time with fans and sharing laughs with an audience — something he misses out on while doing TV and online comedy.
“You do movies and you’re able to go to the theater and see people laugh at the joke you told,” he said. “But when you do television, you can’t kick people’s doors in and be like, ‘You guys watchin’ ‘Workaholics’? Lemme watch it with you!’ So it’s really a fun thing to go to all these cities around America and meet people who love the show.”
Though Devine is excited to seize the opportunity to make movies — you can currently hear him as the voice of The Flash in “The Lego Batman Movie” and see him alongside Bryan Cranston and James Franco in “Why Him?” — and more TV might be in cards in the future, he won’t turn his back on stand-up. Ideally, he said, he’ll do a national stand-up tour like this one every year or two.
Devine doesn’t have plans to film the “Weird Life” material as a special.
“This is kind of a way for me to fully immerse myself and get back into it,” he explained. “This is kind of a celebration of finishing ‘Workaholics’ and telling some of the stories of the insane things that have happened to me in the last few years.”
Among those insane things: getting a call from the White House.
In October, he starred in a (very funny, actually) public service video with Vice President Joe Biden about consensual sex as part of the “It’s On Us” campus rape prevention campaign. In it, Devine and the veep go undercover at a college keg party to spread the word.
“The last six, seven years has just been bonkers,” he said.
Alongside working with the vice president, the perks of fame for Devine have included free beer just about everywhere he goes and all the Sbarro’s pizza he can eat.
“I don’t know why, but any time I’m near a Sbarro there’s some 16-year-old kid like, ‘Whatever you want, bro, I got you!’ Jamba Juice, on the other hand, they’re like, ‘Get out of here. We don’t like your kind. No immunity boost for you!’”
Devine hasn’t yet gotten a call from Mike Pence. But, he said, he hopes that comedy can be a uniting force for a divided America. People on both sides in the U.S. since the election, he noted, feel alienated and unheard. Laughing is one of the few things everybody can do together.
“We’re all living in the same country,” he said. “We’re brothers and cousins and sisters and sons and daughters and we should come together and laugh and have a good time — and act like we don’t secretly hate each other’s guts for how we voted.”
Friday’s shows mark Devine’s onstage Aspen debut, though he skied here as a teenager with a group of high school friends who road-tripped from his native Iowa: “It’s been a little while, but I’m ready to go back as a fully grown adult who is somehow much worse at skiing.”
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