Before he was a successful comedian, radio/TV personality, and best-selling author, Adam Carolla dug ditches for a living. After graduating high school with a 1.75 GPA and dropping out of community college, he needed work. He was 18 and on his own, which meant sweeping construction sites, doing earthquake rehab, cleaning carpets, teaching boxing, and instructing traffic school. Hollywood was just down the road, but he didn't dream of stardom.
Carolla, who has just released President Me: The America That's in My Head, a pseudo-political treatise about engineering a less annoying society, took almost as long getting his construction career off the ground as rising to national stardom. He began as a day laborer picking up garbage, sweeping scraps, and stacking dry wall for $7-an-hour. His greatest achievement at the time was saving up $1,100 to buy a used Mazda pickup truck that had barstools where the bench seat had been and an 8-ball for a gearshift knob. He agreed to use it on a work site in exchange for a dollar-an-hour raise.
Carolla continued to work as a manual laborer until a gig hosting Loveline made him a household name in Los Angeles and, subsequently, nationwide. He got famous – The Adam Carolla Show set the Guinness world-record as the most-downloaded podcast of all time and his books In 50 Years We'll All Be Chicks and Not Taco Bell Material became best sellers – but he still enjoyed working with his hands. "I'm a good comedian," he says, "but I'm a great carpenter."
Carolla, who now hosts Catch a Contractor on Spike, gave Men's Journal some guidance on what men can do around the house to make sure they don't have to hire a contractor in the first place.
Align the Front Door
When the front door sags – and it will eventually sag – your instinct may be to sand it down so it fits back into the frame. Don't. Carolla says this is a big mistake because the shape of the door and the size of frame didn't change: "Everybody goes and gets out the sanding block or the planer or the circular saw and says, 'Well, if it's dragging at the bottom, I'll have to trim the bottom.'" Instead, focus on the way the door hangs.
"You need to straighten it back up, not start taking material off," says Carolla, adding that the best way to start is by tightening the hinges. He says to slip a piece of cardboard underneath the door to keep it in place while you unscrew the hinges and give the screw another twist. Once that's accomplished, you can look and see if you really need to adjust the deadbolt hole.
Credit: Getty Images