Podcast superstar Adam Carolla -- performing comedy here for the first time Saturday -- argues with himself about the merits of Vegas:
"I ultimately find it depressing in some way, shape or form," he tells me.
"It's one of those testaments to modern man and ingenuity. And then it's also one of those (places) where you think, 'Well, maybe the terrorists have a point.' It's this crazy excess mixed with crazy technology.
"When I walk into that casino, I just see addiction. I just see gambling and nicotine and alcohol.
"And I'm not judging. I partake in all those things. But to see them all under 200,000 square feet all at the same time, it would be like if you opened a door and you saw 3,000 guys (watching) YouPorn simultaneously. It would feel weird.
"On the other hand, when I get home, I'm going to (watch) YouPorn. So I can't really judge. But you do open that door and get a little depressed.
"It's sort of like the opposite feeling you have when it's late at night, and you turn on the TV, and they're doing a Special Olympics commercial, and you think, 'Wow, man, people are pretty good. They're really decent, coming together and helping out.' And it brings a tear to your eye.
"It's like the opposite of that when you walk into a casino and see people drinking out of goblets that are 3 feet long and made out of DayGlo orange.
"On the other hand, it's very unique to the United States. It sort of makes us what we are. I don't begrudge it. Keep it going. Keep growing. Keep on keeping on. I love the strip clubs. I love the 99-cent cocktails and all that stuff. But I gotta tell ya, it's one of those places that -- 48 hours? Plenty."
Question: Do you have any Vegas debauchery stories with Jimmy Kimmel, who's from here?
Answer: "Spent quite a few hours over at Olympic Gardens," the strip club.
"My advice to anyone who wants to take home a stripper is always the same: Ask them what time they get off work. And if they say, 'I can leave anytime I want,' that is three horseshoes, or three cherries, popping up on your slot machine. That means, 'I can party.'
"If they say, 'My boyfriend usually picks me up at 3 a.m.,' that means no can do."
Q: Is that stripper system a result of your own trial and error?
A: "There wasn't much error. ... But you gotta understand, if you're on MTV, it helps, which I was at the time."
Q: What's your Vegas show gonna look like? Will you have Jimmy here as Santa?
A: "It's a visual show as well as an audio show.
"I had a sad realization when I was laying in bed the other night that what I do is essentially Carrot Top. Except instead of the steamer trunk, we have a laptop computer filled with pictures and vignettes and bits.
"So, you know how all comedians make fun of Carrot Top for going out there with that trunk, essentially on training wheels? It's like that."
Q: I like Carrot Top. But I like that on your podcast, you don't call him Carrot Top, you just call him Top.
A: "You wouldn't want to be Carrot Bottom. That's my whole feeling."
Q: I've heard you say, when you do comedy onstage, you don't get a lot of personal reward from applause. ... But you seem happy to me.
A: "Yeah. I don't think of myself as happy. But I think of myself as something which is more important than happy, which is content.
"People say, 'What's the end game?'
"It's academic. I'm talking for a living. ... And people are paying me for sharing my ideas."
Q: You have a lot of podcasts on your Ace Broadcasting network. Are you working in the red or the black?
A: "We're making money. I'm not one of those Hollywood (expletive) who won't say how much they make.
"I have Lamborghinis. I live in a big house. I make more money than you do. That's my job. I'm a (expletive) celebrity. You drive a cement mixer. You think I'm going to stand here and tell you I make $41,000 a year? I'm not.
"We worked for free over a year. We put a bunch of money in it for over a year. ... And got a product together, and got some ears on a product, and were able to attract a modest following, and now we're charging advertisers to talk about their products to our modest following. It's no different than radio, or TV, or owning a blimp."
Doug Elfman's column appears on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays. E-mail delfman@reviewjournal. com. He also blogs at reviewjournal.com/elfman.