The most satisfying part of the entertaining and surprising “Adam Ruins Everything” was when Adam Conover appeared on the late, lamented truTV show to debunk a myth or misconception. He provided historical background, details and humor to drive his point home.
There will be elements of “Adam Ruins Everything” when Conover, 39, appears Friday and Saturday at the Spokane Comedy Club. “Pay Attention” is what Conover’s entertaining and informative traveling show is dubbed. The focus is on Conover’s attention deficit disorder, the medication, which altered his life, and big pharma.
“It’s about my childhood diagnosis and about the pharmaceutical industry and how we treat our children,” Conover said while calling from Los Angeles. “I talk about how I was when I was growing up. I was a wild kid who couldn’t control myself.”
Conover was diagnosed with ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) and took Adderall for 10 years. “It’s a very powerful drug,” Conover said. “It’s an amphetamine. It wasn’t until my mid-20s that I got better, which was after I stopped taking Adderall.”
After Conover kicked Adderall he created a pair of television shows, the aforementioned “Adam Ruins Everything” and “The G Word with Adam Conover.”
The former ran for three seasons from 2015 to 2019. The latter, which debuted in May on Netflix, explores the ups and downs of the government and how change can happen. Conover isn’t a political comic, but he’s adept at discussing policies.
“I would much rather go in that direction than talk about Donald Trump,” Conover said. “I don’t joke about Trump. There are so many people who do and someone like Stephen Colbert does it so well. No one needs me to discuss Trump. There is so much to talk about.”
Conover won’t focus on Trump, but he will riff about Barack Obama, who is producing “The G Word,” along with his wife, Michelle Obama. Each episode examines a different aspect of the government. The show is loosely based on Michael Lewis’ book, “The Fifth Risk.”
Conover interviewed the 44th president of the United States on episode 6 of “The G Word.” Give Conover credit for not pulling punches when he chatted with Obama.
“If I did it any other way, it wouldn’t be credible,” Conover said. “I have to have editorial independence or the show wouldn’t work. I asked Obama, who was all about hope and change, about why things didn’t change more than they did and he, of course, said that it’s not a speed boat he was on as president, but more of an ocean liner. He would say things like, “It’s not a monarchy.” What I will give Barack Obama is that he accomplished what some people thought was impossible. When he ran for president, he wasn’t given much of a chance. This is a man with an African father, who did not come from wealth. His name is Barack. How did he become president of our country? Barack Obama gives you the impression that anything can happen. The other thing about Obama is that he’s naturally funny. He’s as funny as I am, and I worked in New York City basements for 10 years to be this funny and he just steps in front of the camera and is very funny.”
Conover is adept at jousting with imposing figures, such as Obama and Bill Maher. Conover has appeared on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on multiple occasions.
“What I love about Bill Maher is that he’s direct,” Conover said. “I love that Bill tells guests right to their face that they are full of crap. I’ve disagreed with Bill and it’s been so much fun going back and forth with him.”
Even though there’s doom and gloom on Conover’s shows, the quick-witted entertainer, who is the only person in his family without a Ph.D., is an optimist at heart. “I do have hope,” Conover said. “Sometimes it doesn’t come out like that, but I do hope and think things will get better. We’re living in some fascinating times.”
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