Why Adam Carolla fired Alison Rosen

Adam Carolla, the host of iTunes 33rd most popular audio podcast, The Adam Carolla Show, spent some time on a recent podcast episode explaining why he fired former “news girl” Alison Rosen. The episode was posted on January 12, 2015, and it is entitled ACS: Anthony Cumia.

Here are the reasons Adam Carolla gave for firing Alison Rosen:

  • Adam didn’t think Alison had read any of his books.
  • Adam didn’t think Alison had watched his Spike TV show, Catch a Contractor.
  • Alison never promoted Mangria, a bottled beverage made from wine, vodka, and something else, that Adam “invented” and sells online.
  • Alison didn’t say anything when Adam unveiled the cover of one of his books, live on the podcast.
  • Alison never invited Adam to anything social outside of the podcast.
  • Alison didn’t say goodbye to Adam when leaving the recent The Adam Carolla Show Christmas party.
  • Alison wouldn’t agree to give her Amazon affiliate earnings to the legal defense fund to fight the patent troll who was suing Adam and some other high-profile podcasters.
  • Mike Lynch, a writer for the podcast who lives in Massachusetts, told Adam that he would send news stories to Alison for the show, but she would not use them.
  • Adam told Alison and Bryan Bishop, the show’s sound effect operator, that he may be tired at an upcoming live event, so they should have some prepared things to talk about. Minutes before going on stage, both Alison and Bryan told Adam that didn’t have anything prepared.
  • Alison would never improvise on the show, forcing Bryan to roleplay the girl parts.
  • After noticing that Alison’s podcast was featured on iTunes, Adam wanted to place a Carolla Digital logo on the show’s banner image. Alison would only agree to do this if it was so small, it was nearly invisible.
  • Adam dreaded talking about his participation in the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca race because both Alison and Bryan sounded disinterested and bored.
Why Adam Carolla fired Alison Rosen
Alison Rosen

I don’t think anyone ever questioned why Adam fired her. Firing an employee is a normal function of running a business, whether it’s a pet store or a podcast. If he wanted to fire her, then that’s his prerogative. What people are questioning was how he fired Alison Rosen. He fired her in an email over the Christmas break.

The entire segment was uncomfortable to listen to. I thought Adam sounded immature and petty, but that’s who he is. This episode only serves to solidify the reputation he has and proves his reputation completely deserved.

11 thoughts on “Why Adam Carolla fired Alison Rosen”

  1. Another way to look at is that Alison wouldn’t play ball when Ace basically made her career. Also, she’s not funny and added very little to the show.

  2. Exactly. She seemed completely uninterested in the show. Friends also asked why she was on the show as she was not funny. Routinely, her “anyways” response after an adam ad lib seemed very rude and unprofessional . Bottom line is the detracted from the show more than she added to it.

  3. Adam handled it ok at first as he just wanted to move forward quickly. It’s funny when you do this and people start to question your motives. I find it foolish to question someone’s motives when they have substantial examples of why they did it. When challenged, Adam had plenty of reasons and every right to do what he did. So, good for him! He was very clear about why he did what he did. Good! Adam and Alyson can move on in different directions. That is probably better as they have different agendas. I love the Carolla Show so I will go that way. You really want to compare podcasts? Rank them right now during all of this controversy? Highlight Alyson’s podcast vs Adam? Ok! Do it over time. Talent will always prevail. AC > AR all day long! All day long! Now she has to use her own studio and try to schedule her own guests. Welcome to the real world! Get it on!!!

  4. Adam is a douche
    Reasons might be valid but via email? over break?
    I can see why she might hesitiate with money
    I dont think Carolla was overpaying her. And she has wedding / fertility expenses?
    He talks about spending so much on the cancer dog and to have Lynette have driving lessons?
    Cruel Douche

  5. The low blow for me was that she was too damn cheap to even contribute anything to the Patent Troll battle that threatened all podcasters. I lost all respect for her when that came out, and she can’t deny that.

    1. Hi, Chris.

      Actually, Alison CAN deny that. And she did. She talked about this at length on her podcast. She pointed out that 50% of all her advertising revenue plus 50% of her Amazon click-through income already went to Adam. That was Adam’s cut – 50% – simply for Alison’s podcast being on the Carolla Digital network. On top of that, she paid Adam a per episode production fee to use the Carolla Digital studio.

      Considering how much money she was already giving Adam, Alison suggested that they find another way for her to contribute. She had lots of good ideas (auctions, etc), but when she emailed Adam about them, she never got a reply and then Adam goes on air and belittles her suggestions without ever fully understanding them or even asking about them.

      Adam also misrepresented Alison’s response. He claimed that Alison said “Absolutely not” when he approached her about contributing all of her Amazon money to the patent troll defense fund. Not only did Alison never say this, she wasn’t even approached by Adam. The first she ever heard of this arrangement was in an email from Mike Altier simply asking her about the size of her Amazon banner because the decision had been made that all the podcasts on the Carolla Digital network would donate their Amazon money. Apparently they’d had meetings about this – without Alison – and then Mike Altier emailed her to set it up. It was a done deal as far as they were concerned and Alison wasn’t even consulted.

      On top of that, there was no time limit set. In essence, Alison got an impersonal email simply telling her that she was giving up her Amazon income indefinitely – perhaps for years – and right at a time when she was facing potentially expensive surgeries. Now Alison was in the uncomfortable position of having to email back or talk to someone to try to figure out what this was all about and how it would work. It was even more complicated because according to their revenue sharing agreement, all the money goes to Carolla Digital first. They take their cut, and then they give the remainder to Alison. So Alison had no power in the arrangement. It’s not like she would have to “donate” the money. They could just keep it. It’s an awful position to be in, and when Alison tries to figure out what’s going on, Adam brands her unfairly as not a team player and then goes on air to mischaracterize everything that happened.

      So, I really don’t see any reason for you to lose respect for Alison. She was fully behind Adam in his fight against the patent troll. As you point out, she’s a podcaster and the legal fight against patent trolls would benefit her as well. But somehow, as often seems to happen with Adam, there was a lot of miscommunication and confusion and Adam ended up with the wrong idea.

      By the way, if you want to hear Alison talk about this, you can check out this YouTube video (though it’s audio-only).


      The whole thing is fascinating and worth listening to, but Alison begins talking about the patent troll defense fund issue at the 4-minute mark.



  6. As a long time ACS listener, I’m also a female with an improv and comedy background. Robin from the Howard Stern Shows in the 1980’s and 1990’s is the gold standard for female sidekicks to this day. Robin was a great listener, always knowing how and when to add to a conversation. Alison from day one had a lack of chemistry with Adam, and with many of his guests, which grated on me. Alison does not seem to get the improvisation 101 concept of “YES, AND” AT ALL.

    Contrary to his behavior toward his male employees, I can not remember Adam ever getting publicly irritated with Alison, and he definitely always spoke to her with more respect than he gives to any male he regularly interacts with on air, including Dr Drew.

    In return, Alison’s lack of interest in him was always apparent, which I found uncomfortably odd. Alison’s inability to engage in entertaining banter with Adam added speed bumps to the show – the flow of the show has improved with Gina and (it was fantastic with Teresa). I love female comics, and I tried to listen to Alison’s podcast several times last year (before she was fired) but each and every time I was…..bored. Alison’s timing is always a bit off, and her personality has an unappealing tinge of the self-absorbed.

    The best female sidekick Adam ever had was Teresa, hands down. Gina Grad is not too bad so far, I’ve experienced her a lot over the years on LA radio (she was always great with Randy Wang, on air and in their podcast) and have always liked her. Gina has excellent comic timing. At times she tries too hard to entertain, but that effort is easier to listen to and much preferable to the awkwardness and lack of cohesiveness we always heard and sensed when Alison was on the show.

    The entertainment business is a BUSINESS and not a charity. As others have mentioned, all of the people, including Alison who are (still) incensed by Alison’s firing need to get a grip and understand that. Adam put in his dues for many years, built his brand around a cantankerous and sometimes controversial persona, and many people, including Alison have been able to learn first hand from their association with him and his podcasting business model to create success for themselves.

    Despite the fact that Alison was not a good fit for the ACS, she was paid to appear on a daily podcast while witnessing the growth of a successful podcasting business from ground zero. The invaluable experience she gained while working with Adam and his crew is something she should be grateful for, and It time for her to move on and to stop talking about Adam, and find another way to be interesting. (Adam is at his worst when he repeats his stories too.) Alison has a built in starter audience and should have a knowledge of how to run and build show. Hopefully she will build an even greater audience of people who like her, and those of us who never cared much for her will not matter at all. Often, getting fired is the best thing that can happen for a career, as it sets you free!

    1. Dear LaurenV,

      I appreciate your long and thoughtful take on the situation. And my response will probably come as no surprise. If you’ve read the above blog post, I’m sure you can see it coming. But I’ll say it anyway:

      The point is not WHY Adam fired Alison. The point is HOW he fired her. It’s right there in Rick’s blog post: “I don’t think anyone ever questioned why he fired her. … What people are questioning was how he fired Alison Rosen.”

      Most of what you wrote is about why Adam fired Alison and whether Alison was or was not good at her job. To me, that is a separate issue. The issue for me – and what upset me – is the manner of the firing. (In fact, I never saw that it even had to be framed in terms of a firing.)

      To a certain extent, you do address this issue. You wrote, “The entertainment business is a BUSINESS and not a charity.” I take that to mean that since it’s about money and profit, you can be as coldhearted, disloyal, dishonest, mean, and nasty to other people as you want. It’s what all the characters in the Godfather say as they justify going around killing and betraying each other: “It wasn’t personal. It’s just business.” You’re not the first to make this argument regarding Adam and Alison. I’ve seen it many times, and it surprises me how gleeful these people are to point out how cold and cruel the entertainment business is. Why be so pleased about this? Why be happy that there is no room for decency and respect?

      But even accepting “it’s a business” as a premise doesn’t help your cause much. Sure, firing Alison by email over the Christmas holidays with no advance notice didn’t cost anything. But a friendly chat over coffee wouldn’t have cost anything either. Nor would a nice “goodbye Alison” episode of the Adam Carolla Show. What, after all, would have been so terrible about talking to Alison in person and then arranging a special episode (or even a week of episodes) of the podcast to remember her and say goodbye? Even that little gesture (and I consider that to be a very little gesture given the circumstances) would have engendered so much goodwill and avoided all this negativity. But Adam couldn’t even bring himself to such a small, decent act.

      I’ve seen a lot of discussion of this issue, but there’s one little irony that no one has yet mentioned. This kind of sums up the situation for me, and I’ll end with this. Adam and the crew went on Christmas holidays in late December of 2014. They couldn’t record new episodes of the podcast, so they chose to post reruns of the annual Ace Awards. These are an “Academy Awards” style celebration of all the great moments of the previous year. On December 23, they held the 2014 Ace Awards. Then on December 29, they posted the 2010 Ace Awards. On December 30, it was the 2011 Ace Awards. Finally, on December 31, the last day of the year, they posted the 2012 Ace Awards. Then on the next posted podcast on January 5, Adam announces, “Let’s welcome Gina Grad. Alison is gone, and let’s never mention her again.”

      Think about the unintended irony of that. Alison began working at Carolla Digital in early 2011, so Adam essentially ran a series of special episodes celebrating the highlights of the years that Alison was on the show. Then the very next new podcast, he announces (with less emotion than he would talk about buying new tires) that Alison was gone. Hey, it’s not personal. It’s just business.

  7. Adam , How about simply letting Allison know your expectations? Instead, you build a case in your own head that she has no idea of…sorry, she’s not a mind reader….I can’t only imagine what it’s like to live around this guy…
    I guess Drew’s observation of everyone scared shirtless of Adam is completely unfounded too…way to be a yes man, bald.

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