q&a with adam devine: serving those who serveAaron Pylinski | Community Writer
Comedian and actor Adam Devine is steadily growing his fan base over this past decade from the start of his hit Comedy Central program Workaholics to his more recent release on the big screen starring alongside Zac Efron in Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates.
But when Adam isn’t reading scripts, shooting movies or pressing the flesh in the states, he’s entertaining servicemembers around the globe. This past holiday season, Adam was on the USO Holiday Tour entertaining the troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, a moment he says was amazing due mainly to an audience who gives as much as he does and more. Being a comedian, he appreciates the military crowd because they respond so well to his act.
Recently, Adam was on a week-long tour in Japan and Okinawa. His last stop was MCAS Iwakuni. Before the show, Adam and his entourage spent a day in Hiroshima taking in Peace Memorial Park and the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Museum. I got to sit down with Adam and ask him a few questions about his connection with the military, entertaining those who serve and who of his closest friends and relatives he would prefer to be stranded on a deserted island.
Who are some of your family members who have served and what are your memories of them?
Both of my grandparents served. My grandfather on my mom's side stormed the beach at Normandy and my grandfather on my dad's side was in the Korean War. I know my grandfather on my dad's side got shot in the leg and came home.
What are your feelings on entertaining servicemembers abroad?
I love it. They're so reactive. I make a joke, and everyone is so responsive. I did the USO Holiday Tour over Christmas and was in Iraq and Afghanistan, and everyone was so appreciative that I was out there and some of the troops were saying, “I can't believe you gave up being with your family over the holidays to come out here.” And I said, “I guess you don't know my family.” Afghanistan was a treat. It really is pretty amazing how good of an audience the servicemembers are. They give so much, and they're so excited that you're there, and to me, it’s like giving them a little piece of home.
You had your dad with you on the USO Tour, what was it like having your pops with you in Afghanistan and Iraq and entertaining the troops?
It was awesome. Especially doing a tour like that, I feel like it was a cool bonding experience for me and my dad to go out there and see some things that you would never normally get to see or you'd never get to do. We got to ride on the back of a Chinook and then we got to fly in a C-17. We also got hang out with General Dunford. The whole thing was a pretty surreal experience really. My Dad left his glasses at the hotel in Spain, so he was blind the entire time. I made fun of him the whole time. I was like, “You didn't see much, did you?”
Where else would you like to do entertainment shows for servicemembers abroad?
I’d be happy to go anywhere and everywhere that they'll let me go and entertain the troops. It is an amazing experience for me. Hopefully, I'm giving them a great show, but I'm purely selfish. It's amazing to go to all these crazy countries that I probably would never get to go to and then do a good service to people who are so giving with their time, who are taking me around,showing me cool stuff, and letting me play out my military fantasies from my old high school days.
Did you bone up on any military lingo before the tour?
I did nothing. I definitely wanted to seem like an out of place civilian because I totally am. I think if I would have done too much research and came in here talking the lingo, people would've saw right through that immediately.
Iwakuni is your last stop on a week-long tour through Japan, what are some of your best memories from the trip so far?
Our last show in Okinawa was awesome. The venue was supposed to seat something like 400 people, and I think they crammed somewhere around 700 people in there. They couldn't turn on the air conditioning because it has to be a certain temperature for a certain amount of days in order for them to like turn it on, so it was so hot in there, and I sweated through my shirt, my pants, and I looked like a monster. The shows have all been really rowdy and really fun. It's cool to see the difference between shows for Marines and shows for the Air Force. They all have a great level of response, but those shows for the Marines are pretty fun because they tend to be the rowdiest or so I've noticed so far.
Do you get a lot of audience participation?
Sometimes I do. I don't like to talk to the audience too terribly much because then it can really spin out of control. Instead of performing and doing the show you're just fielding questions and putting out fires.
What was some of the cool or interesting military gear you were able to check out on this trip?
I did get to go on the USS Ronald Reagan, which was really cool. They took us and showed us all around and explained how they land planes on there and then sling shot them off, which is pretty insane. The fact that they were able to figure it out to shoot someone off the deck of a moving ship and the land it and that also there was someone ballsy enough to try to figure that out is impressive. The first guy to ever do it was like, “Put me in the plane, and I'll give it a go.”
What are some upcoming projects that you have?
I have a movie that just came out two days ago called “When We First Met” which is a romantic comedy and stars me and Alexandra Daddario from Baywatch. I have a movie coming out next month called Game Over Man, and that's with me and the guys from Workaholics. It's basically like Die Hard, but instead of Bruce Willis, it's the three dumb dudes from Workaholics. Basically, we work at this hotel, and it gets taken over by terrorists for ransom, and then we decide to save the day. Which you definitely don't do, you should definitely let the military or the police get involved.
You’ve got a fairly deep entertainment resume thus far with Comedy, TV, Movies, YouTube, is there any uncharted territory in your future that you are wanting to get into? The theatre?
I would love to do a Broadway run if I find the right play or something that I really feel like I would enjoy. That is the way to find out if you really are a good actor or not is to do it on stage and do it every night and still find ways to make it fun and fresh for you. That's why I like doing stand up so much because every night you have to get up there and prove that you're good at it and that you can do it in front of different audiences. It's amazing how sometimes a joke or a story will work one way with one audience and then will work in a completely different way with another audience.
Veterans are coming back from war and trying out stand-up comedy. Have you worked with any of these returning veterans or is that something that would be worth looking into?
I love meeting funny people. I used to open up a for Rob Riggle, and I know Rob was in the military. I think he's still in the reserves now. He’s a great guy and super funny, too.
I know you guys were touring in Australia and got to see a Foo Fighters show.
It was the craziest. I got ahold of my agent and told him we’re in Melbourne at the same time and the Foo Fighters and that I would love to go to their concert. My agent said okay and got us tickets. While we were there, the manager of the Foo Fighters grabbed us and said, “Hey, you guys want to go on stage?” And we said, “Of course,” and got to go on the side of the stage. As Dave Grohl was running off stage he looked right at me and gave me the thumbs up, and I thought to myself, “Dave Grohl knows who I am!” My middle school kid heart exploded. We were talking to the band after the show, and they are just the coolest guys. I said, “Would you guys want to come to our show?” They said yes, and then they actually showed up. I assumed they just would just say ‘Yeah, sure, okay.” And then not show up. But they did, and that definitely was a pretty stand-up thing to do.
What would your idea of the perfect supergroup be?
I really do have a soft spot in my heart for pop punk, like Blink 182. I also like The White Stripes and The Black Keys. If I could have a mixture of Jack White playing guitar,Dave Grohl on the drums,Dan Auerbach from The Black Keys, and then Mark Hoppus playing bass (and every once in awhile let him sing), that would be a very weird, very Adam Devine specific band that would be pretty crazy.
If you were stranded on a deserted island with three of your closest friends or relatives, who would they be? And then who would you eat first to survive?
It would probably be my friends Kyle and Adam and my girlfriend. And I'd probably eat Adam; he's bigger and a little more meatier. You want to eat the muscle; you don't want too much gristle.
Who are some up and coming Comedians we should be looking out for that are on your radar?
I know a lot of up and coming comics. Langston Kerman is a guy that people are going to start seeing a lot of. He’s starting to get a lot of acting work, and you're gonna start seeing him a lot more. Brent Morin has a Netflix special but he is another one of our really good friends, and he's crushing it right now. I feel like he's probably the next guy that's gonna really pop. I feel like he's on the verge and has been for a few years.