Adam Carolla: The Carpenter Who Built a Legendary Comedy Career


Adam Carolla is a bona fide comedy legend with a seemingly endless number of credits to his name. He co-hosted the “Loveline” radio show with Dr. Drew Pinsky; his own number-one morning radio show, which replaced The Howard Stern Show, was syndicated to a wide range of markets; he created and hosted “The Man Show” with Jimmy Kimmel; he’s written a number of books, two of which were New York Times Bestsellers; he’s become a prolific filmmaker, with comedies and documentaries to his credit; and “The Adam Carolla Show” even holds the Guinness World Record for the most downloaded podcast.

But even though he grew up in the shadow of the Hollywood sign, it may as well have been a million miles away. After graduating from high school (where he was voted Class Clown) unable to read or spell well, he took odd jobs digging ditches, cleaning carpets and teaching boxing, and he eventually found a niche as a skilled carpenter. While he was able to pay his bills, his passion was comedy. He followed his instincts and carved a path, one step at a time, that led him to the success he enjoys today.

Adam is as humble a guy as you’ll find, and he really doesn’t love to take credit for his accomplishments. That’s part of what makes his story so interesting. He just keeps going.

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Scott and Adam talking in Adam’s “pirate ship.”

 

Animal Rescue Is Dr. Peter Rork’s Second Act


Dr. Peter Rork was a highly-successful, orthopedic surgeon in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. But at the age of 59, he unexpectedly lost his wife Meg and grief took hold of him. He quit his work. He stopped eating. And he and his dog Doyle retreated to a remote vacation home in Montana for three months.

At the urging of a concerned friend, Peter refocused his life on animal rescue. He is the founder, president and chief pilot of “Dog Is My CoPilot,” a not-for-profit group that transports animals from overcrowded kill shelters to adoption centers where families are waiting to welcome a new pet. His story has been told on CBS Sunday Morning, NBC Nightly News and The Washington Post.

Dog Is My CoPilot has saved over 25,000 animals. Click here to support their the important work. .

Veda Semarne’s Leap from the Classroom to “The Office”


Veda Semarne grew up loving everything about education. So much so that she earned a PhD in Art History from Yale University and entered the workforce as an academic, with every intention of finding a full-time, tenure-track position and living her life in and around higher education. But after spending a few years teaching classes at institutions such as Trinity College in Hartford and C.W. Post on Long Island, she made the unusual decision to leave academia to pursue something else.

Figuring out what that something else would be took her back to a classroom, this time at the American Film Institute, where she learned about script supervising. That’s when the magic happened. Veda became a script supervisor and over the course of her career accrued 65 credits on IMDb. Most notably, soon after launching her second act career, Veda landed a job on one of the most iconic television shows in history: “The Office.” She worked on all nine seasons of the show.

Leaving academia is perhaps as unusual as reaching the greatest heights in Hollywood; Veda did them both. As you’ll find out in today’s episode, her story is an absolute inspiration.

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An example marked-up page from one of Veda’s scripts. Note how complicated the markings are.
One of the many forms Veda was responsible for filling out for a production.
Veda at an Emmy party after one of The Office’s many wins.

 

After the White House: A Speechwriter Finds Joy Teaching


Cody Keenan started working in the White House at the age of 28 and rose up to the role of Chief Speechwriter for President Barack Obama. In terms of his chosen profession, he was at the top of the mountain at a very young age. But after eight years, the Obama Presidency ends. What does he do next?

Cody Keenan’s new book, Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America” is available on Amazon.

After the White House, Cody has accomplished a lot. He has collaborated with Barack Obama on his best-selling, presidential memoir, A Promised Land. He’s now completed his own book, Grace: President Obama and Ten Days in the Battle for America, which debuts on October 4, 2022. He has joined Fenway Strategies, a strategic, communications firm that helps write speeches for others.

But according to Cody, the most rewarding part of his second act is teaching the next generation of political speechwriters in a small class at his alma mater Northwestern University. “It’s the best thing I do. It pays the least but it’s the most fun. I get to watch these students grow and improve and get excited about politics and its possibilities.”

In this episode of Second Act Stories, we go behind the scenes at the White House to learn the story of the eulogy which President Obama and Cody wrote for the funeral of Reverend Clementa Pinckney and eight other congregants at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina. During the service, President Obama surprised the congregation by signing Amazing Grace.

Day With M Night Shyamalan Inspires A Second Act In Filmmaking


Melissa Davey was a senior, corporate executive turning 65 and facing a key decision point in her work life — Do I stay or do I go? At the same time, an odd series of events resulted in her winning a charity auction to spend a day on a movie set with director M Night Shyamalan.

Shadowing Mr. Shyamalan for a day put her on the path to becoming a filmmaker. She completing her first feature film in 2018.  Beyond 60 is a documentary that profiles nine, vibrant women and their “after 60” accomplishments. Now 72, Ms. Davey will release her second film, “Climbing Into Life” in early 2023.

 

The Wolf of Late Night: Paul Mecurio’s Journey from Wall Street to Comedy


Paul Mecurio has achieved a level of success in comedy that budding comics only dream of. He’s a writer on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert; he was a founding writer on The Daily Show, for which he won Emmy and Peabody Awards; he hosted a one-man Off-Broadway show called “Permission to Speak with Paul Mecurio”; he’s hosted shows on Comedy Central and HBO; he had his own comedy special; and he’s a regular opinion contributor on “CBS Sunday Morning.”

But all this success came at an incredibly stressful cost. After graduating Georgetown Law School with high honors, Paul worked as a lawyer on Wall Street at a top-tier international law firm and as an investment banker at Credit Suisse, executing multi-billion-dollar M&A transactions for Fortune 100 companies. He was living the life everybody thinks they want, making a ton of money and enjoying the trappings that kind of success brings.

All the while, Paul was writing jokes and living a double life, working in boardrooms by day and sneaking off to comedy clubs by night to feed an insatiable need to follow his passion for comedy. A chance meeting with Jay Leno was the catalyst for what would become an incredibly gripping, angst-ridden journey filled with self-doubt, torment and tears that had Paul living on the edge of a nervous breakdown.

Hold onto your hats; this episode is a roller coaster that will inspire you to chase your dreams.

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Recipe for Success: A Red Truck, Amazing Pies & Barack Obama


Brian Noyes was an art director for 30+ years with top publications like The Washington Post, Smithsonian, Architecture and House & Garden. He loved his work. But he also loved baking. And he regularly took week-long courses at schools like the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, NY and L’Academie de Cuisine in Gaithersburg, MD.

After the September 11th attack, he decided to buy a weekend house in rural Virginia — an escape from his design work in Washington, DC. As a hobby, he started making jams and pies for a local country store under the name the Red Truck Bakery. He quickly developed a devoted, local following.

His big break came in 2008 when legendary New York Times food columnist Marian Burros tried some of his baked goods at a friend’s 4th of July party. She later wrote in a holiday, round-up article:

“One of my favorite discoveries is Brian Noyes, the owner of the Red Truck Bakery in Virginia, who has a deft hand with pastries and an unerring sense of flavor balance.”

Brian’s website went from less than 25 visitors per day to 57,000 visitors on the day the article appeared. And it was the push he needed to quit his job as an art director and open the Red Truck Bakery in Warrenton, Virginia in 2009.

““I like pie. That’s not a state secret. And I can confirm that the Red Truck Bakery makes some darn good pie.” President Barack Obama

Today he has stores in both Warrenton and Marshall, Virginia and a staff of 50 people. He ships dozens of pies, cakes and granola each day. He also has a devoted fan in former President Barack Obama who wrote a salute to the Red Truck Bakery in his final year in office. Special thanks to Cody Keenan, President Obama’s chief speechwriter, for coming on the podcast and sharing this story with us.

You can sample their baked goods for yourself by visiting www.redtruckbakery.com. You can also order Brian’s first book “The Red Truck Bakery Cookbook” and his second book, “The Red Truck Bakery Farmhouse Cookbook” (which comes out on August 2, 2022). And if you find yourself passing through Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley, make it a point to drop by one of their stores. You won’t be disappointed.

 

 

Ready For A Career Transition? 26 Minutes With Coach John Tarnoff


John Tarnoff is a non-traditional, career transition coach. A veteran of Hollywood, John was fired 7 times over the course of his lengthy career in entertainment.

At age 50, he decided to go back to school and earned a master’s degree in spiritual psychology. Pivoting to a focus on people and career counseling, he eventually wrote “Boomer Reinvention: How To Create Your Dream Career Over 50.” He is frequently interviewed by top tier media (CBS This Morning, Forbes, CNBC, Market Watch and Next Avenue to name a few) on the topic of career transition.

Click here for more information on John Tarnoff’s unusual coaching practice.

A Second Act Creates the World’s Best Chocolate Chip Cookie


Steve Lewis is objectively one of the most creative people on the planet. So much so that pure creativity is what motivates him; money just isn’t part of the equation. That doesn’t mean he isn’t successful. He is. Very. But his success is a byproduct of executing his incredible creative vision.

 

Steve originally wanted to be a professional musician – a goal he achieved by the age of 14 – but a botched hand surgery set him down a different path. After college, he followed his passion for comic books, pop culture and community and opened Uberbot, a unique, high-end art gallery and comic book store. That’s where he originally shared the cookies that would become the foundation of Gideon’s Bakehouse.

 

Gideon’s Bakehouse is a fully immersive “tattered Victorian” experience – an entire world with stories, characters and histories – that just happens to sell the world’s best cookies, according to Insider.com, The Boston Globe and Sports Illustrated and a host of other media.

 

Steve Lewis calls baking a hobby, but his title – Sublime Prince of the Esoteric Order of Cookie – and his accolades say otherwise. This is an inspiring story that chronicles an immensely creative person and his journey to also become one of the world’s most renowned bakers.

 

You can find Gideon’s Bakehouse at www.gideonsbakehouse.com, but they don’t ship their products. To try them, you have to visit one of the two Gideon’s Bakehouse locations, at Orlando’s East End Market or Disney Springs.

Goodbye Hedge Fund…Hello Sourdough Bread


Adam Simon was a partner in Echo Street Capital Management, a successful hedge fund in New York City. While he enjoyed the challenge of the work and it’s financial rewards, the demanding 80+ hour per week schedule was wreaking havoc on his personal life. So in 2017,he quit and focused his attention on reconnecting with his family.

As the Covid-19 crisis began, Adam, his wife and their two children headed to a safer location in the suburbs. “We were going a bit stir crazy” and they opted to launch an informal neighborhood project called “Pandemic Breads.” They baked bread and other sweets in their kitchen and sold the goods door-to-door. He loved everything about baking and became especially enamored with the challenge of making sourdough bread.

After working as an intern in two commercial bakeries in New York City, Adam launched “Sourdough Gambit” named after his love of chess and the popular Netfix series “The Queens Gambit.” He started small, baking two days per week in a shared commercial kitchen and selling his products via home delivery in Manhattan. Since launching in February, 2022, the new venture has gone exceptionally well winning rave reviews from customers.

Click here to learn more about Sourdough Gambit.

A sampling of Sourdough Gambit’s end product made entirely from organic ingredients.