When Adam Devine was a senior in high school, his parents went away for a weekend. So Devine did what any reasonable high school senior would do: Throw an 800-person backyard banger. When the cops came, Devine walked down the driveway to meet them.
“‘Hey! Sorry officers, is the music too loud?’ They said ‘No. There are several hundred underage kids drinking here,’” Devine said in a phone round-table interview. “And I was like ‘Whoa — so that’s the reason.’”
After being asked to bring everyone inside, Devine casually strolled to the backyard, stopped, and yelled “RUN! THE COPS ARE HERE! EVERYONE GET OUT!” He was promptly charged with 22 counts of procuring alcohol for minors.
And for Devine, the party never quite stopped. The star of Comedy Central’s hit Workaholics — now taping its third season —gained comedic prominence with roles in the 2012 film Pitch Perfect and, more recently, on NBC’s Modern Family. Thursday marked the debut of Devine’s first large project that is independent of his Workaholics collaborators Blake Anderson, Anders Holm and Kyle Newacheck. Adam Devine’s House Party, picked up for eight episodes, showcases Devine’s comedic talents without the accustomed comfort of his friends (though all three make cameos throughout the season).
House Party, which airs on Thursdays at 12:30 a.m., blends actual standup routines with Workaholics-reminiscent scripted segments. The idea for the show originated from his appearance on the stand-up comedy showcase Live at Gotham.
“I had the idea for a long time,” Devine said. “I thought, ‘nothing against [Live at Gotham], but it’s a little boring seeing these comics that you don’t know … for five or six minutes,’” Devine said. “There has to be a better way to get to know these comedians outside of their format. That’s the real idea.”
Devine is naturally sympathetic to the plight of the stand-up comic as he is a natural-born comedy star. However, during his childhood in Iowa, Devine said he never pictured himself becoming a comedian. In fact, he envisioned himself as a lawyer.
“My mom wasn’t supportive of me going to law school [because] she said it’d be too expensive for us,” he said. “And then I realized I just wanted to be an actor playing a lawyer.”
With this realization, Devine began attending the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco where he met future Workaholics co-star Blake Anderson. It was there that he refined his life’s two passions: comedy and “having fun.” As for his feelings on California, he may have had an ulterior motive for wanting to move out west.
“I love it [medical marijuana],” he said. “I have trouble sleeping … As long as you’re not taking giant bong rips and blowing them into a baby’s face then I think it’s cool for you to smoke weed.”
It was this incessant and meta-immature lifestyle that led to the inception of Workaholics. In response to the “bro culture” craze, Mail Order Comedy (Devine and his friends’ internet comedy group) created Workaholics as homage to their hard-drinking, hard-partying lifestyles. Here, Devine perfected his obnoxiously dull, outlandish, self-parodying character Adam DeMamp.
“I have a weird, big, dumb face that can move in all sorts of different directions, so that helps out,” Devine explained.
With the show’s success, Devine and Anderson rented an “Insane house in [Beverly] hills …with giant metal dinosaurs on the roof” where they continued their partier ways. It was because of the events in this house, from Anderson jumping off the roof and breaking his back to the men setting their kitchen on fire, that Devine got the inspiration he needed to move forward with House Party.
“It’s kinda fun to do something so new and so different, like hosting a giant standup show for TV [with] cranes and cameras swooping down over the crowd,” Devine said.
Though he never quite moved past the party fascination of his teenage years, he turned this frat-bro obsession into a strength. It’s easy to remain lost, especially as an adult, in the hard-partying lifestyle of college, but Devine plays with that idea in the most satisfying and incorrigible ways. Though he may still be a kid at heart, he’s the kid we all want to be when we grow up.