Adam Carolla on His New Film No Safe Spaces and How Colleges Are Killing Freedom of Speech


Except for the fact that he is far more successful than me, Adam Carolla and I share a good bit in common. We both hosted Los Angeles-based radio talk shows before going into podcasting and documentary filmmaking, we are both extremely cynical, and my wife really likes both of us (though definitely him more so than me).

We also each possess a grave concern for where freedom of speech is headed in this country. Back in 2005, I wrote a long-forgotten book called The Death of Free Speech, while Adam and his conservative talk show pal Dennis Prager are out with a new documentary film entitled, No Safe Spaces (appropriately, both works happen to use a photo of the Statue of Liberty being gagged with masking tape as their primary promotional image).

The film, the Los Angeles premiere of which I attended a couple of weeks ago, specifically documents the growing crisis on our college campuses when it comes to allowing for free expression of thought, especially from conservatives. It is both a very important and well-done documentary which acts a damning indictment of how political correctness and extreme “wokeness” are causing, in direct contradiction of traditional liberalism, a dangerous thought-police mentality at many institutions of higher learning, seriously threatening the entire concept of free speech.

Last week, I sat down with Carolla to discuss the film and the many significant subjects related to it. During our half-hour discussion for one of my podcasts, I both praised and took issue with elements of movie, at times pressing him about some of the missed opportunities and possible contradictions within the work.

Here are some of the more compelling topics that we covered:

  • The difference between “Freedom of Speech” and “First Amendment Rights,” and how a stunning lack of public reverence for the former issue — especially among younger people — is already starting to weaken the legal protections for the latter right.
  • The shocking specific stories illustrated in the film where good people, including liberals, have lost their jobs in academia because they simply dared to not go along with the popular group think.
  • How sometimes the divide in what speech is restricted and which is not is based more in popularity vs. unpopularity than it is strictly liberal vs. conservative, especially when it comes to toxic topics like alleged sexual abuse and cancel culture.
  • Why the film decides to totally omit President Trump from the discussion, even though he is himself, in my view, a danger to “free speech,” and it was his election which obviously triggered liberals into making the environment on college campuses far less tolerant towards “conservatives.”
  • How the film misses a great chance to make a real impact within liberalism, as opposed to being focused on appealing mostly to Trump fans, by not having progressive CNN commentator Van Jones, who appears in the documentary, serve as Carolla’s co-host rather than Prager (and the telling reason Carolla thinks such a concept might not have worked out well for Jones).
  • Why Carolla agrees with me that at least some of the “conservative” pro-Trump commentators who are profiled in the film for being protested and, at times, censored, at college campuses, are actually thrilled when this happens because media martyrdom, especially to academia, is a particularly good business model in the Trump era.
  • Why the podcaster/comedian, who has become more openly right of center in recent years, believes that many of the silly stunts that liberals are pulling on college campuses actually serve to help President Trump politically, and may even boost his chances at reelection.


The entire interview, as well the rest of my analysis of other recent events, can be heard at this link.

This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.

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