“How many people literally thought they were coming to an Adam Levine show? You’re so bummed! You’re like, ‘Jesus what happened to him? He looks horrible! He gained like 35 pounds and shrunk 11 inches, he looks like shit.’ Yeah, I’m such a bitch.”
Comedian and actor Adam DeVine took the stage in the Recreation Center Sept. 16, making the crowd of WOWies, WOW leaders and other Cal Poly students hoot with laughter.
With a red solo cup of Redbull and LaCroix in hand, the “Workaholics,” “Pitch Perfect” and “Modern Family” star covered everything from T-Rex impressions to puberty to a passionate rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
“It was either that or some Usher … ‘You Want It Bad,’” DeVine said.
DeVine sang the national anthem only after the crowd begged him to sing something. He admitted he didn’t know “Cups” from “Pitch Perfect”. He also shared he didn’t prepare a song for his “Pitch Perfect” audition because he thought the movie was about baseball, not singing.
This kind of improvisation is common for DeVine, both in his stand-up and acting roles. In fact, DeVine said most of his lines in “Workaholics” were improvised, as he co-wrote the show with co-stars Blake Anderson and Anders Holm.
“I don’t know how to not improv, it might be my bad brains and not being able to remember the lines perfectly but that’s the plus of writing your own show,” DeVine said. “If you say it differently I’m like, ‘Yeah, I wrote it so I can say it differently, I’m testing it out.’”
DeVine uses a lot of physical comedy in his work, both on and off the stage. His energy remained high throughout the show, as he demonstrated his reaction to fights, getting hit on by women in the club and his childhood enthusiasm for fairies.
“I’m a pretty high-octane person so I think I just run at this speed until I pass out and then I wake up and I’m back at this speed,” DeVine said. “I’ll die early. I’ll probably die in my 50s. My heart will just explode. I drink Redbull all the time. I’m a monster. I’m a garbage can.”
DeVine also said performing stand-up comedy is different from recorded television and film when it comes to breaks between high energy acting.
“What’s nice about doing a TV show like ‘Workaholics’ is that you can stop and eat a sandwich whenever you want,” DeVine said. “With this sometimes I’m up there and I’m like, ‘Fuck I wish I had a sandwich.’ About halfway through I’m like, ‘I wish I could stop to eat Mr. Pickles,’ but I’m on stage so I have to power through.”
DeVine said joking around and telling stories with other comedian friends like opener Adam Ray gives him material to work with on the stand-up stage. The “Ghostbusters” and “Curb Your Enthusiasm” actor had similar stand-up material to DeVine, covering weed, college life and global warming.
“With Adam and I, all the time we’ll be talking and laughing and joking and he’ll be like ‘Oh dude that would work perfect with that joke that you had,’” DeVine said.
On “Workaholics,” DeVine said working with his close friends also made developing the show easier and more relaxing.
“With the ‘Workaholics’ guys Blake and Anders, that I’m so comfortable with, it’s just nice, you know their strengths so well,” DeVine said. “When you see an opening for them to be really funny you can just be like ‘Hey dude you should do that thing that you’re so funny at.’ There’s a comfortability that you don’t have with other actors.”
Like Robert De Niro.
“I was in a movie with Robert De Niro and I wasn’t gonna go tell him ‘Hey you should do this,’” DeVine said. “He’d be like ‘Don’t speak to me.’”
After a few more shows at colleges and other venues, DeVine will tour Europe and the Middle East on a United Service Organizations Inc. (USO) tour, where he will perform for military personnel on aircraft carriers and military bases. DeVine’s stops include Iraq, Iran, Italy, Poland and the United Arab Emirates.
Besides his “Weird Life” stand-up tour that started in January, DeVine has been working on several movies such as Netflix original “Game Over Man!” which he wrote and stars in alongside Anderson and Holm. He also worked on “Isn’t It Romantic,” a romantic comedy premiering in 2019, starring Liam Hemsworth and Rebel Wilson.
Additionally, DeVine, Anderson and Holm are producing “Eggplant Emoji,” a movie about high school friends on a camping trip when one friend accidentally severs a body part with his butterfly knife and the gang has to get it back.
Through all of his work, DeVine said his advice for success is to do what you love and do it well.
“Do what you are passionate about,” DeVine said. “Find something you really care about and work harder than anyone you know. I think that’s kind of my mantra going into comedy. Work harder than your peers and then you’ll meet peers that are working harder than you and then match them. You’ll be successful just through sheer tenacity.”