Adam Tod Brown is so unafraid to express his opinions that he even created the Unpops Podcast Network (Unpops.com) as a way to share them with the world.
Building on his reputation as the former editor of the popular humor site Cracked.com and host of the “Unpopular Opinion” podcast, he expounds on a wide range of topics — from conspiracy theories and untold history to the latest events in pop culture and politics — while co-hosting nine of its shows each week.
As if overseeing the website’s 15 podcasts is not enough to keep him busy, Brown also co-hosts the long-running live show “The Darkest Hour” at the Westside Comedy Theater in Santa Monica. On Wednesday, he will expand his empire further with the launch of the bi-weekly stand-up series Unpops Comedy in the Courtyard at the Alex Theatre in Glendale.
“We’ve been looking for a new venue to do regular events and Glendale Arts, which manages the Alex, was wanting to produce a comedy show,” says Brown. “It’s an amazing spot and we’re excited to be there.”
The show will also feature fellow Unpops podcast hosts Quincy Johnson (“What in the World”) and Jeff May (“The Monday Show”), as well as comics Leah Kayajanian from Comedy Central’s “Road to Roast Battle” and Caitlin Cutt of the independently streamed “White Wine True Crime!” podcast. The evening will be particularly special for Cutt, marking her last performance before taking a maternity leave from the comedy scene.
The night’s headliner is Mo Mandel, who has hosted the series “BARmageddon” and “Comedy Knockout” on TruTV in addition to starring in his own special, “Negative Reinforcement,” on the NBC-owned comedy website Seeso.com. Two more shows are already slated, with one on Sept. 6 headlined by current Cracked.com editor Alex Schmidt, and another on Sept. 20 spotlighting Laurie Kilmartin, a veteran comic and writer for the TBS late-night talk show “Conan.”
Brown, 41, was born and raised in Peoria, Ill., before moving to Madison, Wisconsin. when he was 19, prior to stints in San Francisco and New York. It was while working as an insurance salesman in South Dakota in 2007 that he first took a stab at comedy writing via Cracked.com, the online successor to the long-running but now-defunct satire magazine Cracked.
“They’re open to submissions from anyone who wants to try and really liked my first few, so I worked my way up from freelance to staff and headed to Los Angeles,” recalls Brown, who opened for the alt-rock band Portugal. The Man on its 13-city tour last fall. “Stand-up seemed like the next logical step, and this was a really good spot to check it out. That was almost five years ago, and it’s worked out really well.”
He launched “Unpopular Opinion” under the Cracked.com umbrella, but as it grew to attract more than a million listeners annually, he decided to spread his wings by creating Unpops last year. The eclectic topics on his shows are rooted in Brown’s passionate attention to the news, which he developed “watching ‘20/20’ and ’60 Minutes’ with my mom since I was 7 or 8 years old, even though those are shows grandparents should be watching.”
“I do material based on current events, but how I react to them is substantial, and isn’t just the same thing everyone else is saying,” he says. “I have a really conspiratorial way of thinking, where if I read, see or hear something that really interests me, my next step is to figure out what else that might be tied to and how one event might relate to another.”
Adam Tod Brown hosts Unpops Comedy in the Courtyard at 8 p.m. Wednesday at the Alex Theatre, 216 N. Brand Blvd., Glendale. Gates open at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free, but reservations are suggested and donations are encouraged. Visit alextheatre-comedy.eventbrite.com.