“Our show has an incredibly intense research process, so I’m very used to sucking up vast quantities of information quickly and converting them into a form that’s easily digestible for me so I can bring it to folks through comedy,” Adam Conover explains about his work on the truTV series “Adam Ruins Everything” and how that work has made it “a little easier for me to keep up” with the current news cycle. That’s especially true since a lot of the subjects the show has covered have a “special relevance” in the middle of a pandemic. Watch our exclusive video interview with Conover above.
Conover created and stars in the series, in which he plays a version of himself who debunks myths and corrects misconceptions people might have about a variety of topics. The show doesn’t generally tackle current events, focusing more on subjects that have lots of historical context and will be relevant in the long term, but the show has touched on issues that have been affected or illuminated by the COVID-19 crisis. “For instance, in 2018 we did an episode about how the CDC’s budget had been cut recently and about how that has made us less prepared for the pandemic we all know is coming,” he remembers. He and his show didn’t foretell the coronavirus, per se. They were just listening and giving a platform to the experts who were sounding that alarm.
The series isn’t overtly political either, despite how much basic factual information has been politicized in our current climate, but that hasn’t stopped them from being “intensely ambitious” about the subjects they cover, from policing to poverty to the justice system. “We really pride ourselves on our ability to spend a lot of time with a topic and figure out how to do it in a way that almost everybody in the country can appreciate,” he says, “but we also make sure we’re not pulling our punches at all.”
And they’re always willing to admit when they’re wrong, as they did in their season three finale, “Adam Ruins Himself,” last fall: “One of the things I’m proudest of that we do on the show is that we do these self-reflective episodes where we turn our method onto ourselves and we say, are we really holding ourselves to our own standards?” He credits truTV for being “supportive” of the show even including a segment that addressed times when advertising on the network influenced the content of their show. None of us are free of conflicts or cognitive bias, so it’s important to recognize them, and “that self-reflection is something that’s really core to our show … and something that I’m really intensely proud of.”
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