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In ‘Adam Ruins Everything’ Season 2, Adam Learns Some New Things

”We’re humans trying to understand the world as best as we can,“ Adam Conover tells TheWrap

Adam Conover’s character in “Adam Ruins Everything” is all about ruining everything, obviously.

He tells the truth about things such as fad diets and global warming based on evidence that works against what people might commonly think. In the original College Humor shorts, Conover was the almost omniscient and pestering purveyor of knowledge — running into the middle of personal dinners or intimate events to drop facts.

In the truTV show, however, he takes a step back.

In the first episode of Season 2, Adam (the character) gets in the middle of a conversation between women about the merits of breastfeeding versus baby formula. According to the show formula, he would then spend a few minutes breaking down the myths behind breastfeeding, linking to studies and showcasing experts that point to different conclusions.

However, this time, Adam steps aside. “No way am I getting in the middle of this,” he says, allowing what he calls a “primary source” to do the explaining. In this case, that means a woman.

Conover (the comedian not the character) said in a phone interview with TheWrap that this was intentional. Where’s the fun of watching a man talk about pregnancy or breastfeeding?

“The point is to show that our show isn’t about perfect final knowledge. It’s about the process. We’re humans trying to understand the world as best as we can,” he said.

“The show is about an ongoing process of learning and discovering and curiosity. It only makes sense that Adam learn things from other people, has moments where he’s incorrect or he has more to learn, because that’s true to me in my own life,” he added.

Watch the breast feeding clip below.

Conover is a voracious reader and consumer of podcasts (he name drops “This American Life” on NPR and ProPublica as some of his favorites), which is where he gets a lot of the show material. It was also where he got the basis for his stand-up, which accidentally took on an informative slant.

“When I finally doing that sort of material on stage as a stand-up in NY, it really caused people to react differently. Instead of laughing they would lean forward,” he explained.

But going from stand-up to cable is a drastic change. No longer is Conover the only one coming up with topics. Now, his writing team, which employs journalists and researchers as well as comedy writers, also contribute ideas. Along with the pregnancy episode theme, there’s been a number of other issues about women’s health that have been surprising for Conover.

“I was totally shocked. I’ve had this idea in my head that it works like this my entire life and I’ve been totally wrong about a part of human biology,” he said. “And it’s not just because I’m a man, but because of how many misconceptions there are about those sorts of topics.”

In the Season 1 finale, Conover addresses the realities of climate change. In the episode, Adam confronts a man who is doing small things to help save the planet — buying a Tesla, using recyclable materials and not littering — and puts down each one. The conclusion was that while it’s helpful to not litter or to drive electric, it’s not going to impact much of anything.

Conover said he didn’t go into that episode knowing what the thesis was going to be. Rather, it was a personal attempt to wrestle with his own feelings about climate change, which is why at one point in the episode, he lets Dale Jamieson (below), a professor of environmental studies at NYU, take the lead.

While watching it becomes clear that although at first Conover is doing his usual shtick, the episode eventually evolves into a thoughtful treatise on the realities of global warming, with Conover sharing the spotlight with Jamieson.

“When I talked to Dale he’s the one that really helped me understand, to help me think about that issue and relieved me of my angst about it,” Conover explained. “That one’s closer to my heart than any other. when you watch it, you watch the process of me figuring it out for myself.”

“Adam Ruins Everything” has always been about educating and the title would suggest that Conover does the explaining, but that just isn’t the case. He’s a flawed human being who has gaps in his knowledge, just like his audience. The show takes this a step further in Season 2, which includes an episode later in the season where Conover and his team pick apart earlier episodes.

“We try to be transparent about our process and what our errors are, we find that’s the best way to build trust,” he said.

“Adam Ruins Everything” airs Tuesdays at 10 p.m. on TruTV.

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