Road Hard is an independent romantic comedy co-written, produced and starring Adam Carolla, released in 2015. Bruce Madsen, a stand-up comedian who achieved big success in the nineties, finds work in television, film and radio drying up, much to do with his refusal to "play ball" in Hollywood. Now, living in the guest house of his ex-wife and her boyfriend's place (that he bought), he's paying for a mortage, alimony, and has his daughter's college tuition on the horizon. Bruce is forced to return to the road after a decade away, dealing with small to middle-sized stand-up gigs across the country, as well as his fall from stardom. Meanwhile his former partner has gone on to host a successful late night talk show and two of his best friends in comedy have successful gigs lined up, all of which depress him.
The movie follows him to several stand-up gigs and many attempts to get back in show biz and off the road. Additionally, he starts a romance with a woman he met while on the road, all while dealing with his daughter's upcoming move to college.
The movie was crowd funded by Adam's fans (following the incredibly difficult process Adam had to deal with getting his previous movie The Hammer made and funded) through Fund Anything. The story is based on the many stories Adam has heard from his comedian friends, as well as his own experiences. There are several bit-parts and cameos played by these same comedians (some As Himself).
This movie contains examples of:
- As Himself: Howie Mandel.
- Based on a True Story: Much of the script comes directly from Adam's own experiences as well as those that he's heard from various comedians.
- Clown Car Base: The movie has a montage of various tiny or nonexistant "green rooms" smaller comedy clubs have for their talent, which are often just the management's offices or shared spaces for other acts in the building.
- Does This Remind You of Anything?: Bruce used to co-host "The Bro Show," a nationally syndicated radio show, has appeared on many celebrity reality shows, and his former comedy partner has become a huge success with a late night talk show.
- Expy: Several:
- Bruce is an obvious one of Adam himself.
- Jay Mohr's Jack is essentially Jimmy Kimmel.
- Larry Miller's "Baby Doll" is an obvious one of Adam's own manager, James "Babydoll" Dixon.
- David Alan Grier is essentially playing an expy of himself.
- Gag Penis: Bruce is sporting one while watching his would-be romantic partner for the night pukes in his hotel toilet.
- How the Mighty Have Fallen: The overarching theme of the movie.
- Humiliation Conga: The string of events that bring the main character to his current state.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: Along with Bruce's story being similar to Adam's own (minus the divorce and lack of money), Adam's podcast fans will recognize many of his stories and pet peeves played out.
- Adam has long observed that it's easy to spot someone that used to be a "somebody": They own a really nice car but it's over a decade old. Bruce drives a mid to late 90s model Lexus.
- Bruce sits next to a woman with an "emotional companion" dog on a flight.
- Bruce happens to be a skilled carpenter.
- At a corporate gig, Bruce is given notes on several attendees for him to use to "roast" them, and it bombs terribly.
- The conversation with the janitor in the hotel is almost word for word the same as one Adam had with an orderly at a hospital.
- Screwed by the Network: Bruce's situation is partly a result of this, partially due to his own rebelliousness.
- You Keep Using That Word: One scene features Bruce arguing with a stonewalling club owner who wants to short him on his guarantee money saying the club didn't make the guarantee back from tickets/drinks/etc.Club Owner: We didn't make the guarantee.Comedian: Yeah, but it's a guarantee, so...Club Owner: Yeah, but we didn't make it.Comedian: But that's what was guaranteed to me.Club Owner: Yeah, but we came up short.