job audit

Workaholics’ Adam DeVine Shares His Real-Life Work History

Photo: Comedy Central

Comedy Central’s Workaholics follows a group of slacker best friends who work as telemarketers — while hardly working at all. (They mostly smoke pot.) Ahead of tonight’s episode, which airs at 10 p.m. EST, Vulture asked co-creator and co-star Adam DeVine (who also plays Pitch Perfect’s lead Treblemaker) to tell us about the real-life jobs that have influenced his writing, subconsciously or not. Here’s what you’ll find on his very informal résumé, starting with the obvious: telemarketer.

“I did telemarketing for years, starting at the age of 16, just selling steak knives to old people. Old people go through a weird amount of steak knives. I also sold straight meat over the telephone. I had to say things like, ‘We have a great deal on a four-piece of filet mignon with bacon,’ and, ‘The marbling on this steak’ … If I called New York, I would use my New York voice, if I called the South, I would use my South voice. So not only did I get telemarketing experience, I also got to work on my impersonations.”

Bag Boy
“When I was 15, I worked as a bag boy in a grocery store. I also needed to walk old ladies to their car and put their bags in the car, and they would give me two dollars. I felt like the richest man in the world. Anyway, the movie About Schmidt filmed at this store when I was there. They wanted to use us workers as extras, but I got kicked out because I kept on staring at Jack Nicholson. It was my first brush with the camera, and it never aired. Regardless, I always had a performance streak.”

Camera Salesman
“I didn’t know anything about cameras, but I really needed a job, so I lied. I made a list of fake cameras to tell customers about: ‘The Nikon 350sxl’ — don’t know if that’s a real camera. So [my bosses] immediately found out I knew nothing about cameras, because I would just lie to the customers. And they put me in the tripod section, but I got fired from the job for drinking too much water. I would go drink water so I wouldn’t have to sell tripods. That was the most slacker gig I had.”

Deli-Counter Bitch
“I worked at this service deli in a supermarket in Newport Beach. It was the worst job. I was 19, the age of partying, and I was working 60 hours a week at this deli not making anything. But I was trying to save money to move to L.A. I worked with a guy who was perhaps the scariest man alive, a 50-year-old Rastafarian-type guy. He had a voodoo doll he would poke and say it was me. It was weird.”

Rotisserie-Chicken-Machine Cleaner
“I climbed inside our deli’s rotisserie machine and scrubbed it with woolen steel and would just be scraping it all night long. I came home smelling like rotisserie chicken. I smelled delicious, but too much of a good thing can be pretty awful.”

Announcement Guy at Supermarket
“They finally let me do the announcements, and I would make them really dramatic: Mmmm. What is that succulent smell seeping from the deli? That’s the minestrone. I would say things like that in weird voices, which would really creep people out. I would actually work on my announcements. Comedy doesn’t come out of nowhere for a person, so I brought comedy to all of my jobs.”

Lackey at the Hollywood Improv Comedy Club
“I went there every day for over a month just begging for a job, and I started to creep them out, too, but they finally got me a job — and I worked there for almost two years. I answered phones and worked the doors, and then finally I started doing open mikes and I opened for people. All of this launched me into bigger and better comedy gigs.”

“I worked as a paperboy as a kid. I had a huge route, and one day I figured out that if I canceled subscriptions and had people pay me cash, I could get the papers from the newspaper stand — the kind you put a quarter into — and take as many as I wanted and make a profit. My mom figured it out once she saw me flossing on my new Huffy with the seat lowered and Ring Pops on my fingers. She put a stop to it.”

Neighborhood Hustler
“Even as a kid I was a businessman. I figured out that if you plucked all the berries off my neighbor’s tree and smashed them up, they made a Nickelodeon Gak–type consistency. I sold them to all the neighborhood kids and made stacks of quarters. Of course, the berries were poisonous, and I got in all types of trouble.”

Little League Umpire
“When I was a teenager, I was an umpire for a competitive league for 8- to 9-year-olds. I was really bad at it because I didn’t know all the rules, and all these kids were better athletes than me. I made a bad call and this dad snapped on me. Then he dumped his trash from his cooler, and I had to kick him out of the stands. It was a big deal, and his son called me a dick.”

Workaholics’ Adam DeVine Shares His Work History