Drew Carey in a press photo
The Ohio native served as a U.S. Marine and became a comedian, writer, photographer, game show host, MLS team co-owner, and Buddhist.
Drew Carey was an everday regular at the Bob’s Big Boy Burbank counter. He even rented the entire restaurant out for a wrap party of The Drew Carey Show.
Drew Carey with the Big Boy
Born in Ohio, he played the trumpet and coronet in high school then got expelled twice from Kent State University for poor academic performance. The Gong Show was a higher priority than going to class.
Drew Carey as a Marine
Drew Carey found structure in the Marine Corp (1980-87), adopting the crew cut style for his start in comedy. His first break was on Star Search (1988). Then he nails his first appearance on The Tonight Show (1991), earning him an invitation to the couch from Johnny Carson, a rare seal of approval that was mythic among comedians.
Jenny McCarthy on The Drew Carey Show
He would strike it rich with ABC’s The Drew Carey Show (1995-2004). Playing a hapless middle class bachelor, he made a total of 233 episodes earning $750,000/episode at the end. In his autobiography, Dirty Jokes and Beer: Stories of the Unrefined (1997), he wrote he was upset about censorship, not being able to employ the off-color humor common in his standup.
Under the pseudonym of Brooks Parkenridge, he works as a professional photographer for the Men’s U.S. National Soccer team. An avid soccer fan, he is also a minority owner in the Seattle Sounders FC — becoming a two-time MLS Cup Champion (2016 and 2019).
Drew Carey as Brooks Parkenridge
Drew is a Buddhist and outspoken Libertarian, which he defined as “a conservative who still gets high.” In an interview with the magazine Reason at Bob’s Big Boy Burbank, Drew said, “I don't want to lose touch with things like eating in Bob's Big Boy. I feel comfortable here.” Chris Hansen, author of the The Big Boy Story, wrote, “Success hasn’t spoiled him. [He] enjoys the things money can buy, but he’s as comfortable at Bob’s Big Boy as Spago.” Drew said, “I don’t want to spend $50 on a burger when they don’t make them as good as Bob’s.”
Carey realizes the irony of being Buddhist and host of The Price is Right. One of the key things about Buddhism is not to have any attachment to things or want of things. He initially rebuked the offer, but on Late Show with David Letterman he announced he’d be taking over for Bob Barker. “It's only about what you're doing and supposed to do, and I feel like I'm supposed to be doing this.” Drew has retained Barker’s famous closing line: “Help control the animal population, have your pet spayed or neutered.”
Drew hosting the Price is Right
Drew is known to be a big tipper. When being courted for the game show job, he was asked by a producer his favorite thing to do. “I like to leave tips. I think that makes me happiest. I can put a smile on someone’s face.”
One holiday season, Drew Carey asked Bob’s Big Boy Burbank manager Mike Lopez, “How many employees he had?” Mike replied, “100… or close to 100.” Drew counted out 100 Benjamins and told him, “Tip everyone for me, will you please?”
Drew would drive his 6-speed manual Porsche 911 to Bob’s Big Boy Burbank, but now you’re likely to see him in a custom painted Mini Cooper.
He's downsized his diet, too. Having lost his father at the age of eight to a heart attack, he wanted to make sure he was around for his adopted son and has lost 80 lbs. “No carbs.” Drew says.
Drew Carey’s star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is at 6676 Hollywood Blvd.
Drew's 1998 Porsche 911 Convertible