Why was Vinny's selling a sex doll autographed by Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla?

There's a Man Show mystery brewing in the "adult" section at the Willy Street Saint Vincent De Paul store.

IMG_8885.JPG

You find strange things in second hand stores. Reasonably priced novelty coffee cups alongside "I Survived Hurricane Hugo" commemorative t-shirts. It's part of their charm. Less often, you stumble across certain cursed objects the likes of which are legitimately insane.

Surrounded by yard sale leftovers and dorm-room detritus, I came across one such certifiably problematic product last week at the Saint Vincent DePaul thrift store on Willy Street and. A piece of pop-culture plastic that has posed a number of unanswerable questions and stoked my imagination more than anything else in recent memory.

Tucked away behind lock and key alongside "adult" books including The Joy Of Sex and illustrated variations on Kama Sutra, I spotted a bright red box labeled "Love, Love Doll." That would be enough on its own, but this gets weirder than just a mundane secondhand sex toy. Taped to the front of the box was a handwritten card (in two different colors of ink) that reads "Autographed by Jimmy Kimmel and Adam Carolla - The Man Show ... Came direct from VP of Comedy Central ... Never inflated."

I pondered the lineage of decisions that led to this autographed collectible being purchased, autographed, held on to (coveted?) and eventually donated. I wondered how the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, an organization with a lofty mission statement—"men and women who strive to grow spiritually by offering person-to-person service to individuals in need”—came to price this blow-up doll and put it out on a shelf. It warranted more than a simple quick cell phone pic fired off to a friend or two who would appreciate how bananas this object is. I opted to do some digging.

Made by Ben Wa International, a company known most recently for playing a brief but memorable role in Fifty Shades Darker, the "Love, Love Doll" in question was manufactured in 1979 (a year when Carolla and Kimmel were likely just hitting puberty). How it got to them, and for what purpose, is totally unknown. Together the two hosted Comedy Central's The Man Show, a program which threaded the needle of masculine parody and sincere misogyny, so there's a feasible reality in which their orbits and this "plaything" could conceivably intersect, but it's not like they were spokesmen for bachelor party accouterments that came out two decades before their show aired. I, who was a teenage boy during The Man Show's heyday, will freely admit to having consumed more episodes than were probably healthy, but I have no memory of antique inflatable sex-toys playing any major role on the show, so this connection is mired in murk.

Was it the then-VP of Comedy Central who made the hosts sign the thing? If so... why? If not... who did? How did it find its way to Madison? Since The Man Show ended in 2003, this "amazingly lifelike companion" sat unopened and (thankfully) "never inflated" for close to two decades before the decision was made to pass it along—not to any specific friend who would appreciate the ribaldry of an old-fashioned gag gift, but instead to a Catholic charity dedicated to helping the poor. Having made the decision to donate the "doll," the unknown benefactor quickly wrote up a card (in blue) and later amended it (in black) to document its unique provenance and potential worth. An employee of St. Vincent de Paul considered that information and attached the price of $25.50 (slightly more than the cost of any single season of The Man Show on DVD, I might add).

Having stopped back in to that St. Vincent de Paul just few days after I initially spotted the “Love, Love Doll,” I noticed it was gone. I presume it found a good home.

I reached out to representatives for Adam Carolla, Jimmy Kimmel, and even Ben Wa International (leave no stone unturned!), but so far have not heard anything back from them. Kimmel was spending the weekend preparing for his gig hosting the Oscars, and Carolla was presumably busy exposing "the hysteria and lunacy taking place at universities" that right-thinking folks call Safe Spaces, but I will definitely update this with any info we receive from them, or from anyone in Madison who could help shine a light on the story behind this absurd bit of nonsense.

Please forward any tips as to the origins of this strange find to chris@tonemadison.com