Dan Snierson
July 16, 1999 AT 04:00 AM EDT

”Folks, we have some very lovely ladies that are going to be in the audience and I have to ask you right now…please do not touch them.”

Whoo! Whoo! Whoo! #All the goateed, baseball-capped audience dudes on this Hollywood set rattle their chairs and slurp their beers. It’s okay to be afraid — after all, you’re standing at ground zero of macho mayhem: The Man Show, a naughty new series with testosterone levels so high it makes WWF Monday Night Raw look like The View.

Hosts Adam Carolla, 35, and Jimmy Kimmel, 31 — a Sigma Chi version of Abbott and Costello — fire up a ”man-ologue” about the evils of frilly bathrooms. ”My morning whiz comes out like wiper fluid…two different directions,” shares Kimmel. ”I’m all over the place and believe me, that cute little carpet she’s warming her feet on is soppin’ up most of it.” A little later, Carolla sits on a royal throne. Luscious she-servants wave fronds while our crowned hero — slobbering over a shank of meat delivered by a dwarf jester — makes proclamations like ”When I am king, I will revise the sexual ‘bases’ system, so that getting to first base will include oral sex…”

You can almost hear 1,000 Naomi Wolfs howling in the night air.

”This is as good as it gets,” confides Kimmel as he settles in backstage with Carolla and — what else? — a beer. ”You couldn’t make a show more perfect for us. Everything on this show is what Adam and I talk about at lunch every day.” Pipes in Carolla, ”We’ve got the fart machine going in the office and people throwing balls around and wrestling.”

Clearly, theirs is a match made in hedonistic heaven. Carolla (a carpenter-turned- host of the sex-advice show Loveline) befriended Kimmel (a radio jock-turned-Win Ben Stein’s Money sidekick) at L.A.’s KROQ in 1994, and the two buds soon developed an idea for a brazen, I-am-man-hear-me-snore show. Although ABC ordered a pilot in ’97, the Disney-owned network ultimately decided that a series boasting such bits as chicks bouncing on trampolines and ”Household Hints From Adult Film Stars” was too risque, so Kimmel and Carolla took their bachelor party to Comedy Central.

You might want to tap another keg, though, because the free-for-all is just getting started in cable land. In addition to the Zappa brothers’ inane variety show, Happy Hour, on USA, FX launched its men’s club, The X Show, last month. ”Ours is more of a men’s magazine on television, with information that guys can actually use,” explains X Show exec producer Mark Cronin, eager to distance himself from The Man Show. ”It’s like comparing the Today show to Men Behaving Badly.” Carolla is less diplomatic: ”I feel like we’re Jordan and Pippen, and if a couple of short, fat white guys want to play basketball, we’ll kick their ass.”

Okay, so maybe these guys would need a satellite tracking device to find the high road. But isn’t that their charm? ”I’d love to go shoot squirrels with Karl Malone,” says Kimmel, pondering future Man segments. ”And we’d love to have John Madden on the show. He’s got some life for himself: a big fat guy who drives around the country eating and watching football.”

”It’s not like, ‘Hey, we love John Madden!”’ adds Carolla, ”The attraction is, ‘Hey, look at this guy! What a f—in’ gig!”’

”Yeah,” chuckles Kimmel, holding fast to his cup of beer, ”people are probably saying the same thing about us.”

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