Adam Devine‘s near-fatal encounter with a cement truck in his childhood was the turning point for his love of comedy and performing.
The 35-year-old Pitch Perfect actor opened up about the incident while on Dax Shepard’s Armchair Expert podcast on Monday.
Devine was 11 years old when he said he almost had both of his legs amputated.
“[My friend and I are] going to the convenience store. My buddy was across the street and yelled, ‘Come on!’ And I took that as ‘the coast is clear, come on,'” Devine said.
He continued, “I grew up in the suburbs so new houses were being built every day. Three cement trucks were going down the hill and two were coming down at the exact same time.”
“And so after the third one passed going up the hill on my side of the street I walk out with my bicycle and was hit by the cement truck coming down the other side. Taken under the wheel, spit out. Broke everything from my waist down besides my right femur and then crushed everything from the knees down and took it all my skin off.”
Devine was in a medically-induced coma for two weeks with a collapsed lung and doctors considering the amputation of both of his legs.
“It hurt a lot, even with all the drugs,” Devine said. “Every adult in my life is standing over me just crying. My dad is like a tough guy. Never saw him cry and then he’s like shaking and bawling. That’s when I knew it was real.”
Despite the possibility of losing his legs, the actor was able to recuperate fully, allowing him to avoid amputation but faced with a series of surgeries.
“What happens when you have a traumatic event like that is that my body went into shock. I can’t remember a few hours beforehand and then two weeks afterwards because I was in a medically induced coma,” Devine said.
The actor said he had 26 surgeries from the 6th grade to his first year of high school.
“I think that’s kind of why I got into comedy. After that I couldn’t do anything, anytime anyone would make fun of me, my dad was like, ‘You can’t get into fights so you gotta punch them back with your words, think of some funny things to say back to them.'”
Devine took his father’s advice and set about looking for ways to verbally defend himself.
“I would go home and write in notebooks possible mean things that people could say to me and retorts. So I had notebooks and notebooks full of slams on these kids and I would just annihilate them and no one can beat up the kid in the wheelchair who can’t defend himself,” he said, laughing.