What station did they have you on this morning?
98 Rock. The BS Show with Buckethead, and Ethan, and Lauren. We played the shame game, and all of us had to come up with three things we were ashamed of doing. I could only come up with two, that I once dated a racist girl
and that I sat through all of the Sex and the City movie.
Did you like it?
No, not really. I mean, it wasnt terrible it was like the series, which I can tolerate if a girl wants to watch it. But Ive never just watched Sex and the City like, me, home alone, watching it.
So you went with your girlfriend, or a date?
I went with a date to a matinee the day it opened and there was only one other dude in the theater. It was all groups of girls, all dressed up. It was cute.
We did it. We didnt dress up, though.
Its a big thing, and its funny too. The movies been out, for what, like two weeks now? And theres still these women who havent seen it who also do not want to know what happens in it and youve seen it was there ever any talk about plot points being spoiled? They made such a big deal about it I mean Oprah didnt show the last reel to the audience when she had Sarah Jessica Parker on. Like, really? Like something happens at the end of that movie thats surprising?
A typical half-hour episode had more plot twists than that whole two-and-a-half-hour movie. Its strange how little happens in the movie. I think I fell asleep right after the Mexico sequence. Only for a few minutes though I saw most of it.
So that was the only other shameful thing I could think of. I guess Im pretty lucky that I dont have anything to feel that bad about. Or at least anything that I would want to share.
So are you basically touring in support of Super High Me?
Im touring in support of my life. My career.
And the DVD just happens to be a bonus.
Its just a timing thing. The DVD comes out on Tuesday [June 17] and everywhere I go lately, Ive been talking about it.
Are you happy with it?
Yeah, Im real happy with it. You know, its a documentary that I was only one of four partners who got together and made it a couple producers, the director, and me. So, I didnt have absolute final say about everything. They trusted me as far as the stand-up sequences like if I didnt want a joke in, or wanted a certain show in, theyd do what I asked in that sense. But everything regarding the experiment of me being high for 30 days and also things that were going on in California with medical marijuana at the time we were shooting all that stuff was an ongoing debate about what was going in and what wasnt going in.
Did you guys plan on including the more serious California medical marijuana law aspect of the documentary, or did that just naturally occur?
One of the producers, Alex Campbell, to get us access to shoot in some [medical marijuana] dispensaries, he became very immersed in that culture in California in San Francisco, Oakland and Los Angeles. All three of those places have tons of dispensaries.
So he got very immersed in that whole scene and got to know those people and became friendly with them to get us coverage. And in Southern California, whenever a dispensary is being raided, the so-called advocates and other people who own other dispensaries in the area spread the word very quickly so they can all get down there and protest whats going on. Protest these raids.
Thats what happened twice when we were in production. Two different dispensaries had that happen and we were able to get cameras there. I didnt go because, you know, thats the last thing I need, to show up where theres all these feds, and weve got cameras and Im high. [He laughs.] Although, some of the protesters were probably high. But they were more of a private citizen; they werent drawing so much attention to themselves, bringing their own camera crew.
It seemed like the Prince of Pot [Canadian cannabis activist Mark Emery] talked a lot.
[He groans.] I was there for hours. You could see it in the movie, where were sitting keeps moving around and he was just smoking [pot] the whole time
Of course, we went to Vancouver over the 30 days I wasnt smoking pot. Part of it was not only did that guy go on and on, but he was smoking and blowing it in my direction the whole time. And then he tried to claim I wasnt following the rules of my own movie because in his mind its almost as good to be around pot smoke as it is to smoke it! Try telling something like that to an alcoholic, that its good enough just to be near booze.
But you know, its not that hard not to smoke, for me anyway. I didnt go through any physical withdrawals. I did enjoy hanging out with people who were smoking because I still experienced the ritual and camaraderie you get with it. Those are definitely elements of the appeal. Im not somebody sitting at home alone just smoking by myself all the time.
So is there anything you learned that you found surprising, as far as pot culture, laws
The whole medical marijuana scene in California, that was a huge eye opener because Ive just been a guy who has a guy who comes to my house, you get whatever he has at the time and if you have a good guy, hes always got something, but youre not discussing what kind of weed hes giving you, you know, you just buy an eighth.
So, Id been doing that
and you can talk it up all you want but until somebody really does it, they dont completely grasp how great it is to just be able to casually walk into a store, pick from a bunch of different flavors, actually discuss with the girl behind the counter exactly what kind of high you want to have, and then you get what you want. They recommend that you keep it in your trunk and smoke it when you get home.
But its still just amazing that its happening
The doctors that give out the licenses, theyre just taking your money and giving you the license. Not because its a scam and theyre making money they are making money but theyre also doctors that, for one reason or another, think that people should have access to marijuana for medicine. For some, maybe its all for profit. But the doctors I met were very concerned about people and pro-pot. They know it has the potential to make peoples lives better.
Would you say, doing that movie made you a pot snob?
Maybe more of one. Im still not completely snobby. When Im on the road, a lot of times, someone will be like, Hey man, I really want to smoke you out, but the weed around here is shit right now. But smoking with you would be an honor. If I have the time and were not gonna get in trouble with the law, and you know someplace safe to go, Ill totally do it. Smoking bad weed in its own way is not as good as smoking good weed, but, its kind of like what they say about pizza.
Even bad pizza is good pizza?
And sex. Between bad sex, bad pizza, and bad weed, Ill take bad weed every day. Cause it doesnt have any adverse affects, you just dont get as high.
But have become a little more snobby. You know, I never knew the difference between a sativa and an indica. I never knew what strains I liked.
When you were doing the film, did you ever hit a wall, a smoked myself sober moment?
I tried not to ever feel sober. People asked me, So what, did you, like, smoke three times a day? [He laughs.] That wouldve been normal.
I couldnt just breakfast-lunch-dinner it like Morgan Spurlock. I had to wake and bake (no rhyme for doing it before bedtime), but I imagine that while I was sleeping, I was probably, if not completely sober, close to it.
The estimate is that I smoked $2,000 worth of pot over 30 days.
And going into it, I thought itd be harder to quit for 30 days, and harder to smoke for 30 days. And in both cases, I was surprised. I was surprised at how easy it was to quit. And I thought smoking straight for 30 days, at the end, Id be sick of it, and if not quit, at least lay off it for a while. Nope I was fine. I continued to smoke right after we were done.
So lets talk about Last Comic Standing because Im really curious about how much you had to change your content for network television.
Its funny there was shockingly little content change. My act has adult content pot, alcohol, sex but its easy to take out all the swear words. Thats the amazing thing to me about being on VH1, Comedy Central, late night shows they will happily beep you. As long as youre straight up with them and tell them, they just bleep it.
But theres a few shows, like LCS, where they prefer you not to but people still do. So if I felt strongly about a bit that would be ruined if I changed something to a clean word, which happens sometimes, then Id just do it and they wouldnt use it on the air.
I had one dirty joke almost every time I did a set that theyd just never use on air, so I could tell it every time because they kept editing it out.
And as long as youre not absolutely pro-pot, even LCS is pretty cool about pot jokes. My problem was that for the first several shows, until its narrowed down to five people, you do all these silly challenges, and head-to-head competitions, and America doesnt vote, the vote is based on the crowd thats sitting in front of you at the competition. Its not until you get to the top five that America starts eliminating people each week. So my strategy was to lay off the pot stuff until I get to the top five, then Id be so deep in the competition that the producers couldnt really throw me off. And then I could get like-minded people to vote for me.
So I didnt really get to my pot stuff on LCS. [Benson made it to sixth place, just shy of fifth.] Which is fine because I dont talk that much about marijuana on Best Week Ever I dont want people to come out because they want to see the pot comic. I want them to come out and see the comic they like who happens to talk about pot. Or, is certainly very influenced by it. Im on it when I write most of my best material.
Its so pervasive in our culture so many people are doing it, its amazing.
Yeah, its very much out there. And especially in comedy clubs, people feel pretty safe because theyre already drinking and its a crowd of people all just having fun. Like when I say, Who here smokes pot? In some cities, the whole place erupts, and in other cities, just a handful of people will clap. But then Ill tell a few more jokes and see more people laughing, and I think, You smoke pot, you just didnt admit to it because, your knee jerk reaction is not to admit to it because what if theres a cop right there? What if there is a cop right there? You could say you did anything, its not illegal, short of saying you want to assassinate the president.
Are there any people who come to your shows that were LCS fans who tell you that your show wasnt what they expected?
No, actually most people come up to me and tell me It was so much more fun watching you here than it was on TV. You know, with comics and with music, for the most part, its usually better live any kind of performance is better when youre actually there. But people somehow dont know that.
If someone comes out to a club and watches me, even if theyre not into pot, theyre a good chance theyre gonna enjoy it.
Youve got the whole laughter is contagious thing going, youre feeling good, youre having a couple of drinks with your friends
And its a live person who has the nerve to say, Im gonna talk for a while and youre gonna like it. When somebody does it on TV, its just not that interesting
I mean, for a while, I thought Comedy Central and other networks that showed a lot of comedy were hurting sand-up comedy, live in the clubs, because you watch it on TV and you go, Why would I want to go pay to see that when I can just watch it on TV and when I watch it on TV, its kind of boring. People dont get inspired to go see those comics that they like on TV.
In honor of Super High Me, I felt it was necessary to prepare a set of appropriate questions.
1. Regular papers or the new clear kind.
The Cellulose? I like those. More as a novelty, though. Its not something Id smoke regularly. Cause whenever you smoke with somebody, they voice concerns that its unhealthy, more chemicals than you bargained for? But they look so neat and they burn really nice.
2. Bong or pipe?
I love bongs. I just like the massiveness of the hits. But then again, I havent met a smoking instrument that I didnt like.
3. Pot food like it, dislike it?
The high can be very intense but I enjoy it a great deal. My biggest problem is that its hard to find pot food that doesnt taste like pot. But I met someone who makes it really good. So, I love it. I love it when its done right. And even when its done badly, even when it tastes bad, you just muscle through.
5. Do you think Canada makes it better?
No, the stuff were getting in California is pretty amazing.
6. Favorite pot movie?
Dazed and Confused, just because I just think its a good movie in which people happen to be smoking pot. And one of my favorite stoner roles it was a tiny part in the movie but I thought that Brad Pitt really nailed it in True Romance. And it turns out he was so good at it because hes a pothead. But you know, at the time, I thought, he had some acting and comedy chops in terms of playing a stoner. And of course, Sean Penn is great in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.
7. Celeb youd like to get high with?
Wow, thats a really good one. I guess Harrison Ford would be good because I know he smokes a lot of pot. He and Brad Pitt are pals. So thatd be kind of cool. You know, getting high with Harrison Ford, telling him all the things I didnt like about the new Indiana Jones movie. Im sure hed love it!
8. Celeb youd never want to get high with?
None, because I think getting high with somebody I hated would be a great opportunity to come to terms with it. Maybe Id like them more just because theyre getting high. If someone is standing around smoking a joint, chances are theyre probably gonna be pretty open and honest and friendly, so its hard for them to remain a jerk under those circumstances. But Id spend the whole time going, I cant believe Bill OReillys smoking a joint with me!
9. Whats your favorite high activity?
I love amusement parks, and concerts, and everything when Im high. And of course, I took the SATs while I was high in the movie and that made that more fun. But my favorite thing to do is get super baked and go out and see a movie.
10. Favorite munchies?
Im so into everything. I love junk food anyway, so when Im high Ill eat any ridiculous combination thats exciting for a while and that I get sick of real quick? Like Oreos and vanilla frosting. Now just thinking about it makes me a little sick.
11. Smoking music?I like music in general, but the more upbeat the better.
12. TV shows you only watch while high? Or rather, that are impossible to watch straight?
Being high makes everything better., but it doesnt make everything watchable. My tastes dont change because Im high my level of tolerance rises.
13. Pot Smoking Idol? Someone you aspire to?
If theres someone out there whos fairly well-known and enjoys what theyre doing, and people enjoy watching or listening to them do it, and theyre getting high all the time, and not having any problems with the police, thats who I look up to. Doing it, enjoying it and keeping it under the radar all at the same time, that impresses me the most.
As cool as I think Snoop Dog and Willie Nelson are, theyve gotten busted for pot a lot
and now that Im such a poster child for smoking pot, I just want to continue to be that but be left alone at the same time. Which is entirely possible.