Usually when you smoke marijuana and make a point of talking about it a lot in public, you'll eventually get arrested. Unless you're Doug Benson, in which case you convince a camera crew to follow you around for two months and make a movie called 'Super High Me'. Benson, who regularly appears on VH1's Best Week Ever and was voted Stoner of the Year in 2006 by High Times Magazine, talked to me about his starring role in the cockumentary (comedy/documentary) that details the process of obtaining medical marijuana and then smoking it backstage with Sarah Silverman and Dave Navarro.
In a recent survey, 68% of CollegeHumor users have at least tried pot. Is it true that you didn't start smoking until after college, after you had become a comedian?
Yes, it's true. I tried it once or twice in high school, but didn't think it affected me. Then I tried again on the road one night with some fellow comedians, and I did it right. So I've been trying it ever since!
You filmed your movie in California, where you have a medical marijuana license. What was the 'medicinal purpose' that allowed you to receive that, and was it legit?
It was sort of legit. But that's not the point. If smoking pot makes someone feel better in any way, while they are not endangering other people in any way, that person should be allowed to smoke pot. I told my doctor I had back problems. Which I do. You know what they say, more money, more back problems.
What is your opinion on the argument that marijuana is a gateway drug?
My argument is that I have never tried cocaine or heroin. Not that I'm totally against the idea. I would try those things if I could do them in a totally controlled environment. Like at a party, or in a dirty back alley.
You have a pretty diverse set of material, how do you decide when to do more stoner humor as opposed to cleaner material that's found more on Last Comic Standing?
"Last Comic" was totally cool about pot jokes. And they let me swear too, they just bleeped out the expletives. But my intention was to bust out some weed humor when I got into the Top 5. And then I got kicked out, finishing 6th. Good plan, Doug.
With more digital cameras and camera phones making their way into comedy clubs, how do you feel about snippets of your stand-up ending up online? Is the increased exposure a worthy trade-off for having your material appear entirely out of context on YouTube?
I don't like it because the picture and sound usually suck. And they might tape me on a night when I suck as well.
How pissed is Morgan Spurlock about 'Super High Me'?
He thinks it's funny. I cornered him in the green room at Jimmy Kimmel Live a few years ago and pitched that I could quit pot for thirty days for his "30 Days" show. He laughed and wrote down my number, and I never heard from him again. But I heard that he was impressed and amused that I actually managed to get that idea made into a movie. I think it would be hilarious to hound him for the rest of his career, making a rip-off of everything he does, but adding pot to it. So my next project will be "Where In The World Is Osama Bin Laden With My Weed?" Osama's got my weed, I gotta find him and get it back.
Are you ever concerned about your public drug use attracting the attention of authorities? Was it hard to get people to be in the movie for that reason?
No politicians or law enforcement types who are anti-marijuana would talk to us on camera. So it ended up being kind of a one-sided documentary. That's why I prefer to call it a comedy with a little drama. For your mama.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of performing in front of a stoned audience, as opposed to the typical crowd that has been drinking all night?
Drunks heckle. And then don't shut up when you insult them and make the entire crowd laugh. They think, "Hey, I'm a part of this, I'm really helping out." Drunks won't do what you ask them to, they are the worst part of live comedy because they get so out of control. Yet clubs make their money by selling booze, so it's my job to put up with them. My favorite clubs toss drunks out as soon as they act up. Most clubs let the comics deal with it. Stoners may not laugh at the exact moments where they are supposed to, but at least they don't yell out shit. Get some booze into a stoner and all bets are off.
Do you see 'Super High Me' as more of a comedy film spoofing 'Super Size Me' or as a political film, debating the legalization of marijuana?
It's political because of it's very existence. Comedy is a great way to make a point, because if people can laugh at something um, what was I talking about?
Excluding Doritos, what is your favorite food to eat when you're high?
Why did you have to go and exclude Doritos? It makes me really want them. I can't think of anything else because you took away my delicious Doritos. Nicely played, CollegeHumor.
Super High Me is out on DVD on June 17th, so remember to make sure to buy six copies for everyone you know.