After a few puffs of pot making someone laugh could hardly be easier. But urging a sober audience to laughter about marijuana and without offering them any takes a different touch entirely – one that Doug Benson has mastered and showcased in works like off-Broadway play The Marijuana-Logues and his film Super High Me.
You might consider Benson the Weird Al Yankovic of Mary Jane, much of his work is created by “taking an existing pop culture entity and just adding weed to it.”
Why didn’t we think of that?
But Benson isn’t just known for his affinity for weed. The 44-year-old comic also made a name for himself on Comedy Central and VH1’s Best Week Ever and caught a break when he earned a chance to perform on season 5 of Last Comic Standing.
“You just get a whole new level of exposure that I had never had before. People were rooting for me on that show; people wanted me to do well.”
Of course, given his background, the dubious honor of being named Stoner of the Year in 2006 by High Times magazine and the fact that one of the most well-known images of Benson has his mouth stuffed wide with smoking joints, it all came back to the green.
And sometimes, Benson said, his notoriety doesn’t pay off.
“One time there was an embarrassing time to get recognized because I was dumping some change into a Coinstar machine at the grocery store, and some lady pointed at me and said ‘Best Week Ever!.’ I said, ‘No, not really. It’s not going that great.’"
“Airport security is tricky now.” Benson said. “Sometimes I’ll get someone who recognizes me and will say ‘Hey! I know you, but I won’t bring up why because you’re going through airport security.’”
Another fan wasn’t so cautious. “[I was] going through airport security and a woman pointed at me and yelled ‘Marijuana-Logues.’ And I was just like, ‘Not now, lady. Not the best time to scream marijuana and point at me!’”
In Vegas, Benson says one of his favorite places to eat after smoking up is the 24/7 Café at the Palms. “I’ll eat pretty much anything, but I like the Asian nachos.”
In addition to the obligatory snacks, Benson thinks music also goes well with his favorite smokable. “That’s why there’s jam bands, because when you’re high, you can just listen to people just noodle around for a while.”
A slightly more serious side of Benson fielded the question of what type of music pairs best with pot.
“I’ve been listening a lot to the soundtrack to that movie, Once. The movie was a really small little movie about a man and a woman who play music together, and in real life they fell in love, the people who played the couple. It’s not the most hilarious answer to your question, but it’s what I’m into now.”
Well that and good bud, of course.