William Breathes on what you didn't see in The Daily Show's Denver weed story
For the last few weeks I've been curious as to how The Daily Show would use the three-plus hours of footage they got with me last month.
Another look at William Breathes (that's actually editor Patty Calhoun's desk).
I was paraded around the Westword office in a gas mask bong, got to burn a bowl in the conference room, took over my editor's desk for ten minutes and spent a long time nose-to-nose being grilled by Jason Jones. But through the Magic of Television, that interview was condensed to about thirty seconds of voice-overs, smoke screens and re-takes.
We talked about a lot of things: strain names, the atmosphere of different dispensaries, how I got the job, etc. We also spent some time going over different strains of herb. At one point, Jones was holding up different colas I had brought in to his nose, smelling them and looking like he was giving it some deep thought before exclaiming: "Yeah, it smells like goat shit." After the take, however, he got out of character for a second and told me that he thought the ganja smelled amazing.
Or when he -- the fake journalist -- asked me how I view my job:
JJ: "So, what do you consider yourself?"
WB: "You mean, a critic? A journalist?"
JJ: "Yeah, a journalist -- um, no, you're not."
WB: "Sure, I am"
JJ: "No, you're not"
WB: (Nods head.)
JJ: (Shakes head.)
WB: (Nods head.)
And then there was Jones's disbelief that I actually get paid to do what I do:
JJ: "So, you go out and (air quotes) 'review' these places... How much do you pay them to do this?"
WB: "Oh, um, they actually pay me."
JJ: (Checks through his notes, laughing in disbelief.) "Yeah, right... Wait, seriously?"
WB: "Yeah. They pay me to do this."
JJ: "Let me get this straight: They pay you real money? They don't just pay you in Oreos and Phish tickets?"
But I did get to puff in my newspaper's office, something I've only read of my journalistic heroes doing, and I did get to teach a pseudo-famous person how to hit a cheap acrylic bong. I got treated to a personal comedy show (it's ridiculously hard not to laugh when they film and ask you these crazy questions). I also liked the pan shot they did of me at Patricia Calhoun's desk, with the pipe and the cow skull covering my head - it was hysterical, and a bit satanic and evil. Beware, dispensaries!
Sure, I was slightly disappointed that they didn't use more of our interview - but at least they didn't make an ass of me, as my girlfriend said. They easily could have. At one point, Jones conned me into giving him a high-five for something related to Nazi Germany and then said: "Wow. You must be high if you just gave me props for that." I'm still a bit confused about how he did that. And he did get a laugh a couple times when I talked to him about my medical issues and why I got the card ("You got the card because you have bum-bum problems?"). But they didn't (thank God), and they did get my position on the dispensaries correct. Sometimes I just want a joint and a bag of herb, and sometimes I want a consultation.
I haven't checked up on how the other folks in the piece took it. It was cool to see the guys at Delta 9 representing as a small-sized (but not small-minded) shop. And they did a good job busting Lotus's chops with shots of the water fountain, massage table and golden pipe. I do feel that Scott Durrah and the folks at AOC took in on the chin simply because The Daily Show storyline needed a "bad guy," and I know they aren't that way at all. I also think his comment about changing the name of Green Crack is also being taken the wrong way - especially considering Green Crack was originally called Cush until someone else decided to change the name to something more fitting.
But watching Jones lick Wanda James and the look on Durrah's face afterward was pricelessly funny. They also did a great job of editing to contrast Jason Holck and Durrah getting caught up in a war of words over "getting high" vs. "medicating;" the way they played off of Scott Durrah's changing of Green Crack to "Green Fluffy Bunnies" with the bag of Trainwreck being relabeled as "Choo-Choo Party"; Jason Jones getting too high to continue the interview with me (he denies it, but I think he was). Good stuff.
I'm starting to read blogs and posts from folks in the Colorado MMJ community this morning about how they were disappointed in the show, and that they felt it was getting a laugh at the expense of medical ganja users. Guess what? You're right. It was poking fun at us. And for good reason: Sometimes we can be a funny group of people. Everyone involved knew it wasn't likely to be a puff piece on the MMJ scene but rather a complete lampoon of us.
Get it? Eh? Puff piece? See what all this time in comedy has done!
After all, if you can't laugh at yourself...try smoking some really giggly sativa.