Doug Benson on comedy, high concepts and Doug Loves Movies
Doug Benson's appearance in Denver this weekend is a welcome addition to a long line of marijuana-themed events that have given Colorado a globally recognized identity as a THC utopia. As the co-star of The Marijuana-Logues and the documentary Super High Me -- in which Benson takes on the Morgan Spurlock challenge, only replacing McDonald's with pot -- this celebrated comedian is sure to be a hit with the glassy-eyed gigglers who populate our local comedy scene. Beyond his identity as a hemp-hero, Benson is generally recognized as an Olympic-level comedian, recording hit live albums, getting in fights with the Canadian government, and landing a place in the coveted annals of podcasting with his Benson Interruption and Doug Loves Movies series, the latter of which will be taping a live episode at Comedy Works this Sunday, after a Benson standup performance on March 9.
In advance of his arrival in Denver, we caught up with with Benson via e-mail, and his responses were a bit...well, let's just say that if Shakespeare was right, and "brevity is the soul of wit," then Benson is a comic genius.
Westword: A majority of comedy podcasts have only other comedians for an audience, making each other laugh. Was the choice to do Doug Loves Movies live based on the need for a live audience when telling jokes?
Doug Benson: It's easier to do comedy with an audience, because their reactions tell you whether or not what your saying qualifies as comedy.
Do you have to have a laugh to know if a joke works?
It's not necessary, but feedback is good. Like on Twitter, I can tell if a joke is funny by how many retweets I get.
The other night I heard a local comedian say, "I'm a sports fan, which sucks in the comedy world, because the nerds are taking over." Being that you're known for a comedy/film podcast, do you feel that pop-culture nerds are dominating comedy to the exclusion of others?
Hell, no. A lot more people watch the Super Bowl than the Oscars.
As the star of Super High Me, I'm wondering if you think marijuana culture is going to change with states like Colorado and Washington legalizing. In the past, being a pot smoker said something about you culturally; in twenty years, will it be no different than being labeled a soda drinker?
I don't know, if NYC's Mayor Bloomberg has his way, sugary drinks will be outlawed and soda drinkers will be the criminals!
Are you familiar with any of Denver's local comics? Any buzz about the area that you've picked up while on the road?
I'm friends with several Denver comics, and one of my favorites is going to be a guest on my Doug Loves Movies podcast taping at Comedy Works. I can't tell you who it is, because all of the guests on my podcasts are a secret.
What did you think of George W. Bush's self-portraits?
I did not see them. But I imagine they are in crayon.
With standup comedy becoming more culturally bound to rock music, when are comedian head-shots going to stop looking like senior portraits and develop a bit of edge? I mean, isn't it weird how comedians are promoted based on how good-looking they are, and then they're set is all about how they never get laid?
Everyone wants to look good in photographs, even us trolls who tell jokes.
Who are the top five funniest people alive today, in your estimation?
I'm gonna pass on answering that because all of my friends are comedians and I wouldn't want to leave any of them out. But I think most comedians can agree that Louis CK is one of the funniest people. And a friend of mine. He calls me when he needs weed.
Doug Benson's performance at Comedy Works on Saturday, March 9 is currently sold out, but you can still catch the live taping of Doug Loves Movies o Sunday, March 10, at -- wait for it -- 4:20 p.m.! Tickets are $20; for more information visit www.comedyworks.com