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"Off Broadway's Marijuana-Logues: A joint Production"

Toking Time Out With The Kings Of The Stoned Stage:

It doesn’t sound like much: three comedians sitting on stools and reading aloud about pot for 80 minutes. Yet that’s the formula behind The Marijuana-logues, the surprising off-Broadway hit about America’s favorite illicit buzz.

PLAYBOY: What is The Marijuana-Logues?

DOUG BENSON: It’s like The Vagina Monologues with pot instead of vaginas. But we’re not against vaginas. We love vaginas. We want vaginas in the seats. Especially vaginas that smoke marijuana, which I saw once in Indonesia. It cost $6 and a chicken.

PLAYBOY: Are you making a political statement?

ARJ BARKER: Not really. We’re pro hemp, but by that we mean we get paid to smoke week.

PLAYBOY: Who should see your show?

BENSON: Potheads, anyone who knows a pothead. And cops.

TONY CAMIN: Everyone but kids- they don’t have the money.

PLAYBOY: Did you think the show would be so successful?

BENSON: We got a sense when we took it on the road and audience members gave us pot after the show. If we had known we’d get free pot for telling jokes about pot, we’d have come up with the idea much earlier. I wonder if the ladies in The Vagina Monologues get free vaginas after their performances.

PLAYBOY: Are you high when you do the show?

BENSON: We read out of binders that are sitting right in front of us, and we still fuck stuff up. Draw your own conclusion.

PLAYBOY: Are you high right now?

BARKER: No, but thanks for reminding me. I knew I was forgetting to do something.

- Playboy (September, 2004)


"A Task That Gives Him Such A High"

Doug Benson Used to joke about a movie he had in mind. He was taken seriously. Now he’s “Super High Me”.

Whether or not he’s ready, Doug Benson will soon be the poster boy for pot. The self-anointed guinea pig in the new film “Super High Me,” which documents his life on and off marijuana, Benson endures 30 days of sobriety, followed by 30 days of pot “all day, everyday.”

The film’s genius was a joke in Benson’s stand-up act: “If eating McDonald’s for 30 days is a movie, and people are willing to pay to see it, I’ve got a movie. I’m going to smoke pot every day for 30 days… try to remember to film it…and my movie’s going to be called ‘Super High Me’ (pause) or ‘Business as Usual,’ I haven’t decided yet.”

He was only half-kidding. As a heavy pot smoker, Benson had actually pitched going pot-free for 30 days to ‘Super Size Me’s” Morgan Spurlock when his FX show “30 Days” was being launched. Though Spurlock seemed interested, Benson never heard from him again. But he soon bumped into filmmaker friend Michael Blieden, who was enthusiastic about turning the joke into a film. More serendipitously, Blieden, who had directed the documentary “The Comedians of Comedy,” they then ran into producer Alex Campbell, who had just been researching medial marijuana dispensaries in California, and found the material ripe for a film.

“I heard the joke and immediately knew it could be a film if Doug was willing to go through with the experiment,” Campbell said.

Shot around Benson’s busy traveling schedule in August and September 2006, the film showcases the range of his act, whether conducting pot quizzes with audience members brought onstage or doing his monthly show “The Benson Interruption” at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Hollywood, in which, as another comic performs, Benson sits amid the audience shooting out ad-libbed commentary.

Otherwise, Benson’s material is typical of smart contemporary stand-up, in that it’s not given to easy categorization. And despite being named 2006’s Stone of the Year by High Times magazine, not all his material is about being stoned. “Twenty to 30% of it is about pot, 90% of it is pot-fueled,” is how he puts it.

As “Super High Me” was in the editing stages, Benson’s notoriety was rising considerably thanks to his frequent appearances as a pop culture pundit on VH1’s “Best Week Ever” and a shot on “Last Comic Standing,” The NBC reality show and mainstream showcase for stand-up. After making it to the semifinals in the fourth season, Benson regrouped and made it to the final 10 in Season 5 and thereby into the all-important “reality” phase of the show.

Benson was already amid a successful stand-up career (as celebrity guest judge Tom Arnold put it: “Aren’t you already famous?”), but never doubted whether it was a wise career move. “A lot of people don’t watch VH1 or Comedy Central, but everyone comes across NBC at one point of another,” he said.

Through it all, Benson has remained a voracious performer, going on the road 47 weekends a year (“It’s rare I have a weekend in Los Angeles”), with more gigs in town during the week. During the off-Broadway run of the “Marijuana-logues,” a long-running show performed alongside two other comedians, “essentially doing stand-up while sitting on stools,” Benson would go out and do his own act after the show. “I do like to perform a lot, I really do. There’s something about being on stage and everyone paying attention to what you have to say, and even enjoying what you’re saying,” said Benson, who will do two shows at the Hollywood Improv today.

“Super High Me,” which will “roll out” in grass-roots screenings across the nation today- 4/20, a high holiday in the world of weed- explores the ongoing challenges of Proposition 215, he California law that established the right to purchase medial marijuana with a doctor’s note. Even as Drug Enforcement Administration raids of dispensaries unfold on the film, the last thing the filmmakers want is to be preachy or to make Benson a mercenary.

“Doug made is clear from the start that he doesn’t see himself as an activist,” said Campbell, “so I never thought of him as an ambassador, merely as a test subject and a comedian. Hopefully, it will intrigue people enough tat they can go learn more on their own. Echoes Benson: “The movie’s a comedy first, a political statement a distant second.

At the South by Southwest Film Festival last month, which included a heavy dost of marijuana-themed programming and where the film had the most exposure, “people god exactly what we wanted them to get,” Benson said. “Even people who don’t smoke pot. People don’t want to feel bad about being a pot smoker. I don’t want to enable anybody to ruin their lives, but my experience has been mostly positive.”

For Benson, transforming a joke into a full-length documentary stands on its own. “The fact that it exists at all is plenty of a political statement for me.”
- LA Times- By Michael Shaw (April 20, 2008)


"Doug Benson Stony To The Bone"

Doug Benson has appeared on Comedy Central, Curb Your Enthusiasm and Friends, but HIGH TIMES readers probably know him best as one of the three creators of The Marijuana-Logues, a pot-comedy theatrical show that ran for a year Off Broadway in New York City, from 2004 to 2005. Since then, Benson has established himself as one of America’s foremost stoner comics. His regular appearances on VHI’s Best Week Ever as the “stony guy” have cemented his relationship with puffers nationwide. In October, he co-hosted the 6th HIGH TIMES Stony Awards. Who better than the daffy and often daft Doug Benson to spark up this year’s celebration of stoner movies and TV shows?

WHAT DO STONERS DO THAT CRACKS YOU UP MOST?
Their general stoned-osity amuses me. Remember that show Kids Say The Darndest Things? They should be a show called Potheads Say The Darndest And Long-Windiest Things. That would be funny. Is “darndest” a real word?

WHEN DID YOU FIRST START SMOKING POT?
I tried it in high school but didn’t do it right. When I was 27 and working as a stand-up comedian, some comics in San Francisco showed me how’s it’s done. And I will always be grateful to them.

HOW DID YOU BECOME A COMIC?
I knew I wanted to be in show business, but I thought it would be as an actor. After moving to LA straight out of junior college, I was goaded by some friends to try stand-up on potluck night at a popular club. I did it, people laughed and I’ve been doing it ever since.

WHERE WERE YOU BORN, AND WERE DID YOU GO TO SCHOOL?
I was born in Southern California but somehow never managed to get into weed. Too much of a nerd, I guess. It’s funny, because I was a huge fan of Cheech and Chong when I was a kid. But I never thought of it as drug humor, and it never made me interested in trying pot, even though those goofy guys I admired were doing it.

I had pretty cool parents, so I pretty much got away with anything. Pot just never was one of the things I wanted to get away with. My dad was a teacher at the continuation school in my district- the place kids got sent if they were caught smoking pot, among other crimes- and my mom was a nurse. I didn’t tell them I was a pot smoker until The Marijuana0Logues was set to debut Off Broadway. I figured I had to tell them at that point, and that they wouldn’t mind so much, because I had turned my bad habit into something profitable. I was right.

You usually don’t hear about comedians who come from a loving family, but that’s the case with me. I wasn’t crazy about my older brother growing up, but in a standard not-liking-your-older-brother-just-because-he’s-bigger-and-older-thatn-you sort of way. He’s very cool now.

WHAT DID YOU DO IN SCHOOL BESIDES GO TO CLASS?
I spend most of my time in high school rehearsing school plays and writing feature articles and movie reviews for the school paper. In junior college, I got decent grades in all of my classes, but I really excelled in drama and writing. After two and a half years of community college, I decided I didn’t need a degree to get into show business and moved north to Los Angeles.

ARE COMICS JUST BORN FUNNY, OR IS THERE SOME SORT OF EDUCATION PROCESS?
I think it can be learned. I watched a ton of stand-up as a kid and listened to a lot of comedy albums-Bill Cosby, Steve Martin, George Carlin. They were my teachers. I might’ve developed a sense of humor without exposure to those guys, but I doubt it.

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST-FAVORITE METHODS OF SMOKING?
I just got my own vaporizer, and I love it! I also like bongs, but I don’t like cleaning them. I’ve never really learned to roll a decent joint. So I’ll go with joints as my least-favorite way to smoke. But if someone else is rolling…

DO YOU HAVE A CALIFORNIA MEDIAL CARD?
Two and counting. The first doctor who gave me a recommendation has become difficult to get on the phone, which makes it hard for dispensaries to verify the license. So I went out and got a “second opinion” from a guy who answers his calls.

WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE DISPENSARY?
Temple 420 in Hollywood is pretty cool. They don’t require a medial card, just a membership to their church. You don’t even have to go to their services to purchase the “sacrament.” But you should, because it’s pretty funny.

YOU DO A FUNNY MUNCHIES BIT ABOUT MCDONALD’S. DO YOU REALLY EAT THERE?
Yes, I do. What can I say? I love McGriddles-even though I don’t know why it has a plural name. It’s only one sandwich. You don’t ask for a Big Macs or an Egg McMuffins or a Filet-O-Fishes, do you? But I let is slide because McGriddles are awesome.

HOW DID THE MARIJUANA-LOGUES GET STARTED?
Arj Barker said to Tony Camin, “We should do a parody of The Vagina Monologues called The Marijuana-Logues. Then Tony said, “We should get Doug Benson involved.” Then he told me about it, and I said, “Yeah, let’s do it.” Pot-smoking was probably involved in one or both of those conversations.

HOW OFTEN DO YOU PERFORM IT?
We do it as our sch - High Times- By Steve Bloom


"Stoner Movie Stars: A Roundtable"

Joe Cho (“Harold and Kumar”), Seth Rogen (Pineapple Express”), and others talk about 2008’s pot-flick renaissance:

This Sundays marks the unofficial stoner holiday of 4/20- a term concocted by a group of Bay Area hippies some 20 years ago that has since gained recognition as an international smoke (up) signal. Not surprisingly, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay opens just a few days later. Thanks in part to the slow-building success of its predecessors, 2004’s Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle, which grossed a measly $18 million in theaters but had a huge cult following on DVD, stoner movies are experiencing a renaissance of sorts. April 25 brings the wide release of Guantanamo Bay, but also on tap is this summer’s Judd Apatow-Seth Rogen offering Pineapple Express, comedian Doug Benson’s documentary Super High Me (a twist on Morgan Spurlock’s Super Size Me, only with pot substituting for the McDonalds’s products), as well as indie dramas Humboldt County (Starring Frances Conroy and Peter Bogdanovich) and The Wachness (a Sundance winner featuring Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olsen). Factor in the popularity of Showtime’s Weeds along with pot scenes that play like gangbusters in hits like The 40 Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up, and you could almost say that stoner content has gone mainstream. We gathered a few of Hollywood’s pot-movie luminaries to shed light on why 2008 is shaping up to be the year of the stoner.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Let’s talk about the films that you consider a part of the stoner-movie genre. What are your favorites?

SETH ROGAN (Pineapple Express): The single most influential weed movie for me and my friends was Friday. That movie came out when we were about 13 years old, and it was great. We would just quote it endlessly. It’s f---ing hilarious, and it holds up really well. But that’s a movie where you don’t have to love weed in order to watch it. I’ve seen Cheech and Chong movies and they serve their purpose, but they’re not good by and stretch of the imagination- there’s no real story or real emotions in any way, just a series of funny little skits, which is fin, but not something that I love watching over and over again.

DOUG BENSON (Super High Me): I’d say for the sheer quality and vibe of it, Dazed and Confused. Whether you watch it stoned or not, it really delivers. I saw it in the theater and it appealed on a Freaks and Geeks kind of level, where it was really funny and realistic, but also remind you of the s—tier aspects of being a kid. The only thing that takes away from the stoniness of it is the hazing element, but it does sort of represent the way stoners are treated in general. It’s amazing how many stars broke out of that movie. I think that’s part of the reason they did, because to be in something that good is a great way to start your career.

TOMMY CHONG (Up in Smoke): The one that stood out for me was Easy Rider. At the time, it was groundbreaking. No one had ever smoked a joint on screen before, so it had a major impact. The other stoner movies that came after we did ours just seemed like an imitation of Up in Smoke, which I take as a supreme compliment.

JON HURWITZ (co-writer/co-director, Harold and Kumar Escape From Guantanamo Bay): Also The Big Lebowski, though I don’t think of that as a stoner comedy. That’s a case where the guy happens to be a stoner, but it’s more of a generational comedy.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Speaking of generational divide, are the characters we find in Harold and Kumar, Knocked Up, and Pineapple ushering in a new era of stoners, and steering away from the archetypes of the Cheech and Chong days?

Schlossberg: The first Harold and Kumar script was discussed as a Cheech and Chong-type thing, like a new generation of stoner comedy. We tried to make it feel commercial, but obviously the crux of the story involves smoking weed and having the munchies, so it’s always gonna be a stoner comedy. Still, we reject the typical stoner stereotype-the notion of “We’re so high we’re not members of society…” Stoner and slacker are usually in the same sentence, but we liked the idea of guys who are motivated. With the stoners that we write, the fact that they smoke week isn’t a big negative in their lives. Harold has a great job; Kumar can be a top doctor in a second if he wants to. It’s not the marijuana that’s holding them back.

ROGEN: I wouldn’t say I’m consciously combating anything. I don’t think it’s (about) getting rid of the old images to put up a new one. For me, it’s trying to show how people my age actually use it. Our whole reason for writing Superbad was, there’s no guys like us in movies. And with 40 Year-Old Virgin, my impetus for pushing Judd (Apatow) to have us smoke weed was just that’s what we do… That was almost like testing the waters to see if people would freak out that characters are nonchalantly passing joints back and forth in this mainstream romantic comedy. And no one did- people loved it! I remembe - Entertainment Weekly- By Shirley Halperin (Spring 2008)


"Going Cukoo For Cannabis"

With 4/20 only a little more than a month away, SXSW kicked off an all-encompassing celebration of marijuana on Friday with the regional premiere of the Doug Benson doc "Super High Me" at the Paramount Theatre, shortly before other comedies about the herb made their premieres (officially: "Humboldt County"; unofficially: Jonathan Levine's Sundance hit "The Wackness," which played Saturday night as a secret screening). Part concert film culled from "Best Week Ever" regular Benson's stand-up act and part social documentary about the ongoing battle in California between the feds and the newly created legalized "dispensaries," which have been empowered by state law to sell medical marijuana, "Super High Me" sets its sights on being entertaining and informative and manages to do a little of both.

As Benson proves, it's not difficult to procure a doctor's note, and the film follows him as he detoxifies for 30 days from the substance before getting high for an entire month, inspired by Morgan Spurlock's attack on the Big Mac, "Super Size Me." On the surface, it would seem that the film is merely a vehicle for Benson's aloof brand of comedy, which, only moments into the film, gets him recognized as High Times #2 favorite pot comic. But, like Spurlock's seemingly self-serving doc, Benson's 30-day binge becomes something much larger than the gimmick at its center.
The comedian's frequent trips to a doctor (who is merely high on life, providing an engaging dynamic) and director Michael Blieden's capture of the public outcry that results from overzealous drug enforcement officers breaking into the marijuana stores that have cropped up since California passed its medical marijuana law make for an intriguing discourse about the health and social ramifications of legalizing the drug. (Still, the sight of Benson and Sarah Silverman sharing a toke while Dave Navarro strums his guitar in the background is a bit jarring to see on camera.)

At the post-screening Q & A, Benson was pleased that "Super High Me" worked for the audience as a concert film, saying that a lot of times, because the audience on screen laughs, the in-house audience won't, which wasn't a concern in Austin. Likewise, Morgan Spurlock won't be filing suit for infringement, according to Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos, whose Red Envelope Entertainment produced "Super High Me." He added that when he told Spurlock of the Benson film at Sundance, "[Spurlock] only wished he had seen it first." Sarandos and Benson were joined on stage by editor Alexis Hanawalt, director Blieden and producer D.J. Paul, who probably inspired a few people in the audience to start making movies of their own when he said all the marijuana for the production was donated for free.

Although the second installment of the adventures of Harold and Kumar has a little more than just pot on its mind, the sequel to the instant stoner classic was the subject of a panel Saturday that featured actors John Cho, Kal Penn and Neil Patrick Harris, as well as writer/directors Hayden Schlossberg and Jon Hurwitz. While moderator Robert Wilonsky and the panel generally steered talk away from the films' drug element, one Austinite couldn't help himself during the Q & A portion and ask if Cho and Penn did any research before making the first film, to which Cho deadpanned, "We did a lot of blow — and then I was told that was incorrect." However, a beet red Harris was more surprised to learn that Penn actually had to research "Doogie Howser, M.D." for Kumar's obsession with the Steven Bochco series.

Despite the panel's mostly light tone, with Cho going so far as to say, "I don't think the movie has anything to say politically," the social issues that have given weight to the "Harold and Kumar" comedies were also raised. Penn shared an anecdote about the TSA searching him frequently in airports during the first film's press tour and how in one instance, his friend, who was in Penn's words, "pinker," was carrying a hunting knife on him after just getting back from a camping trip. "Racial profiling makes us all less safe," said Penn, who also spoke of his first encounter with Schlossberg and Hurwitz at a mutual friend's birthday party and being offended by Hurwitz when he said, "Wow,
you don't have an accent." (Hurwitz countered, "We weren't actor trained yet.") But Penn and Cho reflected positively on what "Harold and Kumar" has done for their careers — Cho said the film was his "calling card at this point" while Penn said he only got an audition for Mira Nair's adaptation of "The Namesake" when Nair's 14-year-old son (a "Harold and Kumar" fan) bugged his mom to audition him. And for those already awaiting a third "Harold and Kumar," Schlossberg jokingly teased, "We've planned a 12-part dodecology. What you find out is ["Guantanamo Bay"] is chapter four and five."

If there was one shortcoming of the panel, it was the lack of input from Harris, who not surprisingly had all the - IFC.com- By Stephen Saito (Spring 2008)


"Super High Me"

A good friend of mine once said that if you do anything for 30 days straight then you've created a habit. The consistency sticks and you're in the groove. Why 30 days is the magic number I don't know, but it seems to be a pretty well-accepted timeframe.

For Doug Benson, High Times number 2 pot comedian, said 30 days was the number he settled on for his experiment with medical marijuana. Spurred on by his own joke about the success of "Super Size Me," Doug wanted to see if smoking pot for 30 days, from morning to night, would be detrimental or beneficial to his health or well-being. Essentially, get down to the essence of what it truly is that pot does for the avid smoker. That, or he just wanted an excuse to smoke lots of weed and videotape it.

Of course, it's not all blazing blunts from frame one. In order to set a baseline for the experiment, Benson, already a consistent pot smoker, is forced to go 30 days without any involvement with his favorite pastime. Throughout the first 30 days, which make up the first half of the film, we see the clean and sober Benson as he performs his comedy routines, visits various doctors, takes memory, mental aptitude and, my favorite, psychic ability tests all so that he has something to compare to when he takes the same tests 30 days later stoned out of his gourd. On top of that, we learn more and more about the legality of medicinal marijuana on the state level in California, and the dichotomy of having a state government that approves while a federal government does not.

Now, I'm not going to spoil the film by telling you whether pot improves or damages Benson, because that's part of the fun of seeing the film: finding out if all those stereotypes about everything from memory loss to decreased sperm count are true. I will say that on pot or not, Benson is hilarious. Stoned, the man is much more energetic and prone to more fanciful humor, while sober he's much quieter and reserved, but still delivers the laughs.

I don't know if "Super High Me" will change anyone's mind about marijuana use, good or bad. It's an entertaining doc, and it does probe some serious questions about the War on Drugs, Constitutional rights and the morals of medicating those who need it, but you'll have to watch and come to your own conclusions. I know that I walked away from the film with the munchies'esque urge to consume tons of Doritos. Then again, I left "Schindler's List" with the same urge, so you can't really go by my reaction.
Come to think of it, I should get that Doritos urge checked out...

I do wonder when the 30 day gimmick for change will finally run its course, however. I wonder if we'll get "Super Knocked Up Me" next, where a guy has sex every day for 30 days without a condom (this can double as "Super VD Me" as well, if the sexual partners change from day to day). You know, just to find out how really dead-on those stereotype statistics are too. "Super Cyanide Capsule Me"? "Super Electroshock Therapy Me"?
- Film Threat- By Mark Bell (Spring 2008)


"'Super High' Head To A Living Room Near You"

Doug Benson gets a checkup during the "Super High Me" shoot.

AUSTIN-- Audiences eager to light up the joint with a viewing of the upcoming marijuana-themed documentary "Super High Me" will be able to do so in the privacy of their own living rooms, a Screen Media Films representative said Sunday.

Starting Monday, fans can register at the film's Web site to "roll" their own screenings by requesting a free DVD copy of the film, which will be sent out on its theatrical start date of April 20. Once in receipt of the film, the requester is expected to hold a private screening in a location of his or her choosing. The only requirement is that there be no charge for the screening.

"It can be difficult to get stoners off the couch," said Suzanne Blech, senior vp sales and acquisitions at Screen Media Films. "The number of people who get stoned in America is quite a large percentage, and all we want for them is to tell their friends that they have to see this funny, funny movie."

Blech said the idea came after she spoke to marketers at B-Side Entertainment, who had done a similar promotion with 2006's "Before the Music Dies."

"When they told me that they'd had 300 screenings in 270 markets with an average of 120 people at each, all done at a very low cost, I was intrigued about getting word-of-mouth screening to such a large amount of people," she said.

Technical details on the mail-out are still being worked, but Blech suggested that the DVDs sent out to fans were likely to have a 24-hour shelf life, and would be encoded to prevent duplication. But requesters who held screenings after the film was released on Netflix DVD on June 17 would have the option of selling regular copies of the film at their screenings.
Shipping costs are to be paid by the requester, and were estimated at approximately $5.99.

The film, directed by Michael Blieden, features comedian Doug Benson first abstaining from smoking pot for 30 days, then smoking it all day for the next 30, with medical tests set up along the way. The film riffs on Morgan Spurlock's 2004 docu "Super Size Me," and though Spurlock had not seen the film at press time, he gave the concept a thumbs up.
- Reuters- By Randee Dawn (Spring 2008)


"Super High Me and 21!"

Greetings humans, Monki here with my first round of updates from the South By Southwest Film Festival 2008! I spent my opening day swinging from the rafters of the beautiful Paramount Theater while checking out Super High Me and the Vegas flick 21.

On a side note, I probably had the quickest, easiest time through the SXSW registration line ever. I'm not sure why exactly but it seems like after a few years of doing this they don't freak out about my furry paws any more. Good job SXSW volunteers!

The evening began with Michael Blieden's newest documentary, Super High Me. Blieden wrote Melvin Goes to Dinner and directed the Comedians of Comedy, two fantastic SXSW catches over the past few years, so needless to say I was looking forward to his next entry.

Super High Me follows comedian (and marijuana advocate) Doug Benson through an "experiment" to see what the effects of being "Super High" for a month are...there is a tiny catch though: before this 30 day stint into debauchery Doug must go completely sober for 30 days. This doc follows that 60 day period of extremes in Doug's life.

In the process he is also subjected to various tests to see if any changes occur on or off pot. Doug visits a doctor and a psychiatrist throughout the process to get some more insight into what exactly this drug is doing to his body and psyche.

This is an excellent film and a perfect choice for an opening night screening at SXSW. The subject matter is something that a lot of Austinites (and those damn out-of-towners) are probably in to and the package that it is wrapped in is fantastic. Blieden blends the trials and tribulations of Benson's life on and off of pot with poignant looks at the legal practice of selling marijuana for medicinal reasons in California.

Watching Doug's exploits for an hour and a half could have gotten boring, and likewise, watching a documentary solely on the problems facing dispensaries (legal drug dealers) in California could have been pretty slow as well. The mix here is just about perfect though as we follow the 60 days of the experiment.

On a personal note, I don't smoke pot, I just never got in to it. Don't get me wrong, I've been around it, I've seen the vast majority of my friends smoke up, but I've never really had a problem with it. And for the minority of people who freak out whenever pot is brought up in conversation, for every single story of a kid's life "destroyed" blowing smoke, I can point out to you dozens of friends of mine with jobs, normal lives, and children who are perfectly functional but prefer to get a buzz on after a day at work. (And don't want the hangover associated with alcohol.)

Super High Me is a documentary you have to see if you have a strong opinion on the legalization of marijuana (for OR against). Hopefully this film may open a few eyes out there...or make a few eyes bloodshot and squinty.

After Super High Me I hung out in the Paramount narrowly avoiding the red-jacket white-haired security in the theater in order to stay for the next "big" premier, 21.

You probably know the story of 21 already. I know I've seen a few television pieces on the kids from MIT who went to Vegas and broke the system...this is their story with a bunch of gloss on it.

I won't go in to much detail as it is all pretty simple. Ben (Jim Sturgess from Across the Universe) needs money to go to Harvard Medial School. It turns out he is a super-genius when it comes to numbers. Professor Rosa (Kevin Spacey) notices Ben's ability and brings him in to a group of elite card counters. Jill (Kate Bosworth) is one of those super-hot girls that Ben could never be with in the "real" world.

They all team up, fly to Vegas on weekends, make a shitload of money, fly back. Somewhere in there Cole (Laurence Fishburne), a loss-prevention specialists for casinos in Vegas, catches their trail and proceeds to try to catch them in the act.

Wackiness ensues.

I was looking forward to this one as Jim Sturgess' big push in to American cinema. His performance in Across the Universe was stunning and I was hoping for equal badassery in this one. One problem though...they made Jim cover up his English accent for a Northeast American accent...something he had trouble with.

His accent is pretty forgivable though as his character arcs from the dorky MIT kid to the Vegas badass who is hooking up with Kate Bosworth...oh man and Kate Bosworth is HOT in this movie. Something about a girl with different colored eyes that just drives me up the banana tree.

Kevin Spacey seems to be sleepwalking through this film. He felt out of place in a few scenes and his only shining moments come when he is teaching his class at MIT and when he goes undercover towards the end of the film. For the most part though he is just reading his dialogue with as deep of a voice as he can with a sarcastic drip to it.

My biggest problem with the film was the turn that Spacey's character makes towa - Ain't It Cool News- By Monk (Spring 2008)


"Super High Me Smokes the First Day of Film Screenings"

One of South by Southwest 2008's first film premieres opened to a packed
and uproarious house of pot aficionados and comedy lovers alike.
Super High Me, spawned from a joke in comedian and star of the film Doug Benson's stand-up
act, spoofs Morgan Spurlock's month-long fast food diet in Super Size Me. If you haven't
guessed it already, rather than gorging on McDonald's, Benson indulges in another type of
refreshment for 30 days -- marijuana.
Luckily, Benson, also a talking head on VH1's Best Week Ever (and High Times' 2006 Stoner of
the Year), doesn't just blaze through the 90 minutes of film.
Though Super High Me could worm its way into the ranks of classic stoner films like Cheech and
Chong's Up in Smoke, Dave Chappelle's Half-Baked or even Harold & Kumar Go to White
Castle (if the audience's constant raucous cheering, hoots and laughter is any gauge), the film
offered more substance than is standard for the genre.
Instead, Benson embarks on a surprisingly rigorous experiment, undergoing elaborate mental,
physical and psychological evaluations for a 30-day period of sobriety before his pot-acular diet.
Lightning-quick, effective educational blurbs animated with Reefer Madness-esque graphics
punctuate the levity of the film's titular experiment, diving deep into the medical marijuana
debate and those affected by it.
Other high points of the film (see trailer, right) included clips of Benson's own diarylike
reflections of his experiment in high-larious snippets from nightly performances, where he
openly laments and cracks rapid-fire jokes about not being able to indulge in his favorite
pastime.
Of course, all of this is just a prelude, an anticipation-building countdown to the meat of the
movie -- the nonstop smoke-out.
Surprisingly, the movie's monumental moment -- when Benson inhales a large quantity of
smoke from a clunky vaporizer -- is overshadowed by the first half of the film, which is made
funnier by the abundance of commentary by fellow comedian friends like Bob Odenkirk, Brian
Pohsen and Patton Oswalt (not to mention the steady stream of nostalgic jokes about getting
high).
A bright spot, eliciting cheers from the entire audience (save the older woman sitting next to me
who harumphed and puffed out her cheeks), came during the pre- and post-pot binge evaluation
results: Benson performed better on his SATs, showed an increased sperm count and an
increased psychic ability.
During the post-screening Q&A, however, Benson was quick to point out that the film doesn't
exactly glorify pot. "I looked like a total idiot," Benson told an audience member who lectured
him for "only showing the positive sides of pot."
"And I gained 8 pounds," Benson added.
When asked about Spurlock's response to the film (and if he was going to sue), one of the SXSW
panelists piped up: "He liked the film! And promised not to sue, but wished he'd seen it." To
which Benson cheerly interjected, "Well, then next I'm doing, Where the Hell Is Osama With My
Weed!"
Check back later for an exclusive Q&A as Wired.com sits down with Benson from his hotel room
in Austin to chat about his project, the munchies after 30 days of pot, and whether you can ever
really get too high.
- Wired- By Jenna Wortham (Spring 2008)


"Doug Benson: the multi-tasking, pot-headed comedian strikes"

There’s this comic that claims he smokes a lot of pot. But then those commercials warning us that marijuana leads to nothing but self-inflicted couch arrest make little sense. It seems unlikely that the man in question can indulge in mounds of the green stuff and still somehow get off the sofa in time to be seen every week on Best Week Ever, co-write and star in The Marijuana-logues and star in his own widely released documentary, Super High Me. Not to mention put out his debut album, Professional Humoredian. Meet Doug Benson: the leader of the new breed of pot heads.

It’s been a while since there’s been a solidly silly comedy album that’s heavy on laughs. Nick Swardson came close last year with his Comedy Central release, Party but in the end, too many feces-themed jokes and sophomoric sketches weighed it down. But LA-based Doug Benson does it right on Professional Humoredian, the latest from Aspecialthing Records (who have brought us albums from Paul F. Tompkins, the Sklar Brothers and Jen Kirkman).

As he tells you at the start of the album, you may know Benson from VH1’s Best Week Ever where he says things like “Did you hear Britney Spears is getting back together?” or from him finishing in sixth place on last year’s Last Comic Standing or from the Marijuana-logues, the pro-pot stage show he co-wrote with comedians Arj Barker and Tony Camin.

Tangential success aside, however, Benson is first and foremost a skilled comic who just gets it. He gets that you could be goofy without being stupid, intelligent without being preachy or heavy handed and just be plain funny by toying around with inflection, bending words and rewriting traditional verbal cadences. Lucky for us, Benson put down the pot pipe long enough to chat with Punchline Magazine about his new album, why he hopes Britney Spears doesn’t die anytime soon and why the world will never embrace him as the next Ebert or Roeper

The name of your new CD is Professional Humoredian, when do you think comedy became a profession for you?
I would say, five or six years after I started. In the early going especially, living in Los Angeles was tough because I had to support myself. I had various jobs to help pay rent like being a stand-in and a tour guide at Universal Studios. Those jobs gave me enough time so I could do comedy. It took a while for me to develop enough of an act. Once I did, I was fortunate enough to hit during a comedy boom. Back then, I could actually make some money, touring as an emcee. I was able to get a lot of experience working as an opener, and recently I was able to make the leap to headliner.

When do you know that something you’ve written is going to get a laugh?
Usually I don’t test it out too much. I come up with something and get excited about it. I might run it by one person but not always. Just because I’m excited about it doesn’t mean it’s going to work. I don’t try stuff out on friends, especially comedian friends. They’ll say, ‘Why are you trying a joke out on me?’ And whenever you say, ‘Hey what do you think of this joke?’ the reaction is always going to be eschewed. The key element in humor is surprise. I just try stuff onstage. Actually a lot of writing happens onstage. You add and adapt your material based on the laughs you get up onstage.

Did you approach the recording of this album differently than you would any other set?
I made references and jokes to making the CD. But that’s about it. I wanted the CD to represent exactly where my act was at that night. I’m used to doing 45 minute sets four to five times a week. With each night the act changes, now that night is captured on CD. The next night is going to be different than the night before. So I tried to capture where my act was on that particular night, which just so happened to be 4/20.

The plan is to do a CD every year on that date. I had never done a CD before, but I realize maybe I should have been doing them. It’s crazy because it’s a great way to get my material out there to people who live in cities that I don’t make it out to. I think we’re going to do the CD in a different city every year too.

Why did you decide to the show in LA?
I agree LA crowds can be tricky. The element of doing it on 4/20 helped me in that respect though. I also had some of my friends on the lineup so the crowd didn’t feel like they were paying to get into a CD recording. So it worked out well.

On the CD you say, ‘I hope Britney Spears doesn’t die before my CD come out. Well, she lived long enough,]. How’s that make you feel?
Well, I hope she stays alive long enough not to make that a depressing reference.

Do you stay up on your pop culture for your gig at Best Week Ever or because you’re really into that stuff?
I do it naturally. I’m a huge movie fan. I really like reality TV, though I’m not into gossip magazines or Britney. VH1 makes it easy on me though, they send an email to me and say this is what you’re going to talk about. Then when you get dow - Punchline Magazine- By Tim Hammill (August 2008)


Discography

DVD: Super High Me
CD: Professional Humoredian
CD: The Marijuana-Logues
BOOK:The Marijuana-Logues: Everything About Pot That We Could Remember

Photos

Bio

It would take too long to cite all of his credits, but here’s a small sampling: How does a little show called NBC’s Last Comic Standing grab you? Fact: he finished top six on season five, no big deal. Doug is a series regular on VH-1’s Best Week Ever. He also makes recurring appearances on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live. On the classic sitcom Friends, he had the nerve to hit on Jennifer Aniston. He has two half-hour specials on Comedy Central, is a recurring character on The Sarah Silverman Program, and oops, almost forgot, got Larry David in a headlock on HBO’s Curb Your Enthusiasm. If that’s not enough for you, he’s a creator/writer/star of The Marijuana-Logues, a show that’s been a hit (small pun intended) in clubs and theatres from Los Angeles to New York – and drew a bongload of rave reviews. Now there’s a CD, also called The Marijuana-Logues, and a book, The Marijuana-Logues: Everything About Pot That We Could Remember. In 2006, High Times Magazine named Doug Stoner of the Year. He has his own documentary called Super High Me based on a joke from his standup act. It’s available on DVD! He also expresses his love of movies on his I Love Movies podcasts (available on iTunes). Enough about Doug Benson already!