A lot of people think they’re funnier when they’re high. Most of them are wrong. Although weed can definitely highlight what’s weird about your surrounding or amplify already-comedic situations, it can’t instill a fully-developed sense of humor. Luckily, a lot of people are born with a gift for making others laugh, and many of them have been inspired and fascinated by cannabis. Here are some of the top comedians, from newbies to veterans, who appreciate bud.
Doug Benson’s comedy career revolves almost entirely around his love of cannabis. Benson created the 2008 documentary Super High Me, a druggy take on Morgan Spurlock’s McDonald’s exposé Super Size Me, in which Benson smokes (and eats) weed in huge quantities every day for a month. Released on 4/20 in 2008, Super High Me draws some unexpected conclusions:
after 30 days of heavy consumption, Benson’s verbal SAT score and sperm count actually increased (although more predictably, so did his weight).
Benson also hosts the podcast “Getting Doug With High”, which involves the comedian smoking a different strain each week with different comedy guests — including a few of the performers on this list. Check out this live episode which features Sarah Silverman and Community creator Dan Harmon smoking some Blue Dream.
Remember Marcel the Shell, the adorable squeaky-voiced, shoe-clad character that racked up 27 million views on YouTube and spawned two children’s picture books? It may surprise you to learn that Marcel’s creator (and voice) Jenny Slate is an avowed stoner: she discovered weed in college, and claims to have embraced it as her “soulmate.” Slate got her start in the NYC standup scene and had a brief stint on SNL. She’s since gone on to star in the offbeat romantic comedy Obvious Child and has had memorable parts like Jean-Ralphio’s terrible twin sister Mona Lisa on Parks and Recreation. On the podcast “You Made it Weird”, Slate talked about coming up with some of her best bits after smoke sessions — so maybe it’s not that surprising that she’s the kooky imagination behind an anthropomorphic shell who keeps a piece of lint as a pet.
Kate Berlant and John Early
Like a trippy version of Mike Nichols and Elaine May, collaborators Kate Berlant and John Early showcase a weird brand of character-based comedy in seemingly improvised skits like Family Dinner and Reunion.
Both comedians started out in the NYC underground standup scene, where Berlant developed a pants-peeingly funny bit in which she lapses in an out of an insufferably woke, “420-friendly” hipster persona.
Berlant and Early’s deadpan comedy is deeply rooted in the same pseudo-intellectual and fame-obsessed millennial culture that it satirizes, making for an especially meta comedy experience. Each of the two wrote and starred in full episodes of the 2016 Netflix original comedy The Characters — Early’s episode totally nails some cringe-worthy identities like a self-absorbed yuppie party host and a sassy but depressed Christian comedienne.
Dave Chappelle staked a claim to stoner fandom early on in his career, having written, produced, and starred in the 1998 cannabis classic Half Baked. His hugely popular and tragically short-lived Chappelle’s Show continued this trend, and gave us enduring characters like Tyrone Biggums and a warped fictional version of the late Rick James. Chappelle briefly bowed out of the spotlight after Chappelle’s Show was cancelled in 2006 and now lives a low-key life with his family in suburban Ohio. He still pops up for occasional stand up gigs though, and in a recent Denver show smoked a joint on stage with a former marine. A recent GQ interview with Chappelle yields some other great nuggets: he may have bought weed from Idris Elba back in the day, and once requested permission to smoke weed onstage from crack-smoking Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
He kickstarted his career as stoner and aspiring drummer Nick Andropolis on the priceless Judd Apatow series Freaks and Geeks, but
Jason Segel doesn’t just play a cannabis enthusiast on TV
He’s well known for his love of weed, and has made a name for himself as a leading man in comedies like Forgetting Sarah Marshall and Jeff, Who Lives At Home, blending bumbling antics with undeniable sincerity. The Vancouver native embodies Pacific Northwest chill, and has a reputation for being an all-around affable dude. Don’t sleep on this clip from his press tour for I Love You, Man with co-star Paul Rudd — watch the two try to hold it together as their (likely) intoxication improves an otherwise tedious interview.
Reggie Watts has an absurdist streak that makes him hard to categorize. The comedian and accomplished musician is unique for a standup act that incorporates singing, beatboxing, and synthesizers into original songs that complement his surreal, stream-of-consciousness narratives. In an interview with High Times, Watts talks about his frequent cannabis use, claiming to be “probably 70 percent high onstage” and to “usually only do edibles.” Watts plays a bizarro Paul Shaffer to fellow comedian Scott Auker’s Letterman on Comedy Bang Bang, providing freakish and surprisingly catchy musical interludes between commercial breaks.
George Carlin is one of the first and arguably best full-fledged observational comedians. Born to a strict Irish Catholic family in New York City, he began shaking off the establishment as a young adult, performing at beatnik clubs in Texas and then Los Angeles. At the peak of his career, Carlin called out the hypocrisy of censorship with his famous “Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television” monologue. Carlin’s countercultural humor was at least partially fueled by cannabis: in a retrospective interview with Jon Stewart, he claimed to
always have a joint lying around somewhere, as pot helped him “punch up” the material that he’d written while sober.
George Carlin died in 2008, but his legacy is timeless: without him, we probably wouldn’t have Jerry Seinfeld, Chris Rock, or Louis C.K, to name a few.