While many comedians themselves may prefer a stiff drink, marijuana has, for some time, been the drug of choice for comedy audiences. From Lenny Bruce's satirical pamphlet on the dangers of the herb, to sketch comedians like Cheech & Chong and Dave Chappelle building whole careers around it, entertainers have been writing bits that highlight getting high for as long as their audiences have felt a personal glee at hearing them. This week, Denver's own Comedy Works will be playing host to The Marijuana-Logues, a troupe of deadpan comedians speaking earnestly (and hilariously) about the herb they love so dearly. And in honor of their visit to one of the highest cities in the U.S., we present to you our ranking of the top five marijuana moments in standup comedy.
In this sketch, Chappelle adroitly and hilariously points out how oblivious white pot smokers can be around cops, while black pot smokers must take extra precaution. It was takes like these that propelled Chappelle's Show to become the best-selling DVD of a television show of all time. Some of Chappelle's fans appreciated his wit and social commentary, while others berated him with "Do Rick James, bitch!" demands from the audience, until he suffered a breakdown in 2004, fleeing to Africa and abandoning season 3 of the Chappelle's Show.
4.) The Marijuana-Logues
The Marijuana-Logues debuted on Real Time With Bill Maher in 2007, sparking a five-year wave of kush-centered comedy. Marijuana-Loguer Doug Benson later starred in Super High Me, a Spurlock-inspired documentary about overindulging in marijuana use while being studied by doctors and enthusiasts and attempting to maintain a standup comedy tour.
3.) Bill Cosby
Arguably as much of an influence on the path of comedy as Richard Pryor or George Carlin, Bill Cosby's contribution to storytelling and his redefining of black America has often been overlooked by comedic historians due to his PG-rated material. Rarely cursing or promoting a controversial message, Cosby's fun-for-the-whole-family takes landed him the role as one of the '80s top TV dads and commercial spokesmen. Yet that didn't stop techno-industrial band Lords of Acid from sampling pieces of this dynamite 1983 Cosby performance for their song "Let's Get High."
2.) Marc Maron
Like any profession that pays you in pocket change and a bar tab, comedy means those who work in it often need day jobs. Typically these are jobs that provide little challenge and are easily abandoned; but to endure the hundreds of those slowly ticking minutes of purgatory, it does make sense to go a little hazy in the eyes and think about something else for a while, as Maron points out in this bit.
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1.) Bill Hicks
While the late Bill Hicks had been sober for some time leading up to this performance, his jokes were still largely centered around drug use. Known primarily for his social commentary, Hicks would often comment on big issues in a concise and direct delivery; such as in this clip where he characteristically dismisses marijuana laws with the question "How can you make nature against the law?"
The Marijuana-Logues will appearing at Comedy Works daily from June 14 to 16. Tickets are $17-$25 and Comedy Works is located at 1226 15th Street. Click here for more information.