Doug Benson, comedy's stoner laureate, defies the facile stereotype that weed makes you slothful and unmotivated. Despite being a habitual wake-and-baker, Benson currently runs two live podcasts, spends a healthy percentage of every year working the road, has starred in three documentaries and has released an album and live special every single year for the past eight years. He visits Denver at least once a year to satisfy a stronghold of local fans; this round, in addition to a Benson Movie Interruption of Throw Momma From the Train at the Alamo Drafthouse on Sunday, May 8, and a sold-out live podcast recording of Doug Loves Movies at Comedy Works Downtown that same day, Benson has scheduled a live taping of his popular Jash web series Getting Doug With High at the Oriental Theater on Monday, May 9. Denver's own Sexpot Comedy has teamed up with a cadre of MMJ industry titans to bring Benson and five yet-to-be-determined comics to the stage, where they'll share spliffs and riffs before an adoring crowd on the same medicinal wavelength. In advance of his visit to the Mile High City, Westword caught up with Benson for five quick questions.
Westword: One of your first Denver events is a Benson Movie Interruption screening. Why did you pick Throw Momma From the Train, and what qualities make a movie particularly interruptible?
Doug Benson: This will be the third year in a row that I've done a movie interruption in the Denver area on Mother's Day. The first year we did Mrs. Doubtfire — pre Robin Williams's super-sad passing — and then last year we did Junior, starring Arnold Schwarzenegger as a pregnant man. So this year, to keep the mother theme going, I picked Throw Momma From the Train. Which is a perfectly entertaining movie on its own; the idea of the interruption format is to add laughs to the film, not necessarily attack it – although with this one there might be some of both. I haven't seen the movie in a minute, so I don't know if it holds up.
Which guests have surprised you most with the willingness to be Getting Doug With High, and who are your white whales?
Since most of my guests are comedians and actors that I have smoked with socially, I haven't been too surprised by anyone at this point in the series. After two years, I'd say the most unexpected guests have been people who aren't really known as pot smokers, per se. Like Andy Richter, Aubrey Plaza and, most recently, Ron White. I don't think people suspect any of the Blue Collar Comedy guys to be big tokers, but he is! The guest I've most wanted to snag would have to be Barack Obama, but even after he leaves the White House, I still wouldn't expect him to do it. But, man, that would be awesome!
Do you have any interest in resurrecting The Benson Interruption?
I loved doing the Comedy Central version and the podcast version of that show, but my attention turned to doing Movie Interruptions and I haven't looked back. I love movies, you know. But there's always a chance I would do the version where I talk during comedians' acts again. I love interrupting things in general!
It seems like you you make an annual visit to Denver every year around Mother's Day. Is there any correlation there?
There sure is! Most comedy clubs in this country are a big, fat drag on Mother's Day, because people do stuff with their mothers all day and have dinner and then stay at home, and the clubs are empty or closed. But not in Denver! I figured out a few years ago that I was popular enough in Colorado that I could fill up shows even on Mother's Day, so I've been doing just that for three years now. The Doug Loves Movies podcast taping on Sunday afternoon is already sold out, and the Benson Movie Interruption that night in Littleton is filling up fast. This year we added Getting Doug With High on Monday because I was gonna be here anyway, and it's so exciting to be able to do my weed show somewhere outside of California.
Do you have any projects on the horizon that you're ready to discuss?
Well, next Mother's Day I'd certainly like to interrupt the movie Mother's Day. We can't get the rights for movies that have just come out in the last month or so, but that looks like a good one to do next year. I'm also prepping to do a new standup special and have a great idea for another documentary — but I can't say much about it because it's a great idea that I don't want to be stolen. Did I mention it's a great idea?
Doug Benson will be at the Comedy Works Downtown at 4:20 p.m. on Sunday, May 8, for a sold-out live taping of his podcast, Doug Loves Movies. The Benson Interruption: Throw Momma From the Train is at 8 p.m. Sunday, May 8 at the Alamo Drafthouse; find out more here. Getting Doug With High starts at 8 p.m. sharp on Monday, May 9 at the Oriental Theater. Tickets are $15 through the Oriental Theater's website; attendees must be 21 or older.