The Super Saiyan of stonerdom and stand-up, Doug Benson has made a name for himself by making whip-smart observations even through the murky haze of a bong-addled brain. With four stand-up albums, a Morgan Spurlock-parodying documentary Super High Me, and his ever-popular Doug Loves Movies podcast under his belt, Benson’s comedy bowl is packed rather tight. But, as most folks herbally treating their “glaucoma” will tell you, there’s always room for a little more, which is why we were super-excited to hear about Benson’s latest full-length album Smug Life, an experimental double album that will make many comics put down the dutchie and wonder why they didn’t think of it first. The two discs – “Uncooked” and “Cooked – are, in theory, the same material, but the circumstances under which they’re performed couldn’t be more different (and hilarious). I caught up with Benson to talk about “cooking,” the challenge of making a double album, and his Twitter obsession.
Nerdist: Do you find it harder or easier to perform while “cooked”?
Doug Benson:I get slower and wittier at the same time, if you can believe that. The first few times I performed high, I was pretty paranoid. But eventually I got over it and it’s been smooth sailing ever since!
N: What inspired you to make a double album? Is the material totally different or is it sort of a dry run/high run scenario?
DB: The second thing. I thought it would be fun to record essentially the same jokes, but one show I was high and one I was not.
N: While both discs are ostensibly the same material, they both have a distinct feel to them and don’t come off as repetitive. Do you think that was a result of your experiment or a result of the random nature of audience makeup, your mood, etc?
DB: It really captures what happens when I’m out on the road doing shows. Each one is different, because each crowd is different and my mood is different. So this album is a chance to hear me do the same stuff, but each show has it’s own vibe.
N: Which set do you think went better? What was the experience like for you?
DB: I liked the “cooked” one better. But that’s because I was high at the time.
N: How will you turn Morgan Spurlock’s manscaping documentary into your own marijuanafied version?
DB: He makes movies so fast I might be able to skip that one.
N: You’re a big proponent of Twitter, even going so far as to read audience tweets on stage as well as some of your own. What is it about the medium that excites you?
DB: It’s a great place for jokes. I used to write daily jokes on Myspace – holy shit, remember Myspace? – and people would complain that the jokes were too short. You can’t make that complaint about tweets.
N: Who are some of your favorite comedians working today?
DB: Paul F. Tompkins, Louis CK, and about a hundred others.
N: Your podcast Doug Loves Movies is very popular and always draws a sizable crowd to its live shows. How do you think the podcast has helped you professionally and how important do you think the medium is for comedians today?
DB: I think every comic should have a podcast. And most do. It’s just a great way for fans to get more of you. And to get to know you better. They get to listen to you speak for hours a week, so when they come to see you in person, they feel like they know the person on stage. Because they do. Hope that answer made sense. I’m high.
N: According to your podcast, you love movies. What is your favorite movie of all time? What is your favorite movie of all time to watch stoned? Was it the same movie?
DB: I don’t do the favorite thing. Too many great movies to choose from. But I will say that the first Willy Wonka with Gene Wilder is a great movie to watch stoned. And if you’re not stoned, it’s a great movie to make you feel like you are.