Doug Benson is, without a doubt, one of the hardest working men on the comedy scene. Chances are that you have already seen his work with his appearances on such pop culture staples as Comedy Central Presents, Best Week Ever and Last Comic Standing. Co-creator of The Marijuana-Logues and the star of his own major motion picture, Super High Me, his comedic impact cannot be denied. Once crowned “Smoker of The Year” by High Times Magazine, he is far from what many would consider your stereotypical pothead, as he is constantly honing his act, touring and providing fans much needed relief from their daily grind with two wildly popular podcasts. Continuing to raise the bar and grow his fan base exponentially with each new joke, podcast or tweet, Doug Benson is certainly a man you want to keep a watchful eye on! Icon Vs. Icon recently caught up with this star on the rise for a little Q and A. In the interview we discuss his beginnings as a stand up comic, his evolution and milestones, a possible sequel to ‘Super High Me’ and what the future might hold for him! Read on to get the lowdown!
Looking back, what drew you to comedy initially and made you throw caution to the wind and take a shot at it professionally?
Some friends dared me to try it, so I did, and I’ve been doing it ever since. Someday I might go pro.
Who or what are some of the influences that helped fuel you creatively early on?
When I was a kid I listened to comedy albums a lot. I had records by Bill Cosby, Steve Martin and George Carlin memorized.
You are constantly working on your material. How do you go about crafting your act? Can you tell us a little bit about your process?
I think of things and then try to remember them on stage. I’m constantly scribbling down jokes. If I don’t have a pen, I tweet them. Actually, I tweet a lot of them.
For you, what is the biggest challenge in performing stand-up comedy?
Dealing with drunk people. They just don’t play by the rules. But it’s a big part of the business, so you have to learn to handle it. A lot of times a drunk thinks they are helping the show by yelling out ridiculous nonsense. They wouldn’t think that if they weren’t drunk.
How do you feel that you have evolved as an artist since you first started out?
I’m more honest now. Most of my act comes from some kernel of truth at this point. I used to be more jokey, set-up and punchline. Now I’ll tell some stories.
As a comedian, do you have a hard time with fans, the press, etc. taking you seriously?
I have a hard time getting them to understand I’m kidding! Especially on Twitter. You can’t make a joke without someone taking it seriously. Rhetorical questions get answered, every time!
You are one of the more entertaining people on Twitter. How do you think that social media has affected the comedy scene and your material in particular?
It’s given me more access. People just cruising around Twitter and then start following my account, end then check out one of my podcasts or come to one of my live shows. Win-win-win-winning!
So many of your past projects have been collaborations with other comics. Is there someone that you have not had a chance to work with at this point that you would really like to team up with?
Not really, I’ve been pretty lucky in that sense. I’ve got some pretty talented and successful friends. I don’t have a wish list of future guests, because the ones that are doing my podcast right now are pretty great.
I imagine as a touring comedian you might see some of the more interesting sides of American life that many of us might never get a chance to see. Any crazy stories from the road you can share?
Not really. Sometimes flights are late or fans are a little overzealous, but for the most part life on the road isn’t too crazy. Or I jusy have trouble remembering stuff.
Two of your many projects is the ‘Doug Loves Movies’ and ‘The Benson Interruption’ podcasts. How did those come about and what has been the best part about doing these from a creative standpoint?
Creatively, it’s absolute freedom. You just say anything you want and then put it out there. I’m so gad I discovered podcasting. I sort of fell into it, kinda like stand-up, and I’m glad I did.
You mentioned in a recent interview that a sequel (of sorts) for ‘Super High Me’ is in the works. What can you tell us about that?
I’m going to shoot some stand-up shows on the road this summer and make a concert movie out of it. Who know, maybe something crazy will happen!
Have you given any thought to writing a book that chronicles your adventures through the years? If so, what would you call it?
Just thinking about writing a book makes we want to take a nap. A handful of tweets a day is enough writing for me.
What do you consider the defining moment of your career so far?
SUPER HIGH ME, I guess. A lot of people are seeing that movie. Today, and tomorrow, and the next day. It just won’t die. G4 should change its name to THE SUPER HIGH ME NETWORK.
Do you have any advice for anyone who is looking to pursue a career in stand-up or the entertainment industry?
Just go for it. I know it’s simple, but you really gotta discover how it all works on your own.
What else is in store for you for 2011? Anything we should be on the lookout for in the coming months?
I’m probably coming to your town, no matter where you are when reading this.
Thanks for your time, Doug!
For all the latest news and tweets of note, follow Doug Benson on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/DougBenson. Be sure to check out www.douglovesmovies.com for upcoming tour dates and his must-listen podcast! Broaden your mind with Doug Benson… you won’t be disappointed!
DOUG BENSON’S UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
5/15 – Burbank, CA – Flappers (DLM taping)
5/16 – Philadelphia, PA – Helium Comedy Club (stand-up)
5/17 – Philadelphia, PA – Helium Comedy Club (DLM taping)
5/18 – Arlington, VA – Arlington Drafthouse
5/19 – Easton, MD – Avalon Theater
5/21 – New York City, NY – Gramercy Theater (DLM taping)
5/29 – Las Vegas, NV – Palace Station
6/01 – Austin, TX – Cap City Comedy Club
6/02 – Austin, TX – Cap City Comedy Club
6/09 – Chicago, IL – Mayne Stage
6/10 – Chicago, IL – Mayne Stage (DLM taping)
6/15 – Sunnyvale, CA – Rooster T Feathers
6/18 – Denver, CO – Comedy Works
6/23 – Ann Arbor, MI – Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase
6/24 – Peoria, IL – Jukebox Comedy Club
6/26 – Des Moines, IA – Funny Bone
6/27 – Omaha, NE – The Waiting Room Lounge
6/28 – Oklahoma City, OK – City Arts Center at Fair Park
7/09 – Cleveland, OH – Hilarities
7/10 – Toledo, OH – Funny Bone
7/12 – Columbus, OH – Funny Bone
8/03 – Baltimore, MD – Comedy Factory (DLM taping)
8/05 – Boston, MA – Wilbur Theater
8/16 – Minneapolis, MN – Acme Comedy Club
8/17 – Minneapolis, MN – Acme Comedy Club
8/18 – Minneapolis, MN – Acme Comedy Club
8/21 – Santa Ana, CA – Galaxy Theater
9/09 – Sioux Falls, SD – Orpheum Theater
9/10 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theater
9/13 – Augusta, GA – Sky City
9/20 – Boulder, CO – Boulder Theater
9/21 – Colorado Springs, CO – Black Sheep