Doug Benson is back, and he’s got a brand new stand-up comedy album entitled Smug Life. It is the star of Super High Me’s ritual to record a new stand-up special every year on the holy holiday of stoners: 4/20. This year he goes for something a bit different. There are two CDs of material. The first set, Uncooked, is Benson without the influence of Mary Jane. The second show, Cooked, takes place not long after. Only in the interval, he has ingested copious amounts of cannabis. Let the great experiment begin!
Benson is his usual affable self. Unlike most comics, he freely engages with his audience, either freewheeling off of their comments or reading and responding aloud to some of the tweets that have just been sent in. One Twitter user writes: “Waiting to see Doug Benson at Parlor Live #f***ingpsyched.” He responds: “Why did you write it that way, are you mostly followed by children?…you’re only teaching children how to not read.” Hey, if Doug Benson’s telling you how to spell, maybe he has a point.
Even when Doug Benson is a near-day sober, he still sounds high; stumbling over his words and going off on tangents the listener is unsure he’ll ever return from. In the middle of the set, he just pops out the joke, “Have you guys tried Tiger meat?… Because they’re grrrreeeaaaatt!”
The words fall out of Benson’s mouth like they’re resisting the force of gravity. Chuckles spew out like vomit from him and the audience. The hanging scent of marijuana is tangible.
The best way to describe the set is to compare it to a Hollywood “based on a true story” movie. Yeah, it’s similar; the same names are used and the two story lines essentially match, but in the end, one’s better than the other through some “enhancement.”
In a story that’s only on the Cooked side, Benson tells the audience about the weirdest thing he’s ever read about himself. He was reading a local Seattle news article in which the author of the piece wrote, “True Story. A cancer stricken friend of mine once called Doug Benson ‘worth what little time I have left on this earth.’” Doug, even I couldn’t say something that nice about you. I mean, besides I love you, and I want to be painted like one of your French girls.
Doug Benson offers a unique experimental experience with Smug Life. Which in my opinion is how all comedy and drugs should be. It’s a little scary, a little confusing, and a lot of “WTF.” However, in the end, I always end up feeling warm on the inside and temporarily better about humanity. The CD drops next Tuesday, July 3. I’m always a big proponent of comedy for value, and Benson does exactly that. He gives you two sets varied enough that it doesn’t feel like he’s purposely inflating his product.
About the Author: Nate Rankin writes Comedy Reviews and Fiction because no one taught him any better. His fiction has been featured by Workers Writes, theNewerYork! and Used Gravitrons and is forthcoming in The Green Blotter. His work can be seen here: http://iamseamus.tumblr.com/writing You can find him on the Tweety Box @CommanderSeamus If you'd like to submit a review inquiry please send to nrankin22[at]gmail[dot]com