cannabis and comedy
Splitsider – Comedians like Doug Benson and Stephen Colbert have been getting a lot of joke-mileage out of Colorado’s legalization of marijuana last January. The name is derived from Khalatbari’s chain of pizza restaurants, Sexy Pizza, one of which hosted the first Sexpot Comedy show early last year. The show has since grown and splintered into several regular events, hosted at different comedy clubs and music venues around town under the Sexpot banner. For years Denver has been a known destination for touring comics; the thirty-year-old Comedy Works has been proclaimed by performers like Dave Chappelle and Dave Attell as their favorite comedy club. Last summer, Juett and comedian Adam Cayton-Holland produced Denver’s first large-scale comedy festival, The High Plains Comedy Festival, which was headlined by Reggie Watts and ended up being a sold-out success. It was Kayvan Khalatbari’s marijuana dispensary, Denver Relief, that initially sponsored several different comedy shows and podcasts around town, back when Sexpot was just a witty pun being tossed around. While this continues in some arenas, the Sexpot Comedy shows have been gaining a lucrative momentum of their own, in part thanks to Juett’s utilization of the local comedy radio station for marketing, as well as the throbbing enthusiasm coming from Colorado’s energized marijuana scene. There’s no getting around the fact that some cannabis consumption goes on at Sexpot shows, whether through edibles, vaporizers or straight-up smoldering joints. Khalatbari shares Juett’s feeling that marijuana shouldn’t come to dominate the identity of Sexpot Comedy. He’s derisive of the Cannabis Cup and 420 Festival culture that has become an unfortunate media focus of Colorado marijuana scene; and says that he is equally sick of the endless cosmos-and-munchies jokes that every hack comedian rolls out when performing in Denver.
Looking Through The Lens
July 1, 2003 – Long-term and even daily marijuana use doesn’t appear to cause permanent brain damage, adding to evidence that it can be a safe and effective treatment for a wide range of diseases, say researchers. Otherwise, scores on thinking tests were similar to those who don’t smoke marijuana, according to a new analysis of 15 previous studies. In those studies, some 700 regular marijuana users were compared with 484 non-users on various aspects of brain function – including reaction time, language and motor skills, reasoning ability, memory, and the ability to learn new information. The marijuana users in those 15 studies – which lasted between three months to more than 13 years – had smoked marijuana several times a week or month or daily. Grant’s analysis, published in the July issue of the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society, comes as many states consider laws allowing marijuana to be used to treat certain medical conditions. Medicinal marijuana is available by prescription in the Netherlands and a new marijuana drug is expected to be released in Great Britain later this year. In the U.S. and elsewhere, Marinol, a drug that is a synthetic form of marijuana and contains its active ingredient, THC, is available by prescription to treat loss of appetite associated with weight loss in AIDS patients. Grant says he did the analysis to help determine long-term toxicity from long-term and frequent marijuana use. Grant’s findings come as no surprise to Tod Mikuriya, MD, former director of non-classified marijuana research for the National Institute of Mental Health Center for Narcotics and Drug Abuse Studies and author of The Marijuana Medical Handbook: A Guide to Therapeutic Use. He is currently president of the California Cannabis Medical Group, which has treated some 20,000 patients with medicinal marijuana and Marinol.
A Definitive Guide to Stoner Comedies
While some pot films, like Dazed and Confused and Pineapple Express, have emerged as polished and coherent efforts that are pleasing to stoners and non-stoners alike, most other marijuana-heavy comedies are scraggly, unfocused yarns that by the end are just limping toward that 90 minute mark, oftentimes not even having enough story to fill that scant runtime. With the release of their first film, the 1978 hit Up in Smoke, the stoner comedy archetype was born. Cheech & Chong had broken up in 1985 and stoner comedies became less and less prevalent as the effects of the pot-centric 60s and 70s wore off. The late ’80s and early ’90s saw the rise of a new crop of movies that felt like stoner buddy comedies, they just didn’t have any drugs in them. Stoner comedies experienced a resurgence in the ’90s. With the Reagan era over and the country’s attitude towards marijuana relaxing, drug use began to trickle back into the theaters. Up in Smoke and the rest of the Cheech & Chong seriesCheech & Chong were definitely the trendsetters when it comes to stoner comedies. Fast Times at Ridgemont HighAlthough Fast Times isn’t a traditional stoner comedy and doesn’t feature very many scenes of pot use, it did introduce us to Sean Penn as Jeff Spiccoli, one of the most famous movie stoners of all time. Although movies like Dazed and Confused and The Stoned Age were the first significant pot movies after the dry spell, Friday brought the stoner film back to the Cheech & Chong basics, jumpstarted several big film careers and inspired two sequels. While the above films are the stoner comedy standards, there are many worthwhile films that were dwarfed by the impact of these ones but are nonetheless quite enjoyable. Anything I didn’t mention here hasn’t had the same influence on other pot comedies as the listed films did or been embraced by stoner culture in the same way.