The Tragedy of Stoner Comedy
Fourteen states have effectively decriminalized possession of small amounts of marijuana, and on June 4 Mayor Bloomberg and the New York Police Department announced plans to follow suit in NYC. As marijuana goes mainstream, its media portrayal has likewise softened. In the film, marijuana transforms seemingly normal, upstanding American youth into maniacs similar to the opium fiends of earlier stereotypes. Drugs were everywhere: on the strip, where people dropped microtabs of acid and then painted themselves blue; in middle schools, where young pushers did the work of the Fagin-esque masterminds of the marijuana trade; and in middle-class homes, where the sharing of one joint led a young Don and Betty Draper-esque couple to neglect its newborn in a bathtub with a running faucet, where the tot ineluctably drowned. Their straggly long hair, stoner talk, and constant fiending for the demon weed established the stereotype that prevails, in various permutations, to this day.
As happens when actors embrace caricature roles, both were typecast to such a degree that the stoner aesthetic took over their careers. Of late, the stoner comedy has become more realistic. The movie blended stoner stereotypes and broad humor with blood, gore, and violence. More than likely, the stoner comedies of the future will continue to play up the humor while conveniently overlooking the tragedy at the heart of American marijuana prohibition. Jails, especially in the South, have many occupants who are there simply for possession of marijuana.
Whatever the case, there will be no stoner comedy that deals with the harm inflicted on a family when an adult male breadwinner is sent to state prison for what is essentially a victimless crime. Marijuana prohibition has been the gateway to an exponential expansion of the prison-industrial complex, but that’s a reality silver-screen fantasies will not touch. As with romantic comedies, which give us a skewed view of love, the stoner genre is riddled with distortions and misrepresentations-a bad trip worthy of the worst directors in Hollywood.
Interview: Elizabeth Ho talks Netflix’s cannabis comedy ‘Disjointed’
Currently starring in the Netflix Cannabis Comedy ‘Disjointed’, Elizabeth talks marijuana and working with Kathy BatesInterview by Adam Crookes. When I was first attending USC, my main goal was to just get myself to Los Angeles; I was using the university as an excuse to move down there. The plan I’d hatched in my brain was to pursue an acting career, strike it famous in a year, and leave Uni.Since fame did not immediately find me during my freshman year, I found myself at a loss and really facing reality for the first time in my life. I’d always been successful in achieving my goals, and I realized this Hollywood nut was on a whole new level of figuring out how to crack. I felt like I was living a double life: trying to balance the wishes of my family to be a business major while also trying to pursue my own creative ambitions.
I hadn’t anticipated actually sticking with being a business major. I ended up taking a year off in between my freshman and sophomore year because I was so unhappy. Auditioning never fails to be a nerve-wracking process, even for those actors who’ve been doing it for their entire lives! Lucky for me, the material was fun and engaging. Working with Kathy Bates is a dream come true for me, and yes, I’m a huge fan of her work!
This woman is a legend and rightfully so. I am beyond lucky to work with her on a daily basis. She taught us how that works: from the day-to-day store activities, to how the plants needed to look during each stage of their growth. You can catch Elizabeth Ho on ‘Disjointed’ on NETFLIX..
Ngaio Bealum praised, but reviews criticize Netflix weed-cooking show
The latest Sacramento-area figure to bring his talents and expert opinion to a national audience is comedian and local columnist Ngaio Bealum. A week later, several reviews are in, and many of them are lukewarm on the execution of what was a mostly promising premise: Chefs competing head-to-head to see who can create the best edibles. The first season of the series contains 12 episodes, none longer than 15 minutes. Bealum, who performs marijuana-inspired comedy routines in Sacramento and the Bay Area and also writes a column for the Sacramento News and Review, serves as the program’s culinary weed expert. The show’s main host is YouTube personality Josh Levya.
A glance at more in-depth write-ups by many national news outlets turns up mostly negative reviews, with a few common criticisms. Here’s a quick, THC-free taste of what some reviewers have said about Netflix’s first weed-based cooking show and Bealum’s role as a panel expert. Shapiro charged that the show lacked appeal to the average viewer, and that it does a poor job of explaining things like the differences between cannabis strains or the creation of weed oil. In her view, Bealum and the gang use too much jargon that only stoners or those in the weed industry will understand. Astre agrees that the stakes are pretty low – there are no cash prizes – but she also sees little harm done by the show, as much as it may be lacking in its execution of the concept.