Comedian Doug Benson admits he’s a late bloomer of sorts, but we’re not talking puberty here.
Benson, perhaps best known for his pop culture commentary on VH1’s "Best Week Ever," didn’t start smoking pot until the ripe ol’ age of 27.
Now, this morsel of information hardly seems noteworthy, but as the creator of the off-Broadway show "The Marijuana-Logues" and High Times Magazine’s reigning "Stoner of the Year," Benson’s belated stoner tendencies merit mention, especially since his habit is the subject of an upcoming film "Super High Me," a comedic documentary in the vein of "Super Size Me," which chronicles the comic’s life with and without the green stuff.
However, it’s his cannabis culture-inspired stand-up as part of the THC Comedy Tour, a three-round stint of "high comedy" beginning tonight at Cobb’s Comedy Club in San Francisco, that brings Benson to the Bay Area this week.
He shares the bill with Marc Maron and Ngaio Bealum.
"I’m going to do my act and have some fun. Some of the comics just briefly touch on marijuana and I tend to talk about it quite a bit. It’s kind of a show for anyone who is a stoner or knows one,"he says.
It’s likely the goofy comic will discuss recently being named "Stoner of the Year," which he admits hasn’t really changed his life all that much.
"It’s not like when you win Miss America and you have to make a lot of public appearances. Basically, there’s no responsibility, which makes sense for a pot smoker," he says.
Despite his plethora of pot jokes and projects, Benson insists he’s more than just a one-trick comedic pony.
He says, "I sort of like to think of myself as versatile. Unless we’re talking about Snoop Dogg getting arrested it rarely comes up on `Best Week Ever.’ I have lots of jokes one could argue that are fueled by pot, or created while under the influence of marijuana, but aren’t specifically about that. I don’t have to rely on it, but certainly that’s what people are expecting," says Benson. "I don’t really care if people laugh at me or with me when it comes to my pot humor."
The Los Angeles-based comic, who remains mum about his age, says he was bit by the comedy bug as a kid while listening to the records of Bill Cosby, Steve Martin and George Carlin.
His first foray into stand-up came about as a dare from friends, who suggested he tackle the stage during an open mike night at a Los Angeles comedy club. The impromptu performance coupled with his self-professed "inability to do anything else" led to appearances on "Comedy Central Presents," "Curb Your Enthusiasm" and "Friends." The writer-actor-comedian also spouts off about movies on the podcast "I Love Movies With Doug Benson" at www.handheldcomedy.com.
However, in Benson’s world, stand-up is his preferred method for inducing laughs, whether they be pot-laced or not.
"Generally the time that I’m onstage is the happiest part of my day," he says. "I can’t believe I get paid to do that."
Who: Doug Benson, Marc Maron and Ngaio Bealum
Where: Cobb’s Comedy Club, 915 Columbus Ave., San Francisco.
When: 8 p.m. today; 8 and 10:15 p.m. Friday and Saturday
Tickets: $17 to $20