They say that laughter is the best medicine. Right now, many Americans are going through difficult times. Simultaneously, supplies of Doug Benson are on the rise. This year alone, Benson starred in the pot-umentary Super High Me, in which he examines California's medical-marijuana debate -- but not before first going pot-less for a month, then consuming medical marijuana for 30 consecutive days. (After a series of special public screenings this past spring -- and many, many private ones -- Super High Me is out on DVD.) All this follows The Marijuana-logues, Benson's stage show that itself became a CD and a book. "I am a multi-tasking pot smoker," he says. "Just the other day I was walking down the street, putting eye drops in my eyes, talking on my cell phone and getting hit by a car."
In other news, the 2006 High Times Stoner of the Year recently put out his first solo CD, Professional Humoredian (on Special Thing records). He has taped another Comedy Central Presents special and continues to appear regularly on Best Week Ever. "I'm here for not just Americans, but for humans. And chimps," says Benson, by phone from Columbus, Ohio.
You'd certainly be a monkey's uncle if you miss Doug's five-show run at the Improv -- but he'd still perform for you.
Super High Me is doing very well. Are you planning another film?
Since my thing seems to be taking an existing, successful artistic property -- like The Vagina Monologues or Super Size Me -- and then just adding pot to it, I think for my next film I'd like to rip off The Dark Knight. My movie would be called The Dank Knight, and I would do my part for justice by staying home and minding my own business.
Have you ever done punch-up work on other people's scripts?
Just a TV pilot or two, and I've written material for award shows and roasts and things like that. Why do you ask? Got a script that needs the Benson touch?
Is that an actual service that you offer?
Sure, time permitting. I'm actually working on a script right now with my writing partner -- a TV show that I can't say much more about.
If the price were right, might you perform at a wedding or bar mitzvah?
I performed at a high school prom a few years ago. That was weird. A lot of the kids didn't even know who I was or that there was even going to be a comic at their prom. As an audience, they were a little pre-occupied with the drama of their lives.
Do audiences ever demand catchphrases or particular things from you?
People want me to give them a rose, because of a bit I do on Best Week Ever where I play the "Pop Culture Bachelor." As it turns out, I usually don't bring roses with me to the comedy clubs.
But audiences do often give you pot. Do you have any ritual or rules for getting high?
I try to follow the rules and rituals set down by stoners before me, but it can get complicated. Which way to pass, how many puffs to take, when to murder someone and take all of their stash -- I can't keep track of it all!
What harshes your mellow?
Too many questions. But you're supposed to be interviewing me right now, so it's cool.
You've accomplished a lot in your career. What else would you like to do?
I would love to be in a TV comedy like 30 Rock or The Office. I don't even need to be the lead. I'd just like to be in something good that makes people laugh. I'm thinking about trying to create a sitcom about me and some of my buddies. But I might just smoke a bowl instead.
Doug Benson Thu., Sept. 4-Sat., Sept. 6. The Improv, 166 E. Bridge St., The Waterfront, West Homestead. $16-18. 412-462-5233