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Comedian Doug Benson Performs at Seville Quarter
by Kate Peterson

Doug Benson has appeared in a variety of comedic outlets. His earliest appearances include Comedy Central’s “The A-List” and “Two Drink Minimum,” as well as a comedy stage show that he co-created called “The Marijuana-Logues.”

In 2008, Benson recorded a comedy album, “Professional Humoredian.” His second album, “Unbalanced Load,” recorded in 2009 and was rated by Punchline Magazine as one of “The 10 Best Comedy Albums of 2009” at number five. His most recent album is titled, “Hypocritical Oaf,” recorded in 2010. Critics and fans alike have positively reviewed all of his albums.

It is noted that a couple of the tracks on his albums are four minutes and 20 seconds long. The number 420 refers to a socially acceptable time to consume cannabis. The phrase was coined by some California kids in 1971, who used the time 4:20 p.m. as a meeting time to search for a cannabis crop they had heard about. From then on, the stoner crowd used it as code for smoking. Benson will be recording a new CD every year on April 20.

In 2008, Benson starred in the film “Super High Me,” a marijuana-smoking version of “Super Size Me,” a movie about only eating fast food for a month. In Benson’s film, he went 30 days without smoking, then spent the next 30 days smoking as much as possible and studying the effects.

For some time, Benson has been hosting a weekly podcast titled “Doug Loves Movies” that is filmed before a live studio audience. It is then available on iTunes for free. The podcasts have featured notable figures such as Zach Galifianakis, Ellen Page, Sarah Silverman, Adam Carolla, Michael Cera, Leonard Maltin and John Lithgow, to name a few.

Recently, we talked to the comic about his beginnings, albums, movies, podcasts and his subject matter.

IN: What spurred your interest in becoming a comedian?
BENSON: I loved comedy as a kid, but I never really thought I could do it. Then, when I was 22, a couple of buddies goaded me into giving it a try. I went up on “pot luck” night at a club in Los Angeles, did three minutes, got a couple laughs, and I was hooked.

IN: Who influenced you, comedian-wise?
BENSON: The albums I listened to as a kid were Bill Cosby, George Carlin and Steve Martin. Very different styles. I like to think they influenced me to do my own thing.

IN: To date, what is your favorite project or event, and why?
BENSON: I have to say my podcasts “Doug Loves Movies” and “The Benson Interruption,” because they are 100 percent me and my guests. We can say anything we want, and it doesn’t get edited. It just goes right out into the Internet for the world to hear. For better or worse. And people seem to enjoy it, so I’ll keep doing it.

IN: In the movie “Super High Me,” the subject matter is the source of many jokes. How do you think weed feels about being ingested and then investigated?
BENSON: I think weed tries not to stress out about it. Hee hee.

IN: What is the “Doug Loves Movies” podcast about?
BENSON: It’s me and my friends, and sometimes actual filmmakers, sitting around making jokes and playing games about movies. We digress into other subjects, of course, because one or all of us might be high while we are taping it. And, like my other podcast, “The Benson Interruption,” they are taped in front of a live audience.

IN: What went into the making of your three comedy albums?
BENSON: I decided to record a new album every year on 4/20, because I can always get a good turnout on that date. This will be the fourth year in a row I tape a CD on that day. So I tour for a year, generating new material, knowing I have to have a new album’s worth of stuff on April 20. And then, on 4/21, the process starts all over again.

IN: Having over 200,000 followers on Twitter, what does that mean to you?
BENSON: It means I can annoy a lot of people. I try to keep the self-promotion to a minimum, but it’s hard because I have so many shows and gigs that I want people to know about. I tweet jokes as well, which is fun to do because of the instant feedback I get. But some of the feedback is mean, so I have a love/hate relationship with the Twitterverse.

IN: What’s next for you?
BENSON: Lots of travel. I’m going to try to make another tour concert movie thingy. Like “Super High Me,” but without the part where I quit smoking for a month. I don’t need to go through that again.

IN: What do you want to be when you grow up?
BENSON: Not grown up. (Smiles)

info@inweekly.net

DOUG BENSON COMEDY SHOW
WHEN: 8:45 p.m. Friday, April 15
WHERE: Phineas Phogg’s in Seville Quarter, 130 E. Government St.
COST: $15 adults, $2 additional under 21
DETAILS: sevillequarter.com