Imagine three stoner friends on a nationwide mission—spreading their unique comedic style of spoken word about their favorite mystical herb, cannabis.
Call it pointless. Outrageous. Even revolutionary.
They call it The Marijuana-logues.
This bong-fueled parody of the critically acclaimed Vagina Monologues is the “joint effort” of a seasoned trio of stand-up comedians and writers hailing from California’s decidedly laid-back Bay Area: Arj Barker, Doug Benson and Tony Camin. And proof that even pot-heads can show a little ambition after the bowl is spent.
“The Vagina Monologues completely inundated Cali,” explains Tony Camin, today’s chosen spokesman for the group. “We all saw it and realized how easy it would be to parody. Co-opt it for the pot-culture. That’s where it began.”
Inspired by their own experiences—and other substances—Barker, Benson and Camin poured out their anecdotes on paper. Once the material was written, they debuted their work at the HBO Workspace, at first performing The Marijuana-logues about every other month. Hey, c’mon. They’re stoners. Things take a little while to build up momentum.
But the contact high soon took effect. “Out of nowhere, we where invited to the Montreal Comedy Festival. Then the Chicago Comedy Festival,” Camin remembers. “We’ve been on the road ever since. Mostly little venues in out of the way cities. Although our last big show was for Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival. What a great experience. Such a killer theater space. That was the start of our summer!”
Never mind the Bumbershoot Festival happens every year during Labor Day Weekend.
Even if you don’t inhale, Camin assures the weary that The Marijuana-logues are for everyone. “Sure, we’re a fun night of pot-based comedy, but what we do really appeals on all levels. The pot-heads. Those that just like to laugh at live comedy. And especially those who are pot-heads and like live comedy. Those are my favorite.”
What’s the response been like for the comedy show that’s been sweeping America off its collective couch? “Definitely great. The show’s been really fun everywhere we’ve gone. But really exhausting. Some places like Lansing, Michigan, out in the middle of nowhere. You get a little paranoid. But you meet all types of people, and all types of pot smokers. That’s what makes this show interesting for us. There’s a definite way that we ‘identify’ with our audience that doesn’t happen with the usual comedy tour.”
The tour hasn’t been without its mishaps: missed flights, impromptu water fights on stage, hunger cravings. But never a late start.
“Sometimes, our crowd is a few days late. That’s a given,” Camin says. “Like, ‘Um, can I get some tickets to that Marijuana-logues show? What? It was last week? Bummer!’”
Camin is quick to point out that The Marijuana-logues has more in common with the HBO’s now-defunct sketch comedy Mr. Show than the dated “Hey man”-style of pot-soaked humor made popular by ’70s counter-culture comics. No offense of course to Cheech or Chong.
“The Marijuana-logues is based on true stories. Some serious, but mostly fun. The show keeps changing, evolving. Fans are always ready to contribute their own funny stoner moments. So we try to incorporate some of them if we feel they’re funny or universal. And did you ever notice how almost every stoner story ends with ‘Hey, you guys wanna get baked?’”
Going two years strong, the current Marijuana-logues tour ends in Salt Lake City. But this stoner triumvirate has goals. Perhaps a documentary about the show and the tour. Maybe world domination, one pot-friendly city at a time. Sponsorship from High Times magazine. Remembering to score a killer sandwich when the munchies hit.
“We’re actually very friendly. Hopefully we’ll catch you in the parking lot for the after-show/end-of-the-tour party,” Camin hints. “But it really depends on the parking lot logistics. I kind of have a problem about getting high on gravel.”