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With the Marijuana-logues, which is loosely based as a rip on the popular Vagina Monologues, the trio have taken the format to a new high and used the minimalist platform of microphones, stools and music stands to riff on their favorite herb. The task of meshing this idea into a stage show that is not only amusing, but also funny for more than just the first fifteen minutes, is met with enthusiasm by the red-eyed crowd that potentially makes up the audience every show night. The daunting task is executed well. Especially considering the wealth of unfunny drugged out humor available.
Given the subject matter, this act would be best presented in a natural setting: On a ratty couch in a room with a dirty, crumb filled carpet, with a stinky friend next to you; another friend with a massive case of bedhead, still in pajamas, sitting at the corner of the bed; another dude who you don't really know, but lives down the hall and was attracted by the smell - all sitting around in a circle. Instead, the Marijuana-logues is performed on stage at the Actor's Playhouse, admirably unhindered by the lack of authenticity that clouds of bong smoke and crumpled bags of Cheetos nearby would otherwise provide.
As the lights dim, the show begins with each comic delivering a synonym for pot in a stoic voice: Weed, Pot, Mary Jane, Marijuana, et cetera. The delivery is effective, but one can't help but think that a voice over from NPR's Carl Kasell would be more intense. As the trio delivers their barrage of street lingo, each member of the group looks a varying degree of stoned: Benson-goofy, Barker-reflective/paranoid, Camin-placid. Benson's goofy, numbed-out perpetual grin was intensely convincing, begging the question of whether or not he was actually stoned.
Shortly after the introduction, the group rolled into a diatribe about the Marijuana guy, citing the dread that fills the body of every smoker the moment they realize that they will have to have to find a new weed hook up. They dread their guy going away: the pothead's worst nightmare, a dried up connection.
|The Marijuanalogues on Jimmy Kimmel Live.|
Though humorous throughout, the high point of the M-logues came when the trio began going over the finer points of the wake and bake. Arj Barker began by saying "I wake and bake", to which a heckler from the crowd questioning his devotion responded: "Oh come on everybody wakes and bakes!" In a show of acute wit and reflex (traits normally absent in any decent stoner), Barkos responded with a frenzied and blurred retort of 15 or so euphemisms that ranged from ridiculous to hilarious. "I wake up with red eyes!", cried Barker. "I OJ and Roll J!" While the unhesitant reply makes one wonder if the heckle was a planned part of the act, Barker receives props for his delivery regardless.
As with any live comedic performance, it's futile to recount every joke. Marijuana-logues is like a low-key variety show where the hosts are too subdued to dance or sing or do any of that shit. Instead the trio stay seated, simply entertaining with wit and funny stories. The show touches upon many disciplines of comedy, whether they be insult comic tactics (Greg Brady), the surreal (Parmesan Cheese Hotel cleaning products), the musical (fun facts), the scatological, the satirical and the low brow (which encompasses most of everything else).
Those looking for insight and higher consciousness of herb should put on a Pink Floyd record and fire up the black light. Marijuana-logues isn't about that. About the closest the trio comes to overt social commentary is lampooning the ridiculous anti-drug commercials seen on television, highlighting one spot were a car of kids whacked on the green pulls out of a drive thru and hits a girl on a bicycle. Benson countered this possibility, citing that there is no way that a head would ever drive straight onto the street from a fast food joint. After all, everyone knows that when people go to a drive thru when high they just grab their food, park right there and eat it.
It's hard not to get a room full of potheads excited about smoking. The Marijuana-logues isn't about changing the world. The troupe's message boils down to one simple statement: The world's pretty fucked up right now. Shouldn't we be?
For fans of Cheech and Chong, Abbott and Costello, Bong and Hits, the Marijuana-logues is recommended.
The Marijuana-logues is currently playing at The Actors Playhouse in New York City. Tickets can be purchased online or by phone at (212) 239-6200. SEE ALSO: www.marijuanalogues.com
A staff writer based in Brooklyn, New York, Dan Williams is a frequent contributor to LAS magazine. He once lived in Köln, Germany for a semester, is currently persuing his MBA in New York, and recently switched sides and began working as a publicist for Special Ops Media in New York.
See other articles by Dan Williams.
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