You can often tell when Doug Benson rolls into your town for a stop on his comedy and live podcast tour. No, there isn’t a cartoonish amount of weed smoke following him around at all times, but you can often spot large swaths of obsessed fans holding handmade signs outside of comedy venues. See what all the buzz is about as one of the funniest names in comedy makes his return to Houston this Wednesday and Thursday at The Secret Group.
Whether you know him from his hit podcast Doug Loves Movies, his infamous documentary Super High Me, or his various TV shows and appearances, you wont want to miss the real thing live in person. A 30+ year veteran of standup, Benson has perfected the art of the live show, performing both his own act and live versions of the DLM podcast to sold out crowds across the country. Often accompanied by hilarious comedy staples and local treasures, theres really nothing else like the experience Benson has cultivated.
We sat down with the king of movie trivia to talk cannabis, secret passions, and comedy ahead of his stops in Houston.
Byline Houston: In doing just some light research I stumbled upon a DLM fan page that includes all-time rankings, leaderboards, etc… When you started DLM did you ever anticipate the level of fandom its developed into today?
Doug Benson: No, I didn’t. Doug Loves Movies started out as just a chat about movies. And then I added some games, and more games. And I brought prizes to give away and started telling my guests to bring prizes to give away, and then people started making name tags, and certain crowd chants have developed over the years. It’s like Rocky Horror Picture Show, or a cult!
Byline Houston: You have some of comedy’s biggest and funniest names on regularly, but are also known for having incredibly funny yet lesser known names on your road shows. Does constantly meeting new and up-and-coming comics have a positive impact on your comedy as well?
Benson: Of course it does. I need hilarious guests and the big names are not always available. Plus when I book an unknown on the show, they might hit it big someday, and then they’ll have to come back on or feel guilty about saying no (laughingly).
Byline Houston: Your love of movies and weed are well documented (Much of it by you!), what is something people would be blown away to know you are quite fond of?
Benson: Broadway musicals. I talk about them a lot, too, just don’t have a podcast about it. Yet.
Byline Houston: You’ve been performing on the road for many years now, anything in particular you like about coming to Texas?
Benson: The weather tends to be warm, or at least warmer than the north, which I like very much. The audiences are good, too.
Byline Houston: Nowadays comedians who want to take a more DIY approach to their careers often point to someone like you as an example of those able to carve out an audience on their own. Was there anyone like that for you that inspired you to go down that path?
Benson: Not anyone in particular. I just realized that there’s no reason to wait for someone to hire you to act or be funny, you can just make a movie or a podcast on your own and then just put it out there and see what happens. I hadn’t even heard of podcasting before someone asked me if I wanted to do one. I said, “Sure, why not?” And I’m very glad I did.
Byline Houston: Is there anyone that doesn’t really smoke but will make an exception for you because you’re Doug Benson?
Benson: Not really. People either like to smoke cannabis or they don’t. One time my friend Jonah Ray did my show “Getting Doug With High”, even though he doesn’t smoke regularly. It didn’t go great for him.
Byline Houston: What’s a movie or show that’s surprisingly great to watch high? Whats something that’s low-key the worst?
Benson: I never have an answer to this question because I watch every movie high. Being high doesn’t make a bad movie good, it just makes it more tolerable.
Byline Houston: Do you like the direction of stand-up and comedy as a whole these days, or are there any trends you would like to see subside?
Benson: Memes could go away and I’d be cool with it. People use them as punchlines but it’s not like they created anything. Posting a video of Michael Scott saying “That’s what she said” is not creative. It’s the opposite of creative. Now it sounds like I’m mad about it. I’m not. It’s just a pet peeve. That I feed a few times a day.
Photo Credit: Nick Larson