Many marijuana users report that one of the more enjoyable side effects is a big boost to one’s sense of humor – you’re likely to find more things funny, including your own jokes.
This combination of comedy and cannabis seems to be the perfect ingredients for The Dope Show, a new monthly event at the Spokane Comedy Club and other entertainment venues in the Northwest.
The premise is simple: a traveling group of comedians start their first set sober, and then take a short intermission where they visit an undisclosed location to partake of cannabis from local retailers. Then they’re back on stage for a second set, which is sometimes quite different in tone.
“Each performer’s experience with marijuana varies from comedian to comedian,” said Tyler Smith, comedian, show organizer, and self-proclaimed “ganja enthusiast.”
In an email, Smith said each performer has a different reaction so audiences never know what they’re going to get.
The Dope Show’s event page on the Spokane Comedy Club’s website proclaims, “Some will power through! Some will have panic attacks! But everyone will have a kush experience!”
While the show is built around the marijuana experience, the content isn’t necessarily all weed, all the time.
“I don’t specifically go out looking for marijuana comedians,” said Smith. “I book the funniest nationally touring comedians. We’ve flown in some of the best of the best for the show.”
That means, even if you aren’t a cannabis connoisseur, you can still enjoy the Dope Show. Smith says the overall response to the concept so far has been good.
“The majority of the public’s reaction has been very positive,” he said. “Folks who partake in the festivities love that there’s an event that normalizes the act of smoking marijuana, and people who don’t toke can still appreciate the humor in the event.”
Attendance has been good too. The first three Dope Shows this year have had an average attendance of around 200 people. Not bad for a Sunday night.
The good thing about the Dope Show is that you can attend anytime because it’s a different show each time.
“The performers are always different so you’ll never see the same Dope Show twice,” said Smith. “The only recurring performer is the host, which is me.”
Smith had the idea for the show shortly after recreational marijuana became legal in Washington. He was offered a headlining gig at a local comedy club. At the time he says he didn’t have much of a following and knew he couldn’t bring in big crowds, so instead he took the opportunity to start The Dope Show and invite other comedians.
Along with the Spokane location, he also organizes The Dope Show at the Historic Everett Theatre in Everett and the Tacoma Comedy Club. It also was part of the Undertow Comedy Festival in Lincoln City, Ore., and a presenter at Seattle’s Highlarious Comedy Festival, both in April.
“I credit the show’s success to the talented comedians that perform on it and to the support of local businesses that help us spread awareness of the events,” Smith said.
In Spokane, The Dope Show is sponsored by local 502 retailers and producers including Phat Panda and The Green Nugget. While state regulations make it illegal to use or bring marijuana on the premises of the Spokane Comedy Club, Smith encourages guests to support and frequent these sponsoring businesses.
“What people do in their own homes before coming to the show or after the show is up to them,” he said.