By James McClure
Comedians have always pushed boundaries and questioned social taboos, so it’s no surprise that so many of them have become part of cannabis culture — whether intentional or not. So to celebrate their contributions, we’ve put together a five-part series on the best marijuana moments from the all-time best standup comics, based on the list of the 50 Top Stand-Up Comics published earlier this month by Rolling Stone.
20. Mitch Hedberg
Aside from writing some of the most surreal one-liners in standup history, the late Mitch Hedberg also made a guest appearance on the stoner sitcom ‘That 70s Show‘ as Frank, the chef at the diner where Eric Forman and the rest of the gang hung out.
19. Albert Brooks
The multi-talented Albert Brooks had a recurring role on Showtime’s satirical cannabis comedy ‘Weeds‘ (2005-2012) as Lenny, the father-in-law of the show’s main character Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker).
18. Kevin Hart
Back in 2015, Conan O’Brien wanted to help one of his staff members get her driver’s license, so he took her out to show her the ropes of getting around Los Angeles. And to help her deal with distractions, he picked up Kevin Hart and Ice Cube for the ride. But the four of them soon went on a side mission to buy enough marijuana to stuff inside a piñata.
17. Bill Burr
The opinionated podcaster is not a fan of smoking cannabis, but he isn’t opposed to letting others have a puff.
“This is my feeling on weed,” he said in a 2010 podcast. “I don’t think it’s that bad — especially nowadays where you can get like a vaporizer….You put the weed in there, you light it on fire or whatever the fuck you do and it basically filters out everything except what gets you high. Now that has to be way more healthier than sitting down and finishing a six pack, isn’t it?”
16. Billy Connolly
The Scottish comedian actually began his career in show business in the 1960s as a folk singer in a band with Gerry Rafferty called The Humblebums. One night, he and Rafferty wanted to unwind with a bit of hash, but they didn’t have any papers. So they improvised…with the Bible, using a couple pages to roll up joints.
“Well, it was the 60s…” Connolly explained when retelling the story to Conan O’Brien.
15. Steven Wright
The monotone comedian played the couch guy squatting in Dave Chappelle’s pad in the 1998 stoner comedy ‘Half Baked‘. He had very few lines and mostly slept through his scenes, which was all he had to do to ace the role.
14. Andy Kaufman
The late (or is he still alive?) performance artist and wrestler never told any pot jokes. But his bizarre sets were almost like a contact high unto themselves. Don’t believe us? Check out his Saturday Night Live audition, where he recited the song ‘MacArthur Park‘ like a monologue.
13. Bill Hicks
No one pointed out the absurdity of the world around us quite like the late Bill Hicks, who absolutely nailed the hypocrisy of cannabis prohibition in his 1993 standup special Revelations.
“Why is marijuana against the law?” he asked the crowd at London’s Dominion Theatre. “It grows naturally upon our planet. Doesn’t the idea of making nature against the law seem to you a bit paranoid? It’s nature. How do you make nature against the law? It grows everywhere. It serves a thousand different functions — all of them positive. To make marijuana against the law is like saying God make a mistake.”
12. Robin Williams
In his 2009 standup special ‘Weapons of Self Destruction‘, the late Robin Williams poked fun at Big Pharma by pointing out that the list of side effects for today’s legal drugs is longer and scarier than the illegal drugs he experimented with in his youth.
“These drugs have side effects that go on for seven days, like [the] tendency to grow another head. When we were growing up, we knew the side effects of the drugs we were taking. Cocaine, side effects were paranoia and ninjas on the lawn. I remember that. Quaaludes, side effects were talking in tongues, English as a second language. I remember that. Marijuana, side effects were laughter, Frosted Flakes. That’s all I remember.”
11. Steve Martin
In the 2009 romcom ‘It’s Complicated‘, Steve Martin had to play a responsible driver while Meryl Streep’s character reeled from having her first puff of pot in 27 years. Martin was the perfect pick for the role since he hadn’t touched a joint since 1967, when he had a terrible experience after smoking a joint and watching ‘The Producers‘.