Doug Benson's Super High Me

 

This was the official site for Doug Benson's Super High Me. In the 2007 documentary film, comedian Doug Benson documents not smoking pot for 30 days and then smoking pot for 30 days in a row.
Content is from the site's 2007 archived pages and outside reviews.

 

 

 

Doug Benson is an American comedian who has appeared on Comedy Central Presents, Best Week Ever, and most recently as a contestant on Last Comic Standing.

While working as a stand-in and extra in movies and TV, he did his first stand-up gig after he and two other friends dared each other to try it. One of them didn’t show up, and the other had signed up too late. Benson claimed that “I went on anyway and did my three minutes of whatever I could come with and people actually laughed”. And so, at the age of 22, Benson became a stand-up comedian.

Benson was part of the writing team that created (and performed in) The Marijuana-Logues — an off-Broadway comedy show that was kind of like the Vagina Monologues, only with pot instead of vaginas. He was also named Stoner of the Year for 2006 by High Times Magazine.

Everything Doug Benson did in Super High Me is legal in California. Benson claims that he tells kids “you should not smoke pot until you become a professional comedian”.

The Story

You know that movie Super Size Me, where that guy Morgan Spurlock ate McDonald’s every meal for 30 days? People actually paid money to see that. Well, if that’s a movie, I’ve got a movie! I’m going to smoke pot every day for 30 days, and it’s going to be called Super High Me, or Business As Usual… I haven’t decided on a title yet. But guess what? McDonald’s is going to be in my movie too!

– Joke from Doug Benson’s stand up act, 2006

Super High Me features comedian Doug Benson and explores the current situation with medical marijuana in California and the United States, specifically focusing on the conflict between federal and state law and the explosive growth in medical marijuana dispensaries in Los Angeles over the past two years.

As part of his journey, Doug smokes, eats and vaporizes medical marijuana for thirty consecutive days in order to get “Super High.” But there is a catch–first Doug must go thirty days without any marijuana and undertakes a number of tests, completing the same tests while medicated and while sober, in an effort to find out what marijuana does and how it really affects people. Along the way, we follow Doug as he goes out on the road to stand up gigs across the country and hangs out with fellow comedians Sarah Silverman, Bob Odenkirk and Patton Oswalt.

 



Comedian Doug Benson smokes marijuana for 30 days to see what, if any, the harmful effects of habitual cannabis use are. Released 2007

 

Meet the Filmmakers

Director: Michael Blieden

After graduating from the University of Michigan in 1993, Michael Blieden moved to New York to produce the Delta Airlines In-Flight Entertainment News Program. Delta Airlines has since filed for bankruptcy. In 1996 he began appearing on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show,” where he made fun of music videos and local commercials that were produced for like seventeen dollars. In 2003 Blieden wrote the movie “Melvin Goes to Dinner,” which was produced and directed by Bob Odenkirk. Blieden went on to direct his first feature film in 2005, “The Comedians of Comedy.” Blieden has since produced and directed live specials for comedians Joe Rogan and Zach Galifianakis plus music videos for Fiona Apple and Kanye West.

Producer: Alex Campbell

Alex Campbell has produced several feature films as well as countless hours of programming for broadcast and cable networks during his fifteen-year career. He graduated from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinema-Television in 1993 and joined Addis-Wechsler & Associates. During his tenure at Addis-Wechsler, Campbell worked on the management side of the company as a liaison for their acting clients who were interested in producing movies and television. Campbell also served as production executive on several Addis-Wechsler films including LOVE JONES (New Line) directed by Theodore Witcher III, SOUTHIE (Lion’s Gate) from actor/director John Shea, and SIGNS AND WONDERS (MK2) directed by Jonathan Nossiter.

Some of Campbell’s producing credits include THE UNSAID, which starred Andy Garcia, Teri Polo, Vincent Kartheiser, and Linda Cardellini; and YOU STUPID MAN, which starred Milla Jovovich, Denise Richards, David Krumholtz, and Billy Baldwin. In 2002, Campbell line produced Bob Odenkirks feature directorial debut entitled MELVIN GOES TO DINNER, which starred David Cross, Anabelle Gurwitch, Maura Tierney, and Melora Walters. MELVIN GOES TO DINNER won the South by Southwest Film Festival Audience Award in 2003.

In 2004, Campbell began to exclusively work in immersive documentary technique and produced American Casino for the Discovery Channel. American Casino was the first television show in history to have complete access to the behind the scenes workings of a Vegas hotel and casino. Later in 2004, Campbell executive produced eight reality television pilots for six different networks. In 2005, Campbell executive produced “Shaquille” for ESPN, a six part documentary television series featuring basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal.

Director’s Statement

I was at Patton Oswald’s wedding in 2005 and Doug Benson came up to me and said “I’d really like to work with you on something. There’s this joke in my act that I think would make a great movie.” The joke is about the movie Supersize Me, in which Morgan Spurlock ate McDonalds all day every day for 30 days. Doug suggests the same concept, only with pot – “Super High Me”.

Over lunch a couple days later we seriously discussed making a documentary about a guy who smokes pot for 30 days straight. I suggested that perhaps in order to add some gravitas, that the ON month be followed by an OFF month in which Doug quits smoking pot. Doug liked the idea, but argued that the ON month should come second because “that was going to be the fun part.”

I think that Doug and I understood the potential controversy that the idea could generate, and we hesitated for several months without really trying to get the movie made. In casual conversations, Netflix had expressed some interest in getting involved, but neither Doug nor I made a serious push. Then one day I ran into prodcuer Alex Campbell who had just learned of Los Angeles’s thriving medical marijuana movement. I casually mentioned the Doug Benson project and Campbell siezed on it. Six months later we were in production. Without Alex the movie would have languished indefinitely.

Super High Me was, in its inception, a light hearted comedy about a guy who smokes pot. And even though the movie covers weighty public policy issues and the ongoing battle of State’s Rights, I think we succeeded in making a light hearted comedy about a guy who smokes pot. That being said, I feel it is important to acknowledge that while I am pro-marijuana, it is certainly not a good thing for everyone. It may sound ridiculous to say this, but I hope that all the snappily edited footage of people enjoying marijuana, laughing, and behaving responsibly doesn’t reduce the idea of pot use to a simple argument of good or bad. Even a marijuana advocate like myself knows that it’s much more complicated than that.

It is my sincere hope that people who are against marijuana see this film and find support (even unintentional support) for their views. Similarly, I hope that people who like marijuana see the film and find support for theirs.

I will say this. We did try to find people to come out very strongly against against marijuana, but in California that’s harder than you’d think. And when people ask me what I’ve been up to recently, even people outside of California, when I tell them about Super High Me, they always laugh and say the same thing. “I gotta see that.”

– Michael Blieden



Oversight Committee

Alex Campbell put together a committee of scientists, academics, doctors, debunkers, psychologists, lawyers, professional comedians, dispensary operators and medical marijuana patients who designed, implemented, and interpret the results of the rigorous examinations that Doug goes through in the course of the movie. Along the way, it was always stressed that this was an experiment with a little “e”. Alex also asked the Governator, the Attorney General, the DEA, the ONDCP, the FDA and the LAPD and the OPD to be part of the experiment but they all said no. All of the results of the tests that Doug took were compiled and a report was published and a meeting was had to discuss the findings. At the Oversight Committee meeting, it was revealed to us that Craig X had done a similar experiment with LSD.

The full report will be available 4/20.

 



 

REVIEWS

 

Film Review: Super High Me
May 15, 2008
Brian Orndorf

Super_high_me_still_2

Comedian Doug Benson (perhaps best known for his commentary on VH1’s “Best Week Ever”) watched Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me” and had an incredible idea of his own: instead of ingesting fast food for 30 days, he would smoke weed nonstop for a month, as a way to gauge his dependence on marijuana, along with various other scientific and medical responses. Never one to say no to an endless parade of drugs, Benson embarked on the biggest challenge of his life.

As it turns out, part of that challenge was actually to avoid marijuana first for 30 days in a detoxification process that would allow Benson to enjoy more direct results of his eventual pot excess. For a fellow who has made a name for himself as a stoner comedian (he’s the creator of “The Marijuana-Logues”), taking pot away from Benson is like snatching a teddy bear out of a child’s grasp.

So what exactly is “Super High Me?” Well, it’s not really anything substantial, perhaps as a comment on the title, but more likely the result of the scattershot approach taken by director Michael Blieden, who establishes several purposes for this documentary. First and foremost, “Super” is the Doug Benson show, as the comic travels around the world performing in clubs and learning all he can about pot culture in America. He’s a funny guy, heartily working his laidback wit and weed-centric material to great effect, cracking up the crowds and endearing himself to the stoner underground.

The rest of “Super” is a political mishmash of concerns, centered on Proposition 215 in California, which basically makes marijuana legal in the state, yet illegal to federal forces. It’s a pinch that drives California pot-enthusiasts crazy, making a mess of legalities and basic American freedoms. How Benson fits into the argument is left to the imagination, since his purpose in the film is to get high as a kite and travel. The more substantial questions of justice are compelling (if simplistic), but poorly integrated into the flow of the feature by Blieden, who spends a good lump of screen time covering the fight between a “rogue” North Hollywood cop and marijuana dispensary establishments, who are caught in a legal vortex they can’t escape from due to the perplexing laws of California.

“Super” is much more assured clinging to Benson and shadowing his odyssey into the heavily-smoked unknown. Observing Benson without weed is a riot and actually reveals how much his personality is purified without an outside substance; Benson doesn’t feel much has changed without pot, but the cameras expose the comic in a more direct state of mind, which slightly modifies his act from weed jokes to “ain’t got weed” jokes. We also see Benson engaging in memory and psychic tests, taking the SAT, chatting with a psychologist, and even agreeing to check his sperm count to compare his stats a month later.

Once the pot experiment commences, “Super” sort of floats around from that point, catching Benson marveling over the myriad of ways the dispensaries can keep their clients high (with lip balms, lotions, and sprays), and gauging the reaction of his comedian friends (including Patton Oswalt, Jeff Ross, and Sarah Silverman, who helps Benson out by sharing a bong) to his heavy-lidded adventure. Benson soon hits the road to Minneapolis to meet with medical marijuana activists, heads to Canada to visit with Marc “Prince of Pot” Emery, takes in mass at the Temple 420, and makes a pilgrimage to the Mothership dispensary in San Francisco to greet the minds who started up Prop 215.

30 days of constant weed inhalation and digestion leaves Benson in a quite a smiley fog. It’s not clear whether or not the test proves anything to the comic (the final medical results are open to interpretation), but it sure makes him happy. One thing I could not quite understand was the purpose of the old bearded jeweler who appears in many scenes hawking his "fabulous" cz rings to the stoned Benson, who always seems to be dazzled by the glittery fake gemstones. It's very funny once, but around the 3rd time, I started realizing that this was merely schtick and became annoyed at the slapstick nature of the repeated routine. Blieden squeezes the film tight in the final reel to excavate some profundity out of this material, but this is hardly a radical production of thought-provoking ideas. “Super High Me” is a goof, and only finds a sympathetic pulse when allowing Benson to stumble around, determining his own limitations and uncovering the amazing range of pot traditions. Anything beyond that tears the paper-thin entertainment value of the documentary in half.

 

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Super High Me (documentary)
By Eric D. Snider
March 8, 2008
Ah, marijuana. Is there anything funnier? If your answer is either “no” or “What was the question?,” then Doug Benson is the comedian for you. His pot documentary “Super High Me” follows his efforts to abstain from ganja for a month, followed by 30 days of nonstop highness, all in the interest of seeing what impact weed has on him. It’s science!

This isn’t a groundbreaking doc like its namesake, Morgan Spurlock’s “Super Size Me,” was. Perhaps it’s fitting, given the subject matter, that “Super High Me” is low-key, light on statistics, and heavy on comedy. It does flirt briefly with California’s pot-friendly “medical marijuana” laws’ conflict with federal drug laws, and the 10th Amendment to the Constitution is even cited at one point. But don’t worry! You won’t have to think about anything too heavy.

Since Benson is a working comedian with a lot of gigs, and since he talks freely about the “Super High Me” project while it’s in progress, director Michael Blieden can chronicle a lot of Benson’s journey simply by showing us clips of his act. His jokes about going without weed for a month, and then about being stoned 24 hours a day, are often funny and always easy-going. Benson is not a particularly inventive or clever comedian, but he is consistently amusing and amiable. I note that he always looks stoned whether he is or not. No doubt that contributes to his target audience’s affection for him.

Meanwhile, the film has him undergo a few tests to gauge the effects of the marijuana. During his sober month (during which he doesn’t drink alcohol, either) he takes an SAT and various physical exams, including a check on his sperm count and lung capacity. He chats casually with his doctor, who says that as a private citizen he thinks marijuana should be legalized because it’s mostly harmless, but that as a doctor he’s concerned about people smoking a plant they didn’t grow, whose provenance and purity are always questionable. Good points on both sides, I suppose.

The film’s comedy, both in Benson’s act and in his daily life, relies heavily on one’s appreciation for (or tolerance of) pot humor. Personally, I get tired of comedians whose acts are almost exclusively on one subject: black comics who talk mainly about the differences between black people and white people; fat comics who talk about being fat; pot comics who only make jokes relating to the stoner lifestyle. They may be very funny performers, but a little of that goes a long way, I think.

All of which is a roundabout way of saying that “Super High Me” is a niche documentary. It avoids any universal or thought-provoking issues, which limits whatever general appeal it might have had. And that’s fine, of course. Just don’t smoke this particular joint unless you’re already familiar with the buzz.

B- (1 hr., 30 min.; R, abundant harsh profanity, a lot of drug use.)

 

IMDb Reviews

Pass the lip balm, man.
7/10 *******
Author: ElijahCSkuggs from Happy Land, who lives in a Gumdrop House on Lolly Pop Lane
6 June 2008

Doug Benson, a stand-up comic you may know from VH1, got the idea to make a documentary about himself smoking weed for 30 days. Ya know, just like Morgan Spurlock from Super-size Me where he ate McDonald's for 30 straight days. This has got to be one of the coolest ideas for a documentary in the history of documentaries. It was a pretty interesting flick, but unfortunately from a person who makes people laugh for a living, not very funny.

The flick starts off with Doug not smoking for 30 days and then once that 30 day sequence ends he begins to smoke constantly for the next 30 days. With each sequence he's subject to a bunch of tests, from taking the SATs to a psychic test. Also, he doesn't quit his day job while he's making the film. You get to see him perform his acts when he has them booked, high or not.

Doug Benson, is a pretty good comic. He has his own slightly flamboyant, immature style, that he's got down pretty well. He made me smile a few times and possibly giggle once or twice, but none of it was really that funny. He talks about pot, about how it's cool and he misses it, and that's about it. But if you're a fan of Doug's or stand up comedy, you should definitely find this flick funny. The two funniest scenes for me was when he wasn't on stage telling jokes, but when one of the producers was making a mess of Doug's apartment because of his butter fingers. And a fart gag with some tuba's was nice.

Doug, even before he began this little experiment, was a pot-head. There's no doubt about it. And this is what makes the whole process not so intriguing. If you know a seasoned burn-out, you know they tend to just get stoned. They can easily be high in almost any situation. If Doug wasn't such a pot-head, it would have been much more entertaining. Morgan Spurlock was a very healthy person, so eating McDonald's nonstop would have drastic affects. But since Doug is a pot-head in real-life this little 30 day bender isn't really anything too amazing to watch. He's such a veteran smoker that he doesn't exhibit any humorous side-effects. You don't see him paranoid, see him geek-out in a laughing fit, seeing him cough his brains out etc. etc. Pretty much all the things that's made any Cheech and Chong flick incredibly funny. But I do thank him for being a pot-head, if he wasn't this movie probably would never have been made.

Super High Me, was a cool documentary that gave some neat information concerning California laws, the history on Marijuana Dispensaries in California, and how many types of ways you can actually get high by THC. Lip balm. Believe it.

I firmly believe that if Doug wasn't a seasoned smoker this film would have been much more funny. If you've seen one glassy-eyed pot-head you've seen them all, and unfortunately his smoking didn't help make his stand-up act any funnier either. Then again, maybe I'm to blame. Maybe I need to lighten up and just light one up.

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You wanna get high?
8/10  ********
Author: pmdawn
20 April 2008

It's 4/20 and I couldn't have found a more appropriate date to watch this movie. It stars comedian Doug Benson, who I knew from The Marijuana-Logues.

As Benson describes in the beginning of the film, the basic premise is like the one in "Super Size Me", but with pot instead of McDonald's.

He goes through 30 days of "detox" only to spend another 30 days smoking marijuana non-stop. He has 'tests' done, interviews a bunch of other comedians and his stand-up routines all intertwined with the 'experiment'. This makes for a nice, light-hearted, fun movie. There's offensive language, but it's what you'd expect from stand-up comedians.

Stoners will certainly find something to enjoy here. And although this movie is a comedy and Doug claims he just wants to get stoned, there are a few key moments in the film that show people who actually need medical marijuana and the ridiculous state of affairs in which the DEA violates state laws and makes things difficult for folks that are in pain - these moments are intense and sad. One can only hope this will change in the near future.

Had this movie turned into a more political direction, it would be deserving of a much higher mark, in my opinion. As it stands, it's a nice and funny movie about pot and I'm glad I had the chance to watch this today and celebrate.
Peace out, 8/10

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Great fun with a serious side.
10/10 **********
Author: Ithok1 from United States
6 June 2008

Before saying anything about this movie let me say this. I do not smoke pot.

I rented this movie thinking oh great, a funny stand-up doing material and thats what it was. A stand-up, who got all his stand-up friends to do little interviews about smoking pot. I gotta say, was laughing like crazy through most of it. But mixed in, was a lot of serious opinion and anger about government control of pot and clashes between state and federal laws.

If you are looking for something truly scientific and credible, this isn't it. If you are looking for a good time and don't mind some opinions, I highly highly recommend this movie. Doug Benson is funny as are his friends who appear and even the studies are funny.

Watch it, enjoy it, don't take it seriously!

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Fun, wholesome film
8/10 ********
Author: mospeedracer02 from United States
8 May 2008

This film is a lighthearted, funny, and wholesome presentation of (1) the conflict between state medical marijuana laws and federal anti-drug laws, and (2) the evidence that marijuana can't do you much harm. If you are steeped in cannabis culture or follow legal developments concerning medical marijuana, none of the information will be new to you. You already know that the war on drugs is out of step with the science about cannabis use, and you know the current state of the law affecting medical dispensaries. Benson is likable and wholesome, and the movie is pleasant and funny. Because the movie is not dense or righteous, it has the capacity to reach interested folks who aren't already in the know and don't want to hear a rant about legalization.

 

 

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