In the Todd Glass and Sarah Silverman episode of YouTube’s Getting Doug with High, Todd Glass decides to smoke as much marijuana as he can. “I never do this,” he says.
Glass overdoes it, wearing his self-consciousness on his sleeve, tempting me to make a crack about ‘shattered glass’—something along those lines взять займ на карту срочно. Jokes like that make me feel like a schoolyard bully, like movie reviewers who use “bad” and “pretentious” because “It didn’t work for me” doesn’t come with an ego-kick.
Benson and Silverman poke fun of Glass, who continues smoking. The set gets tense. Even the crew—you don’t see them, but you see half the looks exchanged, one side of the lens to the other.
Glass alternates between belligerence and fear, paranoia, he’s embarrassing himself. Who’s been there, on either side? Both? Show of hands. But he warned them, didn’t he?
Getting Doug with High is YouTube’s take on the talk show. It’s media created by and for the new stoner class—the legal stoner.
Doug Benson isn’t Leno, Kimmel, or Letterman. He doesn’t wear the tie, and his set is closer to the basement from That ‘70s Show emulsified in public access television.
As surreal as it is watching famous people smoke up, my fascination with the program is that it infuses a tired format with a much-needed indica buzz. Too flowery? Try, “Getting Doug with High offers a relaxed alternative to the talk show, a mode of entertainment as stale as the bag of chips you left open on the coffee table when you closed your rosy eyes goodnight.”
Great conversations don’t easily occur in sterile environments, surrounded by professional smiles in pressed suits. But the host/guest dynamic is a moot point when your host, between riffs off a bong he hasn’t quite learned to use, slouches to check Twitter and Leafly reviews on his phone.
Getting High with Doug is a talk show where people actually talk. Doug talks to the online casino crew, the invisible strangers behind the lens, asking questions and confirming information he was given before the show. Doug Benson’s job as host is to conduct a conversation and to mention sponsors. As host of a talk show where people get stoned, his job is to light up and have a good time.
Nothing like this has existed before, not so close to the mainstream. The guests, some of them A-list comedians, appear uneasy. They know how to do The Late Show. Stressful though it may be, online casino canada it’s familiar territory; anecdotes and prepared responses. The Getting High with Doug format asks that guests light up and relax. To be, in other words, who they are when there isn’t a camera around.
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David Cross, accustomed to poking casino online hard at his artificial media environments, struggles in an alien environment. (The oxygen is there, but is harder than earth’s to breathe.) Sarah Silverman hits the wall too. Then her high hits, and she, Todd, and Doug–old friends–relax and reminisce about online casino crazy nights and memorable highs.
Then an invisible stranger reminds Doug there’s a sponsor or a segment. Doug Benson makes a face, but does his job. Having done his job he continues to do his job, taking a hit and rejoining the conversation.
The constraints are looser, but it’s not real conversation. The camera is the stand-in for that obnoxious fair-weather friend everyone wishes would leave. He pays for the stuff, it’s his basement, but he’s every sleazy prick on the Internet.
The talk show is a marketing gimmick. Familiar faces offer charming anecdotes to drive box office and Nielson numbers for studios. On Getting Doug with High, guests do it for the money, to market themselves, but no one is ever really sure what they’re supposed to be doing.
Getting Doug with High—which I’ve miswritten like six times so far—places funny people in a liminal zone between genuine and simulated conversation. In my favorite episode to date, with Aubrey Plaza and Alia Shawkat, Plaza does her best to hide how nervous she is while Shawkat rolls joints and comes off like the coolest kid at the party.
They’re professional, forced interactions, but I’ve been these people before. Haven’t you? I’m usually the nervous one looking around, trying to play it Plaza-cool. But we all have our Shawkat nights too. Doug’s guests come closer to being people we could talk to, smoking up to more easily share drug stories and the undying hellspawn ennui that inspires them.
Getting Doug with High isn’t boring. I’d flay a turtle live, streaming worldwide, for an opportunity to co-host this series.. I wouldn’t do that; I love turtles. But I’d be willing to sort-of pretend not to.
I”d tell you when and where to catch Getting Doug with High, but it”s no longer 1999, and the Internet on your phones doesn”t have to dial up wailing like a cyborg at the end of Where the Red Fern Grows. Go to YouTube, tap your keyboard. Use your words.