Review: Doug Benson “Smug Life”
First of all I want to say I love Doug Benson and his comedy. I think his podcast is as interesting and funny as WTF with Marc Maron or Wonderful, Thanks. Putting out a new hour of comedy every year is not an easy task but I think Doug has good material that just needs to be presented in a certain way – while he is high as balls.
Every 4/20 Doug records a new album to celebrate what most of his fans refer to as his birthday and every other pothead refers to as Christmas. This year Doug decided to do something a little different; he performed and recorded two shows of the same material one sober, or “uncooked,” and one stoned out of his mind, or “cooked” to see which performance came out funnier.
The first disc is “Uncooked” and it starts out the same way his podcast always does, with a very friendly “Hey Everybody” to his audience. They are quickly disappointed though when they realize Doug isn’t stoned. This actually leads into a few strong bits dealing with Doug’s pot-smoking crowd and the tweets they have been sending him. The album starts to pick up a good flow but mid-way through it seems to lose its stride. Doug just doesn’t seem to be as involved when he’s not stoned and even he admits with a chuckle that his audience at home should have just listened to the “Cooked” version because it will be just as good if not better when he’s high – and he’s right.
“Cooked” starts out the same way as its counterpart with another friendly “Hey Everybody” but this time Doug is high as a kite. The edible he took mid-way through his first performance has kicked in and the massive amount of weed he smoked between sets probably isn’t hurting the situation either. Doug set out to get as stoned as he possibly could and he succeeded. He is much more excited about 4/20 and about performing in general this time around. His flow feels much more comfortable and his jokes less structured and more sincere which led to a lot more uncontrollable laughter from the audience and myself at home.
Doug Benson is more himself on-stage when he is stoned and it shows on these albums. I enjoyed all the material but it hits the funny bone a lot harder on the “Cooked” disc. The second half of the set, which lulled on the “Uncooked” disc, has a new and fresh take the second time around.
My suggestion is to buy this album and listen to the “Cooked” disc first and enjoy it with Doug in anyway you prefer (edible or smokable).