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High Laughter 

Doug Benson readies himself for a whole new year of comedy shows and podcasts

click to enlarge Doug Benson is still getting high — now he just does it on the Internet with famous people.
  • Doug Benson is still getting high — now he just does it on the Internet with famous people.

For a funnyman who started in stand-up, Doug Benson's podcasts Doug Loves Movies and Getting Doug With High have put the former Last Comic Standing contestant on the comedy map — especially with the NPR-listening and stoner set. But he's still telling jokes. This weekend, the 50-year-old blazes through the Knitting Factory with a new routine, differing from his recent Netflix comedy release Doug Dynasty. We emailed him some questions and here's what he had to say.

INLANDER: You're usually the person conducting interviews on your shows; how do you like being on the other end?

BENSON: I'm not crazy about it, to be honest. We'll see how you do, but I tend to get the same questions over and over again, so it's not much fun for me. But I want people to come to my shows, and I haven't been to Spokane in a couple years, so let's do this.

Doug, you love movies (I'm the first to figure this out, I know). Which movies, out in theaters, are you excited about right now?

Great first question! Although I guess the question about how I like being asked questions was the first one. Anyway, I'm not too crazy about this crop of Christmas releases. My favorite movies of 2014 came out earlier in the year, like Whiplash, Nightcrawler, 22 Jump Street, John Wick, Guardians of the Galaxy. I already have a favorite movie of 2015. I got to see Kingsman: The Secret Service a bit early — it doesn't come out until February. But if you love spy movies and think the James Bond series has become too serious, check this one out.

Your podcast Getting Doug with High is hilarious. How did you come up with the idea to film it? How did you go about the legal aspects of it?

The dude in charge of the Video Podcast Network, a new venture that produces shows for YouTube, asked me if I'd like to do a show for the network. I said that yes I would, if it would be a show about me getting high with my friends. And he said "OK!" Next thing I knew, it was actually happening. [Marijuana] is pretty much legal in California, especially if you have a medical marijuana card. I should bring the show to Washington state sometime, because it's completely legal there now, as you know.

Have you had to convince guests to come on the show, or is everyone pretty open to it?

It's tough to get people to do it. While we've had some amazing guests, lots of folks have said no because they don't want their families to see it, or their employer if they work for Disney or something like that, and some people are just afraid of losing control on a live, unedited show. But I'll have repeat guests if I have to.

On to your other podcast Doug Loves Movies, how did you come up with the Leonard Maltin game?

It's something I used to play with my comedian friends Sarah Silverman and Brian Posehn. And yeah, it's not easy. The game is devised so that anyone who doesn't have a firm knowledge of movie trivia can still win by making another player guess. But it's pretty exciting when someone gets a correct answer.

In 2014, you released the comedy album Gateway Doug 2: Forced Fun. Will this soon be a trilogy?

I've picked out a title for this year's album, but all I can tell you is it will not have a "3" in the title.

What continues to excite you about your job?

I never know what's gonna happen. Every time I walk out on stage, it can be a great show or a terrible show. That's exciting. And let's face it; most of my shows are great. ♦

Doug Benson • Fri, Jan. 9, at 9 pm • $20 • All-ages • Knitting Factory • 919 W. Sprague • • 244-3279

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