“Marijuana can be authorized some day,” comedy legend Lenny Bruce as soon as predicted, “as a result of the numerous legislation college students who now smoke pot will sometime develop into congressmen and legalize it so as to shield themselves.”
This YouTube sequence is the primary nice post-prohibition stoner comedy.
A legendarily fearless performer, Bruce was famously arrested quite a few occasions within the Nineteen Sixties for freely expressing himself on medication, faith, politics, intercourse and different taboo matters of the day. He additionally wrote and self-published a satirical pamphlet referred to as The Pot Smokers that coolly mocked the period’s hype and hysteria round hashish.
As for his prediction of impending legalization, whereas it might have taken two generations longer than promised, it did come to cross—no less than in a lot of the nation.
However whereas stoner humor has actually developed since Lenny Bruce’s day, what Up in Smoke, Friday, Dazed and Confused, Harold and Kumar, Pineapple Specific, Broad Metropolis, Excessive Upkeep and different touchstones of the style all share in widespread is prohibition.
Dope State is the primary nice post-prohibition stoner comedy.
And you may binge it totally free proper now on YouTube.
Roll one up and take a look at the trailer.
Years within the making
I first talked with Dope State creator Gabriel Sunday in 2015 when he contacted me as a part of his earliest analysis into the lifetime of a hashish journalist. I spent a pair hours with him on the telephone, sharing tales from my long term as a Excessive Instances editor and extra not too long ago as a columnist and video host/producer with VICE.
To be trustworthy, I kinda by no means anticipated to listen to from him once more.
For me, watching Dope State was like screening Spinal Faucet if you happen to occurred to be a roadie for Led Zeppelin.
As an alternative, he’d pop up each few months with a brand new query about his character or some facet of weed tradition. I may inform that he actually wished to do his homework moderately than depend on drained outdated tropes and stereotypes. However nothing ready me for the pleasure of watching a tough minimize of Dope State for the primary time.
I can solely describe the expertise as akin to screening Spinal Faucet if you happen to occurred to be a roadie for Led Zeppelin or Greatest in Present if you happen to’re a choose on the Westminster Kennel Membership. It’s not simply the standard of the humor, it’s the specificity of the characters and the dedication to creating them actual individuals in a surreal surroundings.
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To that finish, Sunday performs not simply intrepid reporter Tyler Gopnik but in addition most of the outlaws and entrepreneurs Gopnik encounters whereas internet hosting and producing a VICE-like guerrilla-style documentary (additionally referred to as Dope State) targeted on the world of authorized weed in California.
In Episode One, he’s each Birdman—the ill-fated inventor of a THC-infused vitality drink referred to as Tree Jizz—and an over-the-top Instagram influencer generally known as TazzyDabzs.
Rick & Morty vitality
Dope State is at its most insightful when profiling OG heads from the weed underground as they wrestle to discover a foothold within the new company hashish financial system.
In Episode 2, Rick and Morty co-creator Dan Harmon just about nails it as Cooter, a longtime weed vendor who understands all too nicely that he’s being pushed out of the market by the predatory forces of late state capitalism.
“I’m a dinosaur, I do know that,” Cooter says. “I’m not struggling any illusions.”
Psychoactive spider tech
What makes Dope State so particular is that as a substitute of punching down at Cooter as a bearded, raveled relic, we come to see that his critique rings true. After years of dealing with arrest and imprisonment for rising and promoting hashish, the brand new menace to “legacy operators” comes from all of the Silicon Valley buyers and Wall Road d-bags angling to money in on hashish now that it’s authorized.
Entourage star Adrian Grenier performs a tech titan cornering the market on nanotech hashish spiders.
Like tech titan Elon Shparker—performed with aplomb by Entourage star Adrian Grenier—who sees hashish as only one extra trade to dominate, particularly by cornering the market on nanotech robotic spiders as a next-level cannabinoid supply system.
“My character is a tech innovator and a hashish tradition enterprise magnate bro promising to revolutionize the trade, when actually he’s concocting a plan for world domination.” Grenier says. “Gabe’s characters and the world he constructed are wild however it truly feels grounded to me. Sure, there are robotic weed spiders on this present, however I’ve met numerous of us within the hashish trade and that’s not too removed from actuality. I’ve little question psychoactive spider tech is across the nook.”
Behind the redwood curtain
From begin to end, probably the most lovable characters in Dope State are those who come to it from a spot of real love for the plant. Among the finest of them is Martin, an old-school hippie (once more performed by Sunday) who’s attempting to transition his unlicensed weed farm right into a legit “Bud and Breakfast” to maintain from going below.
Combating company raiders by day and rippers out to steal his crops by night time, Martin and his spouse hope to discover a place for mom-and-pops like them amid all the posh manufacturers and company consolidation.
Shot on location at an actual Northern California hashish farm, we’re taken “behind the redwood curtain” and given a glimpse of the idyllic world of the Emerald Triangle, the place rising weed—with or with no license—stays a lifestyle.
‘A love letter to California’s hashish tradition’
It is sensible that Dope State roots so exhausting for the underdogs.
You wouldn’t know by wanting, however the six-part sequence was shot on a shoestring. Sunday wrote, produced, directed and edited the sequence himself, along with taking part in seven totally different roles.
“Dope State is a labor of affection and in addition a love letter to California’s hashish tradition, which I grew up in and round.” Sunday says. “We shot independently everywhere in the state, together with on actual weed farms, and all the time smoking actual weed with actual weed individuals. All people’s caught at residence proper now, and all of us miss getting excessive with our associates, so I hope individuals will get a kick out of assembly these characters. We positively take some satirical jabs on the groundswell of pleasure across the ‘inexperienced rush,’ however it’s all finished out of affection.”