Buckle up and throw on your lab coats, folks, for a trippy episode of Big Brad World. I’m your host, Brad, an occasionally funny, perpetually depressed stand-up comedian, here to guide you through the gloriously bizarre landscape of Colorado’s most colorful events. Today, our adventure leads us to a place where the wild carnival of Burning Man meets the analytical precision of a TED Talk – The Psychedelic Science Conference in Denver, a surreal cocktail of brilliant minds and otherworldly substances. What a curious carnival it was. It felt basically like a mashup of Stephen Hawking meets Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, with all the usual suspects: biologists talking gibberish, tripped-out wooks seeing God in a grain of sand, and over there, is that? Yes, it is! Aaron Rodgers! Now, I’m not a betting man, but if you had told me I’d see an NFL quarterback discussing quantum physics and DMT, I’d have told you to lay off the ketamine. Speaking of which, wasn’t ketamine initially developed for horses? I guess it’s true what they say, it’s not a party until someone breaks out the horse tranquilizers. They do say that right?

So there I was, surrounded by the crème de la crème of the psychedelic world, desperately trying to fit in. It felt like that one episode of Seinfeld when George pretends to be an architect. The only difference is, I’m just a depressed stand-up comedian pretending to understand why these people believe mushroom chocolates – the ones that make the wallpaper look like it’s breathing – have legitimate emotional healing properties. 

Now, even though I didn’t actually consume any psychedelics, just simply being there swimming in a cosmic soup of bizarre conversations about multi-dimensional beings, the healing properties of ayahuasca, and the real purpose of the pyramids was a profound experience alone. Some companies were offering alternative, drug free “mind-altering services.” One company uses the power of light, sound, and vibration to achieve a similar experience as one would have on shrooms. I gave it a try and it basically felt like going to a rave completely sober. Another company, well, they plug your brain into a computer like Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in Total Recall and to be completely honest, I haven’t felt the same since. I left that experience acting like David after the dentist, “Is this real life?”

Underneath all the trippy discussions and psilocybin-infused shenanigans, there was a genuine sense of unity – a collective yearning for understanding, for healing, for something more. That is until I met Jaden Smith – you know the one whose mother’s name you should keep out of your mouth. Jaden’s role at the conference was confusing to say the least, kind of like a Chris Rock joke. Whether you’re a child star, a Hall of Fame Quarterback, or a comedian named Brad, at the end of the day, we’re all just cosmic voyagers on this space rock, dealing with our own struggles, heartbreaks, and our own existential crises. So whether you find your peace in a mushroom chocolate or a one way ticket down a “K-hole”, make sure you do whatever you need to in order to avoid being an A-hole! If you’re reading this right now, let it be your reminder to take a moment to breathe, to laugh, and to marvel at this strange yet beautiful journey we all call life because in the grand scheme of things, we’re all just a bunch of semi-intelligent primates on a rock hurtling through space, trying to make sense of all the chaos thrown our way.

If that’s not a trip, I don’t know what is. I’m Brad Belanger and this is a Big Brad world!