Hosting a game show of stoners taught me to be organized
I’m a stand-up comedian living in Philadelphia, and for the last two years I’ve hosted Weeding Out The Stoned, The Game Show of Sobriety Tests that takes place every 2nd and 4th Wednesday at Good Good Comedy Theatre. I invite 16 comics on stage who are all stoned except one, and we play games so the audience can eliminate all the stoners and leave the sober narc left at the end of the show.
As the host in charge of wrangling over a dozen stoned comedians, I’ve learned more organizational skills than a life coach could ever teach me.
Make sure to inform the players to arrive early and don’t freak out when they’re much later than the time asked of them. Some stoners want their own dark alley to get ripped in, and they’ll eventually wander backstage when they’re ready to go. Remind them to keep it down while smoking, and to pace themselves so no one falls asleep in the green room before showtime.
Know that with so many comedians, some of them will cancel over the wait for the show date. You never know when a day job is going to announce a random drug test.
Be wary of stoners who ask to do the show. Often they are people who have never done live performance and are moochers who just want to get high with comedians for free.
Confirm all the contestants days ahead of time and be sure to remind them all the day before. Also the day of the show. Multiple reminders are a great idea. Y’know what, confirm with everyone five or more times.
Stoned comedians rarely pay attention when the rules of a game are explained. Stand-ups are rule breakers as it is, but weed makes them forget what the rules are in order to break them. So you better know the rules as the host of each game. Feel free to catch them when they try to bullshit an answer.
Enjoy the funny stoners. After a contestant goes off-topic, let them finish, laugh at their humorous answer, and then remind the audience what was originally asked of them when it makes no sense. The most obvious people to eliminate are players acting stupidly stoned. Everybody’s going to be hilarious. Everybody’s a comedian.
Figure out who will be the one sober contestant early and confirm that they will stay sober for several hours before the show. This is always the hardest aspect of Weeding Out The Stoned to book. Everyone wants to trick the audience into thinking they’re the sober person, but no one wants to actually be the designated narc amongst a bunch of high comics.
Of course, each show of Weeding Out The Stoned has different aspects of chaos to deal with. We have had hundreds of contestants and we come up with brand new games to try all the time. In the end, it’s been super fun, if not ridiculously stressful having to smoke pot while joking around and playing sobriety test games with over a dozen comedians several times a month. One thing is for sure, wherever we’ve toured, whoever the crowd is, and whichever comedian is the barc, the audience just about never can figure out which comic is sober.
And when you were a teen, I bet your parents didn’t know when you were stoned or sober, either.