Friday, April 15, 2011

Comedian Ngaio Bealum on 4/20, Obama and 'Puff Puff Pass' at Punchline

By David Downs
Fri, Apr 15, 2011 at 9:35 AM

Comedian Ngaio Bealum hosts "Puff Puff Laugh" April 20th at the Punchline in San Francisco. A host of two previous cannabis comedy shows at Punchline SF and Sacramento, Bealum said the event celebrates an ever-more mainstream holiday this year.

“Everyone knows what 4/20 is in the Bay Area, and they invited me out,” says Bealum, who's credits include The Sarah Silverman Show and Cannabis Planet and about fifteen 4/20s over the years. “I guess they couldn't get Doug Benson.”

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It's Bealum's second year hosting the event, and he said “it's always a good crowd." “Everybody always has a good time. You don't even have to be a pot-smoker to enjoy this show or my humor.”

Oakland comedian Greg Edwards and Bay Area-to-L.A. transplant Dan Gabriel, will do sets. So will celebrity growing guru Ed Rosenthal.

“He likes to do standup comedy,” Bealum said. “He's very funny, really dry. He's kind of quiet and unassuming unless he gets mad, but I really enjoy his humor — it's subtle yet rich.”

The publisher of West Coast Cannabis magazine, Ngaio (pronounced 'nnn-guy-o') said the medicinal herb “is more mainstream than ever.”

This year, for example, Nike is releasing both a special 4/20 shoe and a "Cheech and Chong" Dunk, and the TV network G4TV is hosting “G420TV," screening stoner movies all day.

“I don't think it's anywhere close to becoming a federal holiday,” Bealum said. “But look at all the events going on, I mean, Snoop Dogg is in San Diego, Cypress Hill is in SF, the Marleys are in Denver, all these cannabis cups going on. Even states that are less liberal, some guy's house is full of stoners on 4/20. It's like Thanksgiving. It's Danksgiving.”

“I point out in my act that marijuana is the only illegal drug that people throw a festival for,” he said.

Elsewhere in the city on 4/20, Americans for Safe Access will protest Barack Obama's 2012 re-election kick-off event in San Francisco — which seems a bit misdirected, according to the activist.

“I don't know that we need to necessarily be going after Obama, so much as we need to be going after the people who aren't listening to him — the cat in charge of the D.E.A.

“The president says, 'We're going to lay off people obeying state law.' They should do that. Instead [the D.E.A.] said, 'Well, he's the President, but we're still in charge of the operations'.”

“I don't think Obama can make any big moves 'til after he wins a second term, God willing. Any sort of lessening of marijuana laws is not a first term thing. Even Arnold Schwarzenegger passed a decriminalization law close to his last day in office. It's one of those things you do on your way out, kind of like pardoning your homies that were involved in a murder, but not really.”

Bealum has high hopes for drug law reform, though. He foresees a less stigmatized world where consenting adults pick their after-work relaxant.

“Some cats will go to a bar, others'll go to a cannabis club, or a coffee shop, or smoke some weed on the patio while their friends are at the bar.”

So, more of the world will look like San Francisco?

“Yeah, more of the world will look like San Francisco, or Portland, or Seattle, or parts of Los Angeles — or Hot Springs, Arkansas.”

Buy your $15 tickets to "Puff Puff Pass" via LiveNation (with a 25 percent service fee, yay!) City regulations prevent smoking indoors, but there'll be a meetup outside at 7:20 p.m. Show starts at 8 p.m.

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