Laughter comes more easily when you’re baked, that’s a given. Therefore, like many other things, comedy films are generally made considerably better by a toke or two. Next time couch-lock kicks in, there’s nothing better to do than get comfortable, smoke a joint, and laugh at a good ol’ stoner comedy. Not sure what to watch? We’ve got you covered. Here are a few of our favourite stoner comedies.
UP IN SMOKE
Where else to start but at the start of it all? Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin are two of the most famous names in cannabis culture, and it was Up In Smoke that initially rocketed them to fame. Released in 1978, Up In Smoke was at first met with lukewarm reviews from critics, but has since become a classic, and is credited with setting the template for the stoner comedy genre. With a plot revolving around a ploy to bring weed into the States from Mexico, this film is full of great counter-cultural comedy and plenty of goofy ganja gags. Chong’s Anthony Stoner may well be the prototype for the caricature that comes to mind when you think “stoner.”
FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH
While Fast Times isn’t strictly a stoner comedy, we’re including here because of the fact that the majority of the film’s laughs come from Sean Penn’s stoned-out-of-his-tree character Jeff Spicoli. Like Up In Smoke, Fast Times at Ridgemont High gets many of its laughs from Spicoli sticking it to the man—in this case uptight history teacher Mr. Hand. Fast Times features a classic coming-of-age plot, and its lasting popularity comes not only from its comedy, but the nostalgia that most audiences feel watching the high school drama unfold. And it’s not only stoners that appreciated this one—Fast Times at Ridgemont High has been preserved in the United States’ National Film Registry due to its significance. Keep an eye out for Nicolas Cage in one of his earliest film roles!
Friday is a stoner comedy with something to say. Starring Ice Cube, Friday focuses on two burnout friends—one of whom is a drug dealer who has been smoking his weed instead of selling it. When the supplier comes around looking for his money, the meat of the film is established, and the two stoned friends have until 10pm that night to pay up. In between lazy stoner-related jokes, Friday gets serious, with repeated messages concerning gun violence and the importance of standing up for your friends and family. They may be deadbeat stoners, but in this neighborhood, they live by their own code of ethics. Bonus: Friday contains one of the most authentic POV portrayals of what being stoned feels like.
HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE
This is about as stoner as plots come: two guys get baked and decide to go get burgers. However, the universe seems pitted against them, throwing increasingly absurd obstacles in their way, which our heroes do their best to overcome despite their clouded judgements. Stoned surgery, a hillbilly foursome, and a seriously tripping Neil Patrick Harris make this a buddy comedy to remember. While the plot revolves entirely around cannabis and the munchies, there are little moments of clarity which involve the lead characters debating their futures and overcoming their inhibitions to tell the woman they love how they feel—but really this is just a goofy comedy about getting burgers.
This movie is a little different from what we’ve been talking about so far. Inherent Vice is a cheeky neo-noir mystery. Set in 1970s California, this film tells the story of Doc Sportello, a hippie private investigator whose latest case forces him to delve into the seedy criminal underworld. Don’t go into this one expecting Cheech & Chong slapstick—Inherent Vice features brutal violence, sexuality, neo-nazis and meth. It’s also hilarious. Inherent Vice is a unique ride, and the mystery at the heart of the plot thickens and folds over itself so many times that you will be left reeling like the protagonist, who is trying his best to solve the case in spite of his constant toking.
SUPER HIGH ME
How does cannabis really effect your mind and body? That’s the question that Doug Benson set out to answer with his answer to Super Size Me. Super High Me is a documentary which follows Benson through thirty days of sobriety, in which he consumes no cannabis and undergoes a variety of physical, cognitive, and even psychic tests. These tests are then repeated the following month, when Benson gets baked for thirty days non-stop. His experience is funny and informative, and yields some surprising results. The film saw what was allegedly the largest-ever documentary release in the United States . . . and the release date was, of course, April 4th.
Arguably one of the funniest movies in recent memory—an article on stoner comedies would be sorely inadequate without at least a passing mention of Pineapple Express. Dale Denton (Seth Rogen) is a dedicated stoner who accidentally witnesses a murder while getting high. He drops the roach at the scene, containing a very rare strain of cannabis, which is tracked to him and his drug dealer, forcing them both to go on the run. The laughs come hard and fast. Denton and his dealer (James Franco) make a hilarious duo who just can’t stay sober long enough to figure out what to do. The non-stop comedy climaxes in a crescendo of ludicrous violence and mayhem, and the jokes survive even the volley of gratuitous explosions.
THE BIG LEBOWSKI
The Big Lebowski is one of those films that everyone is always saying you should watch. If you aren’t already one of the converted, here’s another push in the right direction. The Big Lebowski is one of the Coen brothers’ greatest masterpieces, and one of the most quotable films ever made. Like Inherent Vice, The Big Lebowski is more of a convoluted mystery than an all-out comedy, though its goofy characters and its perpetually stoned protagonist make it an appropriate entry on this list. If you haven’t seen this one yet, you’re out of your element. Put it on and join the Dude as he bumbles his way into a mystery he’s way too stoned for.
PUT THAT COUCH-LOCK TO WORK
Any of these films are sure to have you laughing given enough smoke. Of course, this article has only scratched the surface of what’s out there. Check them all out—and hey, even Coronation Street can be stoner comedies if you’re baked enough. Are you baked enough? If not, get baked now 🙂