I met Ngaio Bealum waiting in line to buy a slice of pie at the Mateel. He was telling jokes at the Emerald Cup, definitely an appropriate venue for someone known as "the cannabis comic." When he mentioned that he had a show coming up in Arcata, we vowed to keep in touch and later became friends on Facebook. Last week he popped up in the chat box.
Hey Bob how you been?
I am going to be performing at HumBrews on Feb. 7th. It's my first time there, and I need to promote the shit out of it. Any advice?
We could do an interview.
Phone or email?
How about FB chat?
You're universally known as "the pot comic," or "the cannabis comic" -- is that something you came up with?
I didn't really come up with it. It just kinda worked out that way. In fact I resisted it for a while because I'm not a big fan of labels and I think people that aren't necessarily interested in pot should come see my show also. But branding is everything these days, and you have to "play to your base," as it were. But I love being the "cannabis comic" because I love cannabis.
What's funny about cannabis?
Cannabis itself may not be that funny. It's a beautiful plant. But cannabis users are hilarious. I also like to point out the ridiculousness of prohibition.
I know you've done a bunch of shows in southern Humboldt. Is this your first time in NoHum?
I used to do shows at The Sweetriver Saloon way back in the '90s. I once found half of a huge joint in the parking lot of the [Bayshore] Mall. That was a good day. I don't think NoHum has had a regular comedy show for years. Lately I have been producing my own shows -- my friends in the area helped me set up this one.
The fact that you played the Sweetwater tells me you've been at this a long time.
Yeah. I started telling jokes for money in 1988.
How has the stand-up scene changed? Is there some sort of new revival? It seems that way here.
Recessions always make comedy more popular. But there are now many different ways to be funny: podcasts, Internet videos, memes, songs. Comedy is booming, but not just stand-up.
I hear the Humboldt comedy scene is growing and I am looking forward to seeing the locals.
Is social media -- Facebook, Twitter -- mandatory for comics now?
Hell yes. Social media has made it way easier to meet people, and network and do shows. It's amazing how much work I have gotten from social media. I don't just use Twitter for self-promotion though; I love talking to people and meeting folks. You can follow me: @ngaio420 (there were 419 other Ngaios).
What should people expect when they come see you at Humboldt Brews?
Jokes. A really good time. And a great parking lot scene after the show.
Sarah Godlin, Joe Deschaine, Josh Duke and Bryant Kellison.
Shall we end with a joke? I'm sure you know one or two.
How can you tell when a stoner has been at your house?
He's still there.
What else go we need to know?
Anyone showing up naked gets in free, 'cause, how would you carry money?
Savage Henry Magazine presents an evening of stand-up featuring Ngaio Bealum, hosted by Josh Duke with Sarah Godlin, Joe Deschaine and Bryant Kellison, starting at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 7, at Humboldt Brews. Admission is $10 (for those wearing clothing).