Abuse Your Illusion: Ari Shaffir’s Edgy Comedy

In an industry full of half-funny stand-ups pining for TV gigs and a movie deal, Ari Shaffir is a workman comedian who prefers gigs at clubs. When asked what his next project is,Shaffir chuckles. “It’s like asking LeBron James what he’s going to do next—he’s going to play basketball.”

Blunt and unapologetic, Shaffir’s laconic delivery shines in Netflix’s two separate comedy specials Double Negative: Adulthood & Children. HIGH TIMES caught up with Shaffir to ask what sparked him to create this Use Your Illusion of stand-up comedy.

HT: Under what circumstances could you consider having children?

AS: I mean, they’re awful. People are less happy with children. There’s scientific studies. So no, I don’t really have a desire for—what am I going to have the desire to have a kid when I’m 70?

Well, you could Tony Randall it.

Do you have kids?

No, I don’t, and I’m the same as you. I’m too busy. I’ve got things to do –

Fun things to do. Living for your life.

Go to Japan –

Catch up on Netflix –

And you can’t do those things if you have a kid. You have to explain to them why a tree is there.

When you smoke weed you don’t have fuckin’ to make up an excuse to go into the garage. You just light up a bowl. Like a fucking man.

So what’s the highest you have been, and where?

I have been very high a lot of times. But I used to go to UFC and take some Los Gummi Hermanos. And me and Joey would get so fucking jacked out where we couldn’t even tell what was happening. You couldn’t tell who was winning the fight. “When did this fight start? I thought it was the other guy. It thought it was the black guy and the Mexican. And these are two white guys.” I remember telling myself to keep my mouth closed. “No one knows, keep your mouth closed.” And not talking to anybody, just nodding to them.

So Netflix said, “You can do whatever you want.” Why did you choose to split Double Negative into Adulthood and Children?

I started seeing these two different themes. I was listening to a lot of Smashing Pumpkins at the time. I was like, not trying to hate them anymore? Because I saw them live in Columbus and they were so bad. It was just Billy Corgan. He sucked so bad. So I spent about two years hating Smashing Pumpkins. And then I was like, “No, remember when you used to like them in college? They were a good band.” So I went back and tried to remember the good times. And then I started listening to a lot of Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness—that double album. I started thinking about the double album idea. And I realized that this material I had was really split with between stuff about kids—about Tinder dates and abortion—and then real adult-type material.

Double Negative: Adulthood & Children premiered today on Netflix. Watch it now.

Keep up with all HIGH TIMES’ culture coverage here.


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