Since the dawn of time, mankind has used the universal language of humor to communicate their feelings. From cavemen leaving crude phallus jokes on the side of walls to kings in Europe flatulating during grace, everyone can appreciate a little laughter. Josh Wolf is no stranger to the comedy stage, with over 25-years under his belt spent honing his craft he’s seen the peaks and valleys that have sent other comics back to their day job wondering about what could have been. With multiple podcasts, a YouTube channel, and appearances on countless television shows, it’s difficult to understand how he has time for the comedy circuit—or himself. We caught up with Josh while he was in Connecticut for a string of shows along the East Coast to ask him about his childhood, cannabis use, and his upcoming show High Live that’s airing on High Times TV.
High Times: So first off, we gotta say, you were super funny on My Name Is Earl. What was it like working on that show?
Josh Wolf: Wow you really dig deep! I gotta say, working with Greg Garcia (Creator) is fantastic because he is a genius in so many ways and he knows how to write about people in a way that checks every box. For every character he creates there’s always someone you know personally that you can say, I know that guy. His writing is so good and he doesn’t dumb it down for anyone. There was an episode where I needed to be naked for a scene and I asked him if he wanted me to get a tan because I’m so pale I’m light blue, and he glared at me and said, ‘don’t you dare!’ He just knows the right amount of absurdity a story needs.
Our favorite sitcoms were always in that realm of absurdity, shows like Married With Children helped me develop my sense of humor growing up. Where did your style of comedy come from?
I relate it to my time in med school. You spend four years as an undergrad, figuring out stuff about yourself: what you like, what you hate, and after four years you might say fuck this and go do something completely different. For the first four to five years if you’re not trying on different masks, then you’re not doing it right. I can’t tell you how many times I went on stage and tried things that I was 100 percent sure wasn’t going to work—and I was right—but I could check those off the list. Then eventually you settle-in and realize, ‘Ahh. This is what I’m supposed to do.’
The best example I can give you is that up until a few years ago, I still thought I had to attack certain jokes with this intensity like Bill Burr or Joe Rogan, two guys I really admire. I would try to work that intensity into my stories, and it just wasn’t me—the comedy chooses you. If Bill came out and talked about flowers you’d be like, ‘who the fuck is this guy?’ I fought it for years and years because I wanted to be a comic’s comic. But my audience comes to see me, and I’m the silly man. The biggest compliment that someone can give me in a meet and greet is that they had fun, that’s what I’m all about. I only do things I have fun doing. That’s it. That’s my brand.
Do you think that attitude comes from being comfortable with yourself at a certain age? I know you’re a grandfather now.
Yeah, man. I’ve got four [grandchildren] now, and I think it really comes with being comfortable in your own skin, it’s all about personal belief and knowing who you are. We both know people that walk into a room and they just have this aura around them where you can’t stop looking. Those are the people that are the most comfortable with themselves because there’s a certain confidence you get when you say, ‘fuck it, this is me.’
What do you hope to achieve with this new venture on High Times TV?
I love doing my High Live. Number one, it is the coolest, most chill, hang you will ever have. The people on my show are the coolest people on the internet. We’ve had people meet on the show and hang out in real life. Every now and then we get an asshole and they’ll bombard that person and kick them out—[the show] polices itself. It’s a weird social experiment. You get to see someone go from totally sober to ‘that person shouldn’t drive home’ over the course of an hour.
For the first fifteen minutes, I talk about the weed and there are people who just tune in for that. Then from the fifteen to forty-five-minute mark that’s where you see me at my most high. I’m interactive, I’m chatty, I’m laughing, and playing the guitar. I bring out gags like the smoking baby hand. Then the last part of the show is a disaster. The edibles hit, I’ve smoked two joints and some people just tune in for that. I say it all the time, but it’s literally my favorite hour of the week and it’s really helped my stand up immensely.
Speaking of that, do you use cannabis while performing?
I never get high and go out and do a show. I eat edibles before my late show, but it’s different for the early show. I don’t want someone to come out and think ‘I didn’t come here to see someone get high.’ So I tell people all the time that if this bothers you—I understand. You’re not a hostage, if you wanna get up and go it’s not gonna hurt my feelings. But about forty-five minutes in I’m going to get high, the show may run longer but I’m loose and it’s fun. I’ve developed some of my favorite bits during these times and gone down paths I never would have gone if I would have been sober. So those late shows on Friday and Saturday allow me to dig a little bit deeper and the High Live has given me the confidence to do that.
When did you first start using cannabis?
I was about 14-years-old, this was back when you could smoke a whole joint and all you would get is a headache—it’s not like the stuff we have now. But I was getting it from this guy and he had me convinced that the more seeds your bag had, the better the quality because you could plant them and you’d get more. So I remember I fell for that for a couple of months until I told my brother, and showed him a bag that’s two fingers of seeds and one finger of little buds. I thought I was going to be rich and he was laughing like, ‘you’re so dumb, what’re gonna do with that? Plant it in moms garden? What’s your endgame here?’
But I didn’t smoke much in college and for a while, I was a single dad. During that time I didn’t smoke because I didn’t have a backup or a partner just in case shit went down. I didn’t think with me being the only parent that getting high was the right thing to do at that point. But, as soon as I got together with my wife she asked me, ‘do you always smoke so much?’ because I made up for lost time.
I only smoke during High Live. Other than that I only eat edibles. Before High Live starts, I’ll eat a 150mg Cheeba Chew and I’ll smoke some kind of sativa. I really like Maui’s and Durban Poison–something that really gets the creativity going. Then at the end of the show I like to smoke a heavier Indica, I’ve been really into Bruce Banner.
Catch Josh Wolf every Monday on High Times TV with his show, High Live. You can also listen to his podcast Prinze and the Wolf, which airs weekly and features America’s sweetheart, Freddie Prinze Jr.