Comedian, publisher, TV personality, activist and entrepreneur—Ngaio Bealum’s footprint in the cannabis industry is vast and varied. You may be familiar with him from his days hosting Cooking on High. He’s also a comedian who hosts virtual comedy shows every month with guests like Margaret Cho, Doug Benson and Drew Carey.
Bealum is also a regular in the cannabis industry, serving as everything from a weed magazine publisher to the co-host of Cannabis Planet. What we love most about him is all the good he brings to the industry, whether he’s publishing the word on cannabis or serving as MC for a huge cannabis event.
“I feel like my job is to spread the word about the benefits of cannabis and cannabis legalization,” Bealum said. “Education is always better than prohibition, whether I’m talking about it or writing about [it] or even just traveling around and smoking weed while being a good person. I will say that I most enjoy being the MC for a variety of cannabis events. Shout out to the International Cannabis Business Conference, the Emerald Cup and the Seattle Hempfest for showing the world that cannabis is fun, safe and lucrative.”
Bealum: Entertaining on High
Bealum hasn’t let an international pandemic slow down his entertaining of at least slightly high crowds everywhere. Fans can celebrate 4/20 every month of the year with Bealum’s 420 Comedy Extravaganza. Bealum explains: “It’s an online show, so there aren’t any lockdown restrictions at all. You can enjoy a top-notch comedy show in the privacy of your own bong. I produce it on the 20th of every month in conjunction with the Nowhere Comedy Club [nowherecomedyclub.com], and it’s a lot of fun because weed gives you the giggles.”
You don’t have to be a huge stoner to enjoy the set; all adults are welcome to attend. “And the jokes aren’t just about weed,” Bealum added. “We talk about a lot of things. I’ve had Doug Benson, Margaret Cho, Brian Posehn and even Drew Carey once or twice. You don’t even have to be a stoner to enjoy the show, but a little weed couldn’t hurt.”
And while weed might not be the butt of all Bealum’s jokes, it’s definitely something that affects his perspective and approach to comedy. “I definitely have a sort of ‘stoner state of mind’ about most things,” he shared. “The phrase ‘write high, edit sober’ is a good one, although I saw a post on Twitter the other day that said, ‘Sativa for writing, indica for editing,’ and that may be my new approach.
“After being onstage, I really, really, really enjoy hanging out in the parking lot in a giant weed circle and kicking it with the folks that came to see the show. I’m not sure if I’m ready to pass a joint back and forth with a bunch of strangers yet, but we can smoke ‘Berlin style,’ where everyone has their own personal bowl or doobie.”
In addition to his iconic comedy, Bealum is also beloved as a TV personality. He served as the cannabis expert on the competitive cooking show Cooking on High on Netflix, but, alas, Bealum said that a second season of the binge-worthy show is highly unlikely in the future. However, that doesn’t mean you won’t be seeing Bealum as the star of another cannabis series in the future.
“I would love to do another show about weed and food, or weed and sex, or weed and just about anything,” he said. “I’m working on a new web series where I roll (heh) through different towns talking to stoners and stuff about their stuff. Look for it on my YouTube channel.”
Although our dreams of a second season of Cooking on High have been crushed for now, Bealum still let us in on his secret to not getting too high while eating so much weed on the show. “I was very careful!” he said. “We shot four episodes a day, so I made sure just to take a few bites of each dish.
I have definitely been too high on edibles before, but I was at work on the show, so I managed to maintain at least the appearance of being able to handle my drugs. After we would wrap for the day, I would usually lay down on the couch—we had a lot of couches for the judges—or sit in my car for a bit before heading home.”
What could make an already interesting man even more interesting? Juggling, of course. Bealum has won the People’s Choice Award at the International Jugglers’ Association Fest. The way he got into juggling was the way you’d expect from someone so friendly—he made some friends.
“I used to work at Pier 39 in San Francisco, and I would see the street performers making bank, so I decided to become one,” he says. “I am good at making friends, so I introduced myself and asked if they would teach me to juggle. Turns out that jugglers are very friendly and they like to share. I always say that juggling is open-source and magic is proprietary. Also, jugglers usually have really good weed. So I fit right in.”
Bealum has been keeping fans entertained virtually through his comedic endeavors this past year, and he’s an interesting person to follow on the Internet. He’s also humble about his approach. “I don’t know if I’m the one to ask about strategic use of social media for specific things,” he said when asked about his social-media presence. “I just post pics and info and hope for the best.”
Bealum’s followers look past this diffident nature and appreciate following him for his engaging content—anything from live videos to weed. If you want weed content, check his Instagram and Twitter. And if you’d like to get behind the scenes into what’s cooking in his kitchen or the random music he’s creating, follow him on TikTok.
In addition to his monthly comedy shows, you can catch Bealum live in person this summer, as he’s in the process of setting up as many shows as he can. “I plan on being in Berlin for the [International Cannabis Business Conference] in July, and everywhere from Eureka to Nashville to DC,” he says. “I would really like to set up a tour of all the states that have legalized adult cannabis use. Wanna help?”
Bealum leaves us with some wise final thoughts. “As always, have fun, be yourself,” he said. “Follow me on social media [ngaio420 on just about all platforms], and if you see me walking down the street or whatever in your town, don’t be afraid to say ‘high.’”
Read this story originally published in High Times July 2021 Issue in our archive.