My flight leaves in about 12 hours and the anxiety I usually feel starts to set in. I’m not nervous about the flight at all; at this point, after doing comedy for a decade, I’ve gotten used to flying. No, I’m nervous because I’m a stoner doing 10 shows in five cities in North and South Carolina. Let’s just say, North and South Carolina aren’t the most weed-friendly places in America.
I’m nervous about what clothes to pack, so I pack my Proxy instead and take a fat rip, knowing it’s going to be 14 days before I can take a proper dab again. Usually, my go-to travel setup is edibles, a couple of rosin vape pens, my Peak Pro, and a few grams of that good good.
Weed is currently decriminalized in North Carolina, so it’s like a $200 fine, but I think it’s still a pretty harsh penalty for concentrates. I also don’t want to be that guy on tour that has to be bailed out. It’s been 4 years since I’ve toured the Carolinas opening for Pauly Shore. It’s when I learned that the vape pens were hardcore felonies, or at least that’s what the TSA agent told me on my flight back to California. Unbeknownst to that agent, I had just handed him my fanny pack full of weed cartridges. I was pouring bullets of sweat when they pulled me aside after going through the X-ray. They were wondering if I could introduce them to Pauly Shore.
Everyone loves Pauly Shore but in the Bible Belt, he is like Redneck Jesus.
I decided to stick with some gummies and real deal resin vapes, a gift from a holy-man. I look at my suitcase one more time and remember what my very Mexican mother said the last time I went to North Carolina: “Wear lots of tie dye because it makes you look less threatening, and do not go back to anyone’s house after the shows. You go straight to the hotel.” She has nothing to worry about as long as I don’t run out of weed.
I like to think of my comedy as kind of a tightrope act. Pauly’s audiences are fucking amazing and he sells out wherever we go. Regardless of whatever level you’re at, opening for Pauly is part of growing as a comedian and it’s fun. Driving city to city, It’s like a dysfunctional family road trip but with more laughs. The show is me opening for 25 minutes, Jessie Johnson getting the sweet spot featuring for 25 minutes, and Pauly closing it out.
The first venue was Good Nights Comedy Club in Raleigh. It’s a beautiful red brick building; so much history in this club. Sadly, they are tearing it down and moving to another spot.
I always get introduced to the Comedy Club’s resident stoner, this time it was one of the cooks. He kept asking me if I wanted to hit his contraption he calls the “Blinky”. It’s a homemade bong he kept in his car cup holder. Another employee hit my rosin pen and had a come-to-Jesus moment.
Only one show gave me trouble and that’s because, from what I understand, Raleigh is kind of a liberal city in North Carolina. The people that give me trouble when it comes to my comedy are pearl-clutchers, which could be either side of the aisle; gun rights activists who want to give teachers guns, and people who hate the word “privileged.”
I love driving through the Carolinas, but there’s nothing more breathtaking than seeing a Steak ‘n Shake sign the same exit as your hotel. Unfortunately, because it’s fucking Greensboro and it’s a Monday night, everything shuts down at like 10 PM. I’m staring through the Steak ‘n Shake window absolutely devastated that I can’t get a Nutella milkshake. The whole time Jessie and Pauly are laughing in the back of the car. I give my pen a long rip and drive us to the hotel defeated.
The second we get to the hotel, Jessie is listening to her set and in her notebook. I, on the other hand, am covering the smoke detector with the bag you get from the ice bucket. Priorities.
The Greensboro Comedy Zone is family-owned and its green room is attached directly to the kitchen. You’ll be getting ready for the show, going over your notes, as they drop a fresh bag of mozzarella sticks. You can smell the french fries while you memorize punchlines.
I thought Greensboro was going to give me the most trouble and it ended up being my favorite show of the trip. Not because I did well but because I got to watch people not like my comedy. I have a joke about being in an interracial relationship, all the minorities that were in the audience laughed. A good amount of white people laughed as well, but there are always one or two couples that just stare at me, looking at me disapprovingly with their arms crossed. That shit’s my favorite.
As we pull in, I take inventory. I’ve got one full pen and I’ve killed the edibles. I find an ABX pen from an earlier trip to Mexico. Which means I went through their security and they didn’t notice. I count my blessings.
The Charlotte Comedy Zone is beautifully built. Colosseum-style seating and the stage is much higher than the audience below you but rises the farther back you go. Pauly’s got this room sold out and every joke you can feel gets longer because of the laughs.
This crowd is an interesting mix. I see some 1776 shirts, thin blue line hoodies and those guys did not shake my hand or want to take pictures with me after the show. After my school shooting joke, a few people tightened up and I called them snowflakes. It felt like I was in California for a second; it immediately gets them back. We leave that night and drive to Greenville for a show day and a day off.
We stay in Greenville for two days. The show is on a Thursday and it sold out so fast they had to add a second show. I am officially out of weed. The homie Fumed Glass pulls up and graces us with some beautiful glass pieces and pendants. Explaining to Pauly Shore what a pendant is was very entertaining.
After the shows, people occasionally hand me goodies, usually their best homegrown stuff which is hit or miss. When we get back to the hotel, I ask the valet where’s the best place to smoke weed. He tells me he’s actually the owner of the valet company and that the best place to smoke is the little smoking area where the employees smoke. He tells me the manager of the hotel is gone for the night so I am pretty much free to just blaze up. Love when stoners help each other out.
Asheville is a cute little town with amazing barbecue. The venue where we’re doing the show is in the next town over in Black Mountain at a place called Silverado’s.
A man in a cowboy hat informs me it used to be an outlaw biker bar and now it’s a country music venue. The show is outside on a rock stage and it’s a full crowd. The show is sponsored by a delta-9/CBD company.
North Carolina has these weird laws where somehow delta-9 and delta-8 slipped through the cracks. They won’t legalize weed, but they’ll try to figure some other weird shit out.
Someone hands me a joint and informs me I’m smoking delta-9 Cookies. It’s one of those joints where I can’t really tell if I’m stoned or not.
I start talking with the owner’s brother about doing concentrates and he says, “Yeah man, I have dabs in my car if you want to try some.” He pulls out a Huni Badger and a gram of what I can only describe as some home grown concentrates. It had sticks and twigs in it and surprisingly didn’t taste that bad.
After my set a fan wants to smoke weed with me before I leave and he says, “Yeah, I own this place. I’m also running for sheriff!” I immediately start laughing. Someone hands me an edible and says “It’s pretty good man, trust me!”
Usually I’m a little bit more wary about the things people hand me when it comes to edibles because you never know. We go to a bar afterwards to celebrate the end of the 10-day tour. We reflect on the trip, life, and comedy.
Then everything I took hits me. All of a sudden, my face starts to get hot and my hands get really sweaty. I feel really high and not normal. I start to get a little panicky and my limbs feel like they are disconnected from my body. My face starts to feel prickly.
I text my homie who is in the industry and ask, “Hey man, I think I got delta-9 or delta-8 or some shit.” I recap my whole night and he goes, “Yeah, just take it easy drink some water and take some CBD if you need it. I wouldn’t really worry about the edible.” A wave of relief washed over me.
“What I’d really be worried about is whatever else he smokes outta that Huni Badger.”
We make it back to the hotel, I murder the snack bar and I pass out in a pile of chips.
After a long flight back to Los Angeles I get picked up from the airport and I’m greeted with a packed Puffco and the sweet deliciousness of some California rosin. As we head back home to Hollywood I think, I can’t wait to go back on the road.