Sure, you can giggle at the fluorescent, Ecstasy-influenced ensembles that sweep the Beach during Winter Music Conference. And you probably secretly snickered at the snooty truffle-oil-and-saffron sect with their fancy palates and out-of-state license plates as they threw down ridiculous amounts of cash during the South Beach Wine & Food Festival last week. But if you want a good, genuine gut-buster that doesn't involve food bloat or a disagreeable magic mushroom, catch the sixth annual South Beach Comedy Festival this week.
As usual, Comedy Central will return as the LOL-palooza's national media partner, bringing with it big acts such as Doug Benson, Adam Carolla, and Wanda Sykes. We caught up with all three (which was surprisingly hard — Benson's pretty fast for a stoner) and chatted about pot, stupid Hawaiians, and why girls who hang out on street corners aren't necessarily hookers.
First up was Benson, armed with his signature beard (no, not a starlet pretending to be his girlfriend, actual face follicles) and a raunchy sense of humor. You've seen Benson in Best Week Ever, the fifth season of NBC's Last Comic Standing, the pro-marijuana documentary Super High Me, and sitting on a throne as one hysterical asshole in The Benson Interruption.
South Beach Comedy Festival
Doug Benson: 7:30 and 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 2, at Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-0674-1040. Tickets cost $35.70. Adam Carolla: 8 p.m. Thursday, March 3, at Colony Theatre, 1040 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach; 305-0674-1040. Tickets cost $45.45. Wanda Sykes: 8 p.m. Friday, March 4, at the Fillmore Miami Beach, 1700 Washington Ave., Miami Beach; 305-673-7300. Tickets cost $61.45-83.25.
New Times: If you could interrupt anyone at any time, who would it be, and when would you want to interrupt them?
Doug Benson: I guess it would've been cool to interrupt Kanye while he was interrupting Taylor, which is what her boyfriend — who was standing right there — should've done but didn't. Stupid werewolf. No wonder she broke up with him.
The Benson Interruption is based on a long-running live stage show you did in L.A. Where did you come up with the idea?
I'd be in the back of the comedy club, waiting to go on, cracking jokes about what the comics were saying. So I thought, Why not do that on stage, into a microphone while the comics are doing their acts? Not to be rude, just to make it funnier.
Since you love movies, what movie released in 2010 do you think the Academy snubbed?
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World should've gotten some nominations. And Kick-Ass. But I guess those kinds of movies aren't award-bait, like movies about kings and speeches and Facebook.
Would you rather time-travel in a phone booth or a DeLorean? And to where would you time travel and why?
I'd go with the booth, because there is no time period in history when a DeLorean wouldn't stick out like a sore DeLorean. I'd go back to the weekend Scott Pilgrim opened in theaters and try to convince more people to see it. Or just go a few years into the future and hope weed is legal by then.
If you could be any Disney princess, who would you be and why?
Milan, because she fights like a boy.
What three words come to mind when you think of Miami? Why?
Crockett, Tubbs, and Elvis. Because I love TV almost as much as movies.
Next up is Adam Carolla, who was the Pinky to Dr. Drew's Brain on Loveline, drunkenly watched girls bounce on trampolines with Jimmy Kimmel on The Man Show, and is the voice of The Adam Carolla Show.
New Times: Being that you worked closely with Dr. Drew for many years on Loveline, how do you feel about a show like Celebrity Rehab?
Adam Carolla: To me, it's one of these things like if somebody says, "We can get this person some help, but we're going to exploit them in the process of doing it." To me it's kind of, like, I don't give a shit — if you're getting them help, you're getting them help... With Drew, people are always questioning where he's coming from: If he just wants the money, or he's exploiting people. And it's like, look, a couple of people get cured, and a couple hundred people watch and think, You know what? I'm going to start this dialog with my kid now, or, Jesus Christ, I don't want to end up like that.
Is there anyone in particular you think should be on Celebrity Rehab?
Ha! Me, maybe next season. Or four, five seasons from now. I have twins, almost 5 years old, that can drive me insane. I don't need to dry out, just chill out. I'll be the guy laying low on the couch with a beer-cozy. It'd be like, "Hey Adam, is that a Michelob in your hand?" And I'd be like, "Oh, no, it's cool. I'm just watching the game... We have a barbecue today? OK, cool, I think I can do that."
What's bugging you nowadays?
I'm being driven nuts by insane people who don't know how to argue and the fact that everyone's feelings need to be considered. Like, it would be impossible to build the Golden Gate Bridge nowadays, because first we'd have to discuss it for ten years. There'd be all these environment-impact reports and all these different groups that are against building it, and it would just never get done. It'd just be a decade of I have an opinion, and it's wrong, but it's different from yours, so we have to discuss it. Some people should just shut up and let the experts do the driving.
Why were you banned from Hawaii?
On my show I said, "Name me one great Hawaiian inventor. Look around the house, find me the light bulb, the automobile, or the toaster, and tell me what great Hawaiian invented it." And no one could come up with an answer. I was resting my case, which is there's differences in people and differences in cultures. Sometimes it's math skills and sometimes it's vertical leap and sometimes it's putting a pig in the ground. And my job, as a commentator on life, is to find those differences and point them out. And it's not to say that the guy who's good in math is better than the guy who puts the pig in the ground, I'm just here to tell you they're different. You can decide which one's better or worse — and [as] a matter of fact, I'd rather be the guy who puts the pig in the ground than the guy crunching numbers; the guy with the pig is enjoying himself more. And yes, I did call Hawaiians stupid on my radio show, but people should try to do three, four hours of radio a day unscripted... But, really, if your kid has a bad heart valve, and they need surgery, and you've got a Japanese doctor, an Indian doctor, a Jewish doctor, or a Hawaiian doctor, which one are you picking? Then explain to me why.
Finally, we spoke to Wanda Sykes, whom you've certainly seen everywhere — Curb Your Enthusiasm, Almighty, The New Adventures of Old Christine, and, in her most brilliant role to date as Biggie Shortie, Pootie Tang.
New Times: One of the funniest and most under-appreciated movies in which you've acted is Pootie Tang — [Wanda girlishly giggles] — which stemmed from a Chris Rock Show sketch. What was the inspiration behind your character, Biggie Shortie, the feisty streetwalker who utters the hilarious line, "Just 'cause a girl like to dress fancy and stand on the street corner near some whores, you automatically think she's hookin'?"
Wanda Sykes: That whole movie was from the mind of Louis C.K. Louie came up with the character Pootie Tang — that was his whole crazy world. He wrote the movie and came to me and said, "Listen, this is what I want you to play. You're not a hooker. You're not a prostitute. You just like to hang out with them and kind of dress like them, but you're more of a party promoter-type person." And I was like, "Oh, OK, this will be fun." And yeah, I just went with it. We all kind of did.
You lead a pretty normal life with your partner Alex and your kids. With all the fuss over same-sex marriages, do you think there's that much of a difference between two women being married as opposed to a man and a woman being married?
Nah, it's all the same shit. It's the same problems. In every relationship, there's always one person that thinks you're having enough sex, and there's always the other person who'd like to have a lot more sex. And that's basically what all marriages boil down to: One always thinks you should be fucking a whole lot more.
What's your take on racial profiling?
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Everyone does it, and it's wrong, and I understand it, but it's still wrong. I mean, just because there's a type of people that has done some evil shit, blown up some stuff, you kind of go, All right...OK? But it's wrong to identify a whole group as evil people who blow up things. I mean, I do it. When I see hillbillies, I run the other way. I mean, I'm sure there's nice hillbillies, but they scare the shit out of me. So, we're all guilty of it. To me, if my car broke down, and a hillbilly pulled up, and somebody who appeared to be of Muslim faith pulled up, I'm getting in the car with the terrorist.
If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
Well, right now with the kids, I guess it would be speed. Or the ability to fly. Yeah, I would love to fly.