When Mitch Burrow smokes weed and tells jokes in “The Dope Show,” he’s not having stoned fun. He’s suffering for your enjoyment.
“It is absolutely the worst experience you can ever imagine,” said the Los Angeles comedian. “I’m not a weed guy. I freeze up. I get confused. I get scared. It’s the worst experience for me, but the crowd loves it. It’s fun to watch us fall apart.”
Burrow is one of five comedians who will get stoned for “The Dope Show” on April 20 at the Historic Everett Theatre. It’s the second consecutive year the marijuana-friendly event is coming to Everett on the holiest of holy days for stoners (4-20 is slang for consuming cannabis).
About 600 people attended last year’s show, said Tyler Smith, who founded “The Dope Show” in 2016.
“The idea of the show is hilarious — it really brings in crowds,” said the Seattle comedian. “We get to showcase some really, really amazing talent that most people haven’t heard of, but should be in front of big crowds.”
Here’s how it works: The comedians — Burrow, Smith, Jake Silberman from Portland, Oregon, and two secret headliners — will each perform sober for about 15 minutes, take a quick break to smoke up, then return to the stage and perform high.
They’re all experienced comics, but Smith is the only self-proclaimed stoner. Call it cruel or funny; Smith just wants The Dope Show to be as laugh-out-loud as possible. “It’s more unpredictable if they don’t smoke,” he said.
Burrow, 38, has shared the stage with some of the biggest names in comedy since becoming a full-time comedian 12 years ago, including Joe Rogan, Ali Wong and Chris D’Elia. But no matter how much experience Burrow has, he says nothing can prepare him for the moment he steps on stage high as a kite.
“I feel like I forget every joke I’ve ever written,” Burrow said. “It absolutely feels much longer than five minutes. It’s like the space-time continuum is broken.”
Smith, 34, has been in comedy for 10 years — and a marijuana smoker for longer. He started “The Dope Show” three years ago in small comedy clubs around the Pacific Northwest that allowed comedians to smoke nearby, then expanded to theaters and festivals, including North Hollywood Comedy Festival and The Highlarious Comedy Festival in Seattle.
“The Dope Show” has made it as far north as Alberta, Canada, a province where marijuana is legal, while it’s also made appearances in California and Oregon. A show in Michigan, the latest state to legalize weed, is scheduled for this year, while events in Maryland and Vermont also are in the works.
The show draws crowds ranging from old hippies to millennials — many of whom are coming out of the cannabis closet.
“You have people who have been keeping it a secret for decades, and they’re excited they can finally talk about it,” Smith said. “It’s like the stigma is going away.”
Evan Thompson: 425-339-3427, email@example.com. Twitter: @ByEvanThompson.
If you go
“The Dope Show” is at 8 p.m. April 20 at the Historic Everett Theatre, 2911 Colby Ave., Everett. Tickets are $20-$25. The event is for ages 21 and up. Call 425-258-6766 or go to www.historiceveretttheatre.org for more information.