The ability to filter one’s experience into a humorous anecdote for a potentially receptive audience also forces stand-up comedians to hone in on the social zeitgeist and political atmosphere of their era. Such a skill makes the most observant and smart humorists some of the most profound people working since the first joke was told.
Hasan Minhaj, probably best known for his work on The Daily Show, released a stand-up special/ one-person show on Netflix titled Hasan Minhaj: Homecoming King. It is without a doubt one of the most moving and engaging media offerings of 2017. The right joke delivered just the right way, by the exact right talent, can change your views.
All that to say, it makes absolute sense that a comedian would take the audience on a literal head trip. Shane Mauss films himself trying all the psychotropic drugs possible. The results are the documentary Psychonautics: A Comic’s Exploration Of Psychedelics. The movie focuses on one drug at a time, after a brief overview of who Mauss is and his rising status in the world of stand-up. Mauss travels to Kentucky with fungus expert Eric Osborne. Osborne teaches him how to identify and harvest the proper kind of mushrooms, the first drug examined. Paleontologist Michael Garfield explains to the audience that mushrooms were found on the ‘Iceman’; a 5,000-year-old frozen caveman, who was found to be in amazing condition, all things considered. Mauss states that mushrooms change the way he sees the world, it is no longer as confusing. He understands that there is more to life than just the daily grind.
“…Shane Mauss films himself trying all the psychotropic drugs possible. The results are the documentary…”
The history of LSD and its lab-based origins are brought up. MDMA, aka ecstasy, and how it, being illegal, means people taking it are probably getting a knockoff version that is infinitely worse for the consumer. Mauss talks about how the drugs make him view things with wonderment, like when he was a child, something he didn’t know he missed.