Even more impressive was Newberg’s ability to tone down his racy material for the squeaky clean show. Armed with an acoustic guitar, the edgy comic normally sings songs about drunk girls, morning wood, nuns getting raped in the bushes, and a heartfelt ballad about beating up his girlfriend called “Kick You in the Face of Love.”
“Shit or get off the pot is the strangest anti-drug message ever. If the pot actually calls the kettle black, then you are high as fuck,” joked Newberg. Originally from Michigan, this L.A. comic and cannabis user has also been seen on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Last Comic Standing 4, The Sports List on Fox Sports, and Comedy Central’s Premium Blend. His online videos have received well over 7 million views.
Newberg on Funny or Die:
Here, Newberg tells Big Buds about his rock band days in the ’90s and how edibles keep his insomnia at bay.
Big Buds Mag: Talk a bit about the challenge as a comedian of writing PG material appropriate for America’s Got Talent. Was there some sort of censor pre-screening all of your material?
J. Chris Newberg: It was actually quite difficult to water down what I did. I never even considered that at the beginning. That is such a family-friendly show and my act is in no way that. The pre-screening process was producer, executive producer, NBC standards and practices, and legal. I had a great time on the show, but as an artist, that was a drag.
BBM: Before you did comedy, you were the songwriter-guitarist for the alternative rock band Vudu Hippies for 12 years. Talk a bit about that time—performing alongside the Counting Crows, Oasis, and John Mellencamp—and how you initially discovered your flair for comedy. Was it during this time?
Newberg: That was an amazing time in my life. What could be cooler than touring the country with four of your best friends in a van playing music. I learned how to struggle immediately. It was a time when fame was always an earshot away, but reality was you have $29 a week to live on. I loved it. Darkness teaches that sometimes if there is not going to be any light for a while, find your happy place until you can see again. Mine was and still is comedy.
BBM: How does marijuana enhance your comedy or quality of life?
Newberg: Marijuana helps me sleep. I have always had horrible insomnia. In a way, sleep scares me. I don’t want to miss one second of life and when I can’t, it’s marijuana candy or Twinkie time and then it’s lights out. God bless the sleepy green.
BBM: Do you get high before you write? Does it hurt/help/inform your writing?
Newberg: I have never written high. I have written drunk on occasion, and done punch ups that way, but again, it normally knocks me out immediately.
BBM: How do you prefer to consume your marijuana?
Newberg: Edibles. No question.
BBM: Do you have a fun first-time-you-got-high story?
Newberg: The first time I got high was at the Improv like seven years ago. I ate a pot cookie and I was so messed up that I hid in the bathroom until closing. It was hysterical because it was like 8:15 when it kicked in.
BBM: Are you currently a card-carrying medical-marijuana patient?
Newberg: I am not, but I have a really good friend named Alison who works at one, so I get samples up the ying yang. I have no idea what a “ying yang” is, but I guess I have samples up in it.
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