Doug Benson is the luckiest man alive. Not only have all of his jobs allowed him to be high all day, his latest gig pretty much mandates that he blazes before, during, and after work. Well, he’s probably not obligated to smoke after work, but one can easily assume that he does so anyway.
This latest gig is The High Court, Benson’s new series premiering Monday night, February 27th on Comedy Central. They’re short shows, 15 minutes each, and the premise is this: one dumbass Joe Shmoe is suing another Joe Shmoe, and unlike their counterparts who go on Judge Judy to have their case decided by someone with actual legal experience, the previously mentioned Joe Schmoes want their case decided by the constantly high Doug Benson.
Full disclosure, I’m a fan of Doug Benson. He’s just a super affable dude. I like watching him chat with other comedians about movies, like in his podcast Doug Loves Movies. I also like watching him get high with other comedians and chat about weed in his YouTube show Getting Doug With High. But I’m sorry to say, The High Court just didn’t do it for me.
A major part of Benson’s appeal is letting him just do his thing, completely unscripted, or at least pretty convincingly so. But The High Court doesn’t allow Doug to be Doug. The show strips Benson of the spontaneity that makes him so likeable. So despite the fact that Benson is on screen for the entire fifteen minutes, it feels like he’s underused.
Allow me to expand. In one episode, one dumb-dumb puts his snake, Mercury, in the bathtub, with the window of the bathroom open, and asks his uncle to watch his snake while he goes out for a bit. His uncle agrees, but informs his nephew that he will, under no circumstances, open the bathroom door to check on the snake. What he is willing to do is sit in his house and drink his liquor, and apparently, this strikes them both as a wise agreement. The snake obviously flees and now, the nephew seeks damages for Mercury’s escape. The case is contentious, with both uncle and nephew screaming somewhat incoherently at one another while a totally blasted Doug makes a couple Dad-esque jokes as guest bailiff Michael Ian Black looks on in what can only be described as a mix between confusion and disgust.
Judge and bailiff retire to chambers where Doug takes a couple giant bong rips while Michael Ian Black abstains. In other episodes, the guest bailiff partakes. Tiffany Haddish, for example, spends the entire post chambers bake sesh laughing uncontrollably in the courtroom. But the episodes in which the bailiffs smoke, don’t contain an inevitable snake escape, so you can see my reasoning for choosing this episode to discuss.
And spoiler alert: the case is ultimately decided by the flip of a coin that the snake shit out at some point. I’m still a bit unclear what Judge Doug rules in this case. In a different episode, Doug doesn’t even give a verdict and advises both plaintiff and defendant to “let it go.” But verdicts aside, I think the real loser here was me. The episodes are only 15 minutes each, but somehow still rough to get through.
My expectations for the series were about as high as Doug always is, so I thought that perhaps I just missed the appeal of The High Court in my first watch. I decided to give it another shot. I got high myself, and watched again. Still not great. So at that point, I gave up.
But I will say that The High Court’s Twitter feed is funny, so at least there’s that. Did you know that before typewriters were invented, stenographers recorded trials by miming typing and screaming “click clack Ka-ching!” Neither did I! But now I do, thanks to that Twitter. Thank you, @TheHighCourt.
Legal Fact #3: before typewriters were invented, stenographers recorded trials by miming typing and screaming “click clack ka-ching!”
— The High Court (@TheHighCourt) February 19, 2017
It is also pretty funny to see someone so goddamn high in a judge’s robe and holding a gavel, and it’s worth checking out for that alone. If Comedy Central goes for a second season, something that might help would be an actual audience in the room, so Benson’s sweet puns and one-liners could get the attention they deserve. They go mostly ignored by the contestants, because the nephew-uncle-snake-escape notwithstanding, the cases are pretty serious and the contestants are really pissed. Maybe if the cases were lighter, or if they were all snake-escape related, the show would be easier to laugh along with. Or maybe the cases should all be weed related! Yes, that makes the most sense. Like, my dealer shorted me and I want my money back! And the weed I’m owed! Or, my roommate ate all my Thai food leftovers while high- I was saving it! I should write for this show.
Anyway, the unfortunate news is that it’s not a fantastic show. But Judge Judy is among, if not the highest paid person on TV, likely because some people really revel in that feeling of superiority you get when you watch people argue over like $100. And to Doug Benson: when I, at age 22, told my parents that my only interest was getting high, they told me it was impossible to forge a career based on only that. But you, Doug Benson, have done that, so suck on that, my parents!
The 15-minute series is set to premiere on Comedy Central on Monday, February 27 at midnight. It will air Mondays-Thursdays at midnight, with two back-to-back episodes on Thursday nights from midnight-12:30am.