Doug Benson's podcast, Doug Loves Movies, has gained a considerable audience in the seven years since it started. One that knows all his inside jokes, catchphrases, and recurring bits. His live taping at Hyena's on Saturday afternoon was visual proof as the comedy club filled with superfans, many holding up nametags and posters with DLM jokes written on them. The dedicated followers erupted into whoops of ecstasy when the theme music was cued and Benson took the stage.
As someone who is not a superfan, it was interesting to see the ironclad devotion to someone's favorite show, especially when every comedian has a podcast now. The episodes are typically filled out by three comedians, including regulars like Paul F. Tompkins and his trusty Werner Herzog impression, and the hyperactive Pete Holmes, whom Benson often openly feigns disdain for. Benson's skill is that he lets the comedians riff, then swiftly reins it in when it's time, or if a joke has run its course. He often gets the "stoner" tag - one that he's embraced, and even built a brand around - but he's quick with an insult or segue. It never feels like a circus, even when the subject matter gets absurd.
His panel on Saturday included Rachel Feinstein, Dustin Ybarra and Chris Cubas, riffing on segments like "How much money did this shit make?," in which each comedian had to guess the net worth of the Mel Gibson rom com, What Women Want. (Google it, the figure is depressing.) The Austin-based Cubas was the most exciting presence of the afternoon, especially when he got razzed for admitting he watched a Woody Allen movie. Doug Loves Movies is also beneficial for the VHS gems it uncovers: An audience member brought a copy of the 1994 home safety tutorial, Home Safe, featuring Martin Short, perhaps the result of some sort of community service.
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Throughout the taping, Benson was read his Twitter followers' recommendations, which contributed to this feeling of inclusiveness. The final segment was the Leonard Maltin game, a Name That Tune-style puzzler in which panelists have to guess a movie Maltin reviewed by cast names alone. Cubas won, but it was also amusing to see the audience try to hold back an answer they....just...knew.