Published Jun 23, 2016Exclaim! is reviewing every standup comedy special currently available on Netflix Canada, including this one. You can find a complete list of reviews so far here.
When I first turned on Doug Dynasty — Doug Benson's "first" standup special, not counting his myriad albums consisting of his ongoing 4/20 shows — I was shocked by the poor quality of the recording. After fiddling with the wiring and attempting to adjust the picture on my TV, I realized that I had forgotten to put my glasses on in my hazy pre-show preparation. Even though Benson's eyes were lower than mine, that's when I knew I was I ready for Doug Dynasty. Being as hazy as this — or as Benson — is not necessary for enjoying this, but it certainly helps.
Don't be fooled by this sleepy looking man, his bits of paper or his reading of tweets from audience members, Doug Benson is a top-notch joke writer who delivers with the confident ease of the coolest stoner. The reading of tweets (Benson calls it "futuristic crowd work") is a perfect example of a gimmick that seems like it was concocted by a lazy stoner, but is actually the work of an incredibly clever stoner who found an easy, modern way to get the audience involved in the show without having to worry about people talking out loud. It's kind of ingenious and gives Benson a chance to display both his affability and superbly quick wit.
The darkness and deep self-exploration that seem to be so in vogue these days isn't where Benson dwells. Bane, yes the Batman villain, may have be comfortable in the shadows, but Benson bathes in the light. His impressions of the aforementioned Batman villain and the terrifying Buffalo Bill (Silence of the Lambs) throw both sinister characters into delightfully bizarre yet sunny places. A bit about his attempts to go sober for one month each year, then trying to claim a year of sobriety after 12 is a gem that gently pets the surface of addiction's darkness.
If the smiley, kind of rambly guy at the party is someone you get along with, this is for you, no matter your level of highness. If you prefer the more high-strung, yelling sorts of people, you might want to skip Doug Dynasty.