By Ben Adlin
It’s hard not to start a story about Brandon Wardell like everyone else does: by pointing out how young he looks. The now 23-year-old comic has been known to show up onstage in a backpack. Just look at his picture.
Don’t let his boyish looks fool you, though. Vice may have quipped that Wardell looked 14 when he was actually 22, but now, at 23, he’s getting ready to host a pilot on the company’s fledgling TV network, Viceland. He’s toured and made an album with comedy legend Bob Odenkirk, and he’s even written a “Guide to Sex with Millennials” (but please, read this interview before you get wrapped up in that).
Want to see Wardell in person? It’s easier (and free-er!) than you think. He’ll be among the comics at the Leafly Comedy Tour’s L.A. show on Saturday. Tickets cost nothing — all you have to do is RSVP.
Leafly reached Wardell in a Los Angeles loft, where he was holed up working on the Viceland pilot, dubbed Rap Nerd. He talked to us about his upcoming projects, L.A. apartment envy, and cannabis. But mostly cannabis. Here’s an edited transcript of the conversation:
Leafly: You, sir, are a busy man. Where’d we catch you?
Brandon Wardell: I am at this loft I’m staying at. I’m working on this Viceland pilot, and Vice rented an Airbnb for us to do work at. The Vice office is in Venice and I live in Hancock Park, so they were like, “Oh, we’ll rent an Airbnb for you guys to write at.” And when I got here, I was like, “Oh, this is amazing!” This is so much better than any place I’ve lived at. This is the first place where I’ve, like, taken a girl back and not been like, “Oh, sorry.”
As soon as I got here I was like, “I have to sleep here as long as I can.”
So I’m in my makeshift office-slash-bedroom right now. I want to stay here as long as possible. Now that I’ve lived in a loft for a week and a half, I can’t go back.
What can you tell us about the Vice pilot? And what else on your plate right now besides standup?
My Vice show, that should come out in March. It’s called Rap Nerd, and it’s me FaceTiming with rappers. It’s going to be super fun. And then I have this Comedy Central Snapchat show every week, and it’s called Hot Takes. Those are the two things that are taking up most— I mean, the Vice show takes a lot of time. The Comedy Central Snapchat thing, we’ll film like five episodes before lunch. And I’m doing Getting Doug.
Oh, nice! Some of the other comedians on the Leafly tour, like Natasha Leggero and Michael Ian Black, have been on Doug’s show, too. Are you a cannabis fan in general?
I smoke a fair amount of weed. I never got into, like, weed culture or anything, but I like weed.
Just to wind down at the end of the day, something like that?
Yeah exactly. I can work while high, but for the most part I like to have like an indica at the end of the day.
And had you heard of Leafly before the Comedy Tour?
I had! You have a great marketing team. There’s billboards in L.A. I’ve used it before. It’s a great app, a great website.
I know you’re in L.A. now, but you have roots in Seattle. Did you feel any kind of pride seeing Washington state become one of the first to legalize?
Yeah, absolutely! I don’t have a [medical] card here in California, so I was very excited about that. The last time I was there, I was on tour with Bob Odenkirk, and I needed to pick up an edible before my flight. I just literally drove to the weed store and then just showed my ID and walked out. It was like, “This is crazy.”
Oh, that’s another thing: Usually when I’m on flights I like to have an edible if it’s a flight longer than 3 hours. That’s very necessary.
When you’re performing for a cannabis-friendly crowd, does that change the feel of the show at all?
My friend, Andy Haynes, he ran a show called Midnight Run, where everybody would get high before they performed. And then he sort of gave me the show, and I’ll do it occasionally at festivals or whatever. And yeah, I think the crowd is maybe more accepting, I think they’re more open to hearing you out. You’re all in the same state. If the whole crowd is high, and you’re high, there’s a mutual understanding: “If I’m rambling a little bit, you guys are still going to stay on board. Because you get it.”
There are a lot of strange strain names: Alaska Thunder Fuck, Cat Piss, Super Cat Piss. If someone said, “Brandon, we just came up with this new strain,” what would you call it?
Like a new strain of weed? How about “Michael Ian Black.”
And how would you consume it?
I’d just go high-school gravity bong.
Intense. OK, last question, and it’s a toughie: Can you send us off with a haiku? That’s 5-7-5.
Oh, man, that’s so much pressure. I could email you a haiku.
[Note: Wardell never emailed the promised haiku. So here’s a recent tweet of his instead. Eat your hearts out.]
when u get too doug w high pic.twitter.com/frFRNSdWrI
— BRANDON WARDELL (@BRANDONWARDELL) February 22, 2016
To continue reading this story, visit our friend’s website (opens in a new window):: Cannabis Crackup: A Q&A with Leafly Comedy Tour Performer Brandon Wardell