Published May 06, 2019Conventional wisdom posits that weed encourages creativity, while stifling productivity. You might get some great ideas while high, but you're not about to get off the couch and do anything about it. Mike Rita's Pot Comic debunks that theory. He's smoked a lot of weed, which forms the basis for the album, but he's also put together a solid hour of jokes, crowd work and storytelling borne of true dedication and hard work.
Full disclosure: I may not be Mike Rita's ideal audience, insofar as I'm not much of a pot smoker. Certain references fly over my head. But Rita takes pains to ensure specific stories about his experiences with pot, drinking and Portuguese parents feel relatable. Plus, there's an "everybody's buddy" vibe to this guy that is inherently charming. Whether he's laughing over his own jokes or repeating certain premises, he's having a great time and you don't want to harsh that buzz.
"Ever smoke [weed] as a teenager?" Rita asks the crowd. "Yeah it fucks up your brain, but those are great years." Observations like these form much of Pot Comic. Rita talks about teenage smoking, smoking and driving, Canada's recent legalization, and the pushback he encounters from his family. None of the material pushes any real boundaries, though. He alludes to the fact that he has tried other drugs and at one point vaguely references "cleaning up [his] act" but keeping that close to the vest seems like a missed opportunity.
Rita gets high onstage in real time (at one point "doing a dab," which I believe refers to "taking a hit" and not the dance craze of the same name), but momentum seems to falter as a result. At one point, just after said "dab," he observes, "This album gets less funny as it goes." A mostly silent audience seems to agree. At least until his final act.
Just when the premise seems exhausted, Rita tells a sweet story of his mother's experience with CBD oil as a cancer patient. It is heartfelt and moving, but imbued with the same joyful, silly energy from the rest of the record. This is his strongest material and makes up for other jokes in the album that don't quite land. You might not have Portuguese parents, a history with drugs or the perfect stoner laugh, but don't let that keep you from this funny, engaging hour. (Independent)