Comedian Jon Gabrus lives by a simple credo: when in Rome, get stoned. Gregarious, fast-talking, and unrelentingly hilarious, the Long Island native has built an impressive, THC-assisted career in Los Angeles as an improviser and actor.
Earlier this year, his High and Mighty podcast hit a milestone with its 420th episode, while Gabrus has appeared on-screen in series like TruTV’s 101 Places to Party Before You Die, MTV2’s Guy Code, and TVLand’s Younger.
But whether he’s hosting a weekend travel TV series with his best friend or sitting in on the Comedy Bang! Bang! podcast as his long-running character, Intern Gino Lombardo, a central theme of the work Gabrus does is that it’s dually powered by both cannabis and an insatiable curiosity to know more about everything.
“I consider myself a professional conversationalist,” Gabrus shared during a recent Zoom call. “Talking into a mic is a huge part of my life, whether it’s stage performance or podcasting, and both go hand in hand for me with a little cannabis.”
To see this practice in action, simply watch an episode of the series he recently shot with his bestie, Adam Pally. Over the course of eight episodes, 101 Ways to Party Before You Die exemplifies the type of organic, free-form conversational comedy that could be considered Gabrus’ sweet spot.
“We kinda brought podcast energy to the show,” Gabrus said. “It’s like extended conversations, and since we’re stoners, they go off topic. We’re eating ice cream in Denver talking about Liam Neeson pissing his pants. You just forget the cameras are there because it’s a dude you’ve been getting high with for 20 years. It just comes naturally.”
Building on that idea, Gabrus also shared that he feels cannabis can be a great conduit for inducing curiosity.
“I’ve always lived by a ‘when in Rome’ attitude,” he explained. “I’m always game to play along, and if I have some anxiety, cannabis can help me back that down a little bit and allow me to be a little more present. It’s performance enhancing for other people for me to be on cannabis.”
To bring that point home, Gabrus recently partnered with PAX to produce a limited-edition collection of customized Era vape pens.
Featuring illustrations by Gabrus’ college rugby pal, artist Matt Braun, the design’s iconography includes a bevy of beloved stoner pairings, including pizza, a video game controller, a sword, and the ubiquitous inclusion of the High and Mighty host’s unofficial mascot: his Boston Terrier, Arthur. Together, they still only represent a sliver of what Gabrus admits is a bit of a false premise when it comes to listing things that go well with weed.
“The real joke is that just about everything pairs well with it,” he said.
For Gabrus, that includes digging into a good book when he’s stoned, though he cautions such an experience is best categorized as a “level 20 stoner activity” likely not suitable for newbies.
“But the good thing,” he adds, “is there are always graphic novels for when you go too far.”
Reflecting on the curiosity that’s powered much of his work to date, Gabrus credits cannabis with helping him to take a genuine interest in whatever the topic or opportunity in front of him may be.
“If someone is really, really interested in something, then I can get myself in a place where I want to hear about it,” he said. “It’s just fun to talk to someone passionate about something and, in my book, whatever that thing or subject is, hardly matters. If I meet someone who’s like, ‘Bro, I fucking love yarn,’ I’m like, ‘Yo, hit me with it.’ I’m curious whenever anyone is super into something, unless, of course, it’s like antisemitism or QAnon or some shit. But if they’re really into something, I want to sit down and hear from them.”
This article first appeared in Volume 5 Issue 2 of Cannabis & Tech Today. Read the full issue here.