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Doug Benson - Gateway Doug Album Cover
Author's Rating
Vocals 8
Musicianship 8
Lyrics 8
Production 8
Creativity 8
Lasting Value 8
Reviewer Tilt 8
Final Verdict: 80%
Member Ratings
Vocals 0.25
Musicianship 0.25
Lyrics 0.25
Production 0.25
Creativity 0.25
Lasting Value 0.25
Reviewer Tilt 0.25
Average: 3%

Doug Benson - Gateway Doug

Reviewed by: Cody Nelson (07/09/13)
Doug Benson - Gateway Doug
Record Label: AST Records
Release Date: July 9, 2013


Doug Benson is arguably one of the most successful standup comics today, and ironically, at this point, that’s what he’s least known for. After a quarter century in the humor industry, Benson is bigger than ever, but it’s hardly related to his starting point. In recent years, he’s become more synonymous with marijuana and podcasting, thanks to his successful documentaries Super High Me & The Greatest Movie Ever Rolled and his even more popular podcast Doug Loves Movies. It’s this particular career trajectory that is responsible for the weak bookends on his newest record, Gateway Doug; luckily for us, however, the subpar areas are more than drowned out by moments worth coming back to.

A huge proponent of Twitter, the opening 10 minutes are devoted to him interacting with his followers’ tweets (or in one case, Vine) and the last 8 are literally just him reading his tweets to the crowd. Hardly a bad thing for someone to connect with their fans, but at more than one point in these bits, Benson mumbles some variation of ‘well, this isn’t going to translate well from live show to CD.’ That’s frustrating alone, but it becomes magnified when you factor in that the same thing had occurred on his last two hours as well. The issue flows on into a live version of a Doug Loves Movies mini-game by the title of “Watch This, Not That.” While containing some witty asides about Nicholas Sparks movies, what could’ve been an enjoyable 30-second gag dwells on far too long as Doug talks about what he doesn’t enjoy about the two movies picked for the game at random by audience members, and what sounds like sincerity pulls you out of the joke altogether.

Over the course of this hour, as has happened with nearly all of his releases, very few topics are touched on, with this album really only tackling drugs, movies, and sex over its 57 minutes. Good thing those are his bread and butter, though, as he manages to mine the same topics repeatedly with enough variety to keep any of them from becoming stale and to also make up for the underwhelming social media integration. Whether it’s dealing with a housekeeper narc, or just what angers you the most about your favorite Liam Neeson or Vin Diesel sequels, familiarity overlaps with originality leaving you laughing and in your comfort zone.

Also worth mentioning are the spots on this record where Benson manages to come off as both a stereotypical pothead who will forget crucial words in a setup and have a seemingly short attention span yet also as an incredibly smart and proficient joke-writer. Separately, neither of those would surprise anyone, because he’s a seasoned comedian with a spot in his heart for Mary Jane; the impressive part is the ability he’s gained to consciously mix both. While not quite as on display as it was in past jokes like ‘Hoover Dam’ or ‘Medical Marijuana,’ Benson manages to organically (and hilariously) combine topics like anal sex and arcade machines on ‘Sex Poll’ or spacecrafts, figure skating, and beating blindness on ‘Ice Hassles’ while at times sounding like he’s stumbling through a story with no real cemented joke to head towards next.

Honestly, his career could be compared to Louis CK’s in a way, only in a stoner comedy subset as opposed to humor on the whole. He’s the face of the styling, you’d be hard pressed to find many other comedians with such a well-known brand or sense of self, and most similarly, both favor the ‘new hour every year‘ system of releasing albums (Gateway Doug is his sixth release since 2008!). However, where CK opts to take significant time off to hone scripts for his show, Benson is constantly churning out new bits on weekly episodes of his podcast in addition to his steady standup career. Please don’t misconstrue that as a slight towards Louis’ talents, though. I just thought it relevant because, well, Doug Benson smokes a lot of pot, and his work ethic is through the roof; it’s a miracle we get exceptional material from him as often as we do. I don’t know about you, but when I get high, I just play Guitar Hero and wonder if whether anybody I’m with knows I’m high. Seems like for the sake of productivity, we could all benefit from a little of whatever he’s having.

8/10

Additional InformationTrack Listing:
1. Twitter Roll Call
2. Watch This, Not That
3. Squeakquels
4. Bees!
5. Ice Hassles
6. I Didn't Have A Dream
7. High At Work
8. Non-Smoking Rooms
9. Meth You Up
10. Sober October
11. Sex Poll
12. Meet and Greet
 
Displaying posts 1 - 15 of 20.
05:59 AM on 07/09/13
#2
suicidesaints
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Nice review. Haven't heard it yet, but your review is pretty much what I expected from this album, although I've been a Doug Benson fan since Professional Humoredian so I'm still excited to hear this.
06:13 AM on 07/09/13
#3
deanster321
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One of those who I probably like a lot more in the context of podcasts rather than their stand-up, like Hardwick and Pete Holmes.
06:16 AM on 07/09/13
#4
TJ Wells
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One of those who I probably like a lot more in the context of podcasts rather than their stand-up, like Hardwick and Pete Holmes.
Exactly.
06:46 AM on 07/09/13
#5
popdisaster00
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One of those who I probably like a lot more in the context of podcasts rather than their stand-up, like Hardwick and Pete Holmes.
Absolutely.
07:10 AM on 07/09/13
#6
herestoyoufla
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I'll have to check this out, although i do agree about usually liking the content in his podcasts more. His standup is still entertaining.
07:34 AM on 07/09/13
#7
deanster321
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Oh yeah, I don't mean to say his stand-up isn't good at all, from what I've heard/seen, and I'll still listen to this.
09:01 AM on 07/09/13
#8
dhayes
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One of those who I probably like a lot more in the context of podcasts rather than their stand-up, like Hardwick and Pete Holmes.

Pete's last album is one of the best this year. I thought his first album was okay but he's gotten better.
09:10 AM on 07/09/13
#9
Cody Nelson
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Pete's last album is one of the best this year. I thought his first album was okay but he's gotten better.
He's got a very particular style that he's self-aware of and he's constantly refining. The problem is that if it's not for you, it's never going to be. That 'are you hearing me?!' type delivery is polarizing.
10:13 AM on 07/09/13
deanster321
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Pete's last album is one of the best this year. I thought his first album was okay but he's gotten better.
He's got a very particular style that he's self-aware of and he's constantly refining. The problem is that if it's not for you, it's never going to be. That 'are you hearing me?!' type delivery is polarizing.
Yeah, I think it probably is the performance itself because he's clearly capable of coming up with stuff I think is really funny. Although the only part of his new album that I've heard is the track that was posted here, so I won't rule out that changing my mind just yet.
10:33 AM on 07/09/13
TJ Wells
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He's got a very particular style that he's self-aware of and he's constantly refining. The problem is that if it's not for you, it's never going to be. That 'are you hearing me?!' type delivery is polarizing.
I love some of his bits, but just as many don't do anything for me. Irrelevant, though, because he's probably my favorite person in the world.
11:02 AM on 07/09/13
chopstatus
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Spinning this ASAP.
11:43 AM on 07/09/13
suicidesaints
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Pete's last album is one of the best this year. I thought his first album was okay but he's gotten better.
I agree. I actually never heard "Impregnated With Wonder" except for bits and pieces, but I thought "Nice Try" was fantastic. I can see where Pete might be a little off putting to some people, but I would think that personality trait would translate to his podcasts as well, so it seems strange to enjoy him on podcasts, but not like his stand up act... althought I've really only heard him as a guest on podcasts... I don't listen to "You Made It Weird" but maybe I should.
11:53 AM on 07/09/13
dhayes
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I agree. I actually never heard "Impregnated With Wonder" except for bits and pieces, but I thought "Nice Try" was fantastic. I can see where Pete might be a little off putting to some people, but I would think that personality trait would translate to his podcasts as well, so it seems strange to enjoy him on podcasts, but not like his stand up act... althought I've really only heard him as a guest on podcasts... I don't listen to "You Made It Weird" but maybe I should.

I grew to love Pete from him frequenting Doug Loves Movies so I gave IWW a shot and it just didn't feel like I was listening to the same guy. I went into Nice Try cautiously optimistic that it would be better and ended up absolutely loving it.

And yes you should listen to YMIW, he always had good guests and he clicks with everybody.
12:11 PM on 07/09/13
suicidesaints
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I grew to love Pete from him frequenting Doug Loves Movies so I gave IWW a shot and it just didn't feel like I was listening to the same guy. I went into Nice Try cautiously optimistic that it would be better and ended up absolutely loving it.

And yes you should listen to YMIW, he always had good guests and he clicks with everybody.
I'll check out YMIW. I've grown to love Pete from DLM too. I know lots of people find him annoying, but I think he's hilarious.

If you haven't already heard it, listen to the Bloomington episode of Dining With Doug and Karen. Funniest thing I've heard in a while.
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