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The 420 Friendly Comedy Show at Wake & Bake Breakfast Club

2 minute Read

From touring with jazz musicians in the Catskills in the ‘50s, to Cheech and Chong in the ’70s, to ‘stoner comedy’ becoming its own genre in the ‘90s thanks to comedians like Doug Benson and movies like Half Baked, marijuana and comedy have always gone hand in hand. So it’s only right that in a comedy hub like Los Angeles, many shows center themselves around simultaneously getting high, encouraging the comic performers to get as baked as humanly possible beforehand and then talk about how baked they are. It’s a novelty format that more often than not leads to comics reading their tweets for the whole set. The 420 Friendly Comedy Show at Wake & Bake Breakfast Club in North Hollywood is very different.

“Just because you come to Wake & Bake to do the 420 Friendly Comedy Show does not require, nor mean, that you need to be stoned during your set, but you will be surrounded by [pot smoke],” said 420 Friendly Comedy Show producer and host Tema Louise Sall, puffing on a joint obtained from behind the counter along with the cans of soda and high-end coffee.

Sall is a local comedian, LA native and confirmed pot enthusiast. The 420 Friendly Comedy Show is held inside a small square building decorated with paintings, potted plants and comfy chairs, where you are welcome to smoke during the show. Aside from one giant Bob Marley tapestry (the one every college freshman had) as you walk in, the interior looks like any one of a thousand lovely little cafes in the area. Anyone looking to enjoy some OG Kush with some OG coffee needs only to pay a membership fee, $4.20 for the day (we see what you did there), and to produce ID proving age of 21 or older. There’s no burly security guard, no check-in room, no metal detectors.

“You do need a membership, to be part of the cannabis club. But it’s more of a cannabis community,” Sall said, motioning to a young man sitting on the patio with his laptop. “This guy over here. He’s here every day. It’s awesome. He clearly feels at home here.”

Sall adds that the cafe is designed to be a “safe space, an environment where I feel comfortable, and not judged, where I can grow. Not just for comics, but for the community.” The vibe is warm and inviting. Ace, the store’s resident husky puppy, wears a green bowtie and cheerfully gnaws on chairs while the patrons swoon. It’s a far cry from most dispensaries and co-ops in Los Angeles.

The room is packed and it’s showtime. Sall wasn’t kidding about being ‘surrounded’ by the smell of weed. There is such a thick fog bank of pot smoke in the room, you’d half expect Lon Chaney to come skulking around the corner.

Even amid billows of the pungent steam, however, there is very little “stoner” humor during the course of the show. Each performer talks about the regular range of comic fodder: family, jobs, the news, etc. As an audience member, this is exactly what you want: funny people telling well-crafted jokes, not standing onstage constantly looking like they left the oven on at home. You know, a true comedy show. And that’s part of Sall’s philosophy: Break the stereotypes of the lazy stoner, and have a good time.

“I think one of the biggest things about {the stigma} is that if you smoke weed, you’re a lazy person,” she said. “It’s something we enjoy and it doesn’t hinder my ability to accomplish stuff.”

And Sall accomplishes a lot. The whole evening is tightly run, well-produced, and hilarious. As the attitudes towards cannabis and those who enjoy it change, hopefully more clubs like Wake & Bake will bloom, and even more comedians like Tema Louise Sall will keep us laughing. And high. And caffeinated.

The 420 Friendly Comedy Show at Wake & Bake Breakfast Club