The New York City depicted in Dave Chappelle’s “Half Baked” made the rules quite clear.
Released in 1998, the cult stoner comedy memorably includes Chappelle’s character, Thurgood Jenkins, instructing viewers on the ways New Yorkers get their cannabis. Essentially, there are bodegas and delivery services, both of which operate beyond the scope of state law.
Despite the fact that “Half Baked” is now old enough to legally drink, the rules in NYC have not progressed very far. Recently, however, another popular comedian — Saturday Night Live comic Pete Davidson — proved that there may also be a third option.
For anyone unfamiliar with Davidson, his sojourns through the headlines have included a relationship with pop singer Ariana Grande and the fact that his father was a firefighter who perished on 9/11. Earlier this year, his first Netflix special, “Pete Davidson: Alive from New York,” debuted on the streaming platform. The one-hour performance also includes a section in which Davidson admits that disgraced comedian Louis C.K. once tried to get him fired from Saturday Night Live for smoking cannabis.
Speaking to Jimmy Fallon on a “from home” edition of the latter’s The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon on Thursday, May 7, Davidson reported that a woman had recently delivered a “duffle bag full of drugs” to his mother’s house in Staten Island, unprompted.
Apparently the stranger was concerned by a social media post made by Davidson and filmmaker Judd Apatow in which Davidson informed viewers that he was no longer “doing drugs.” Published in support of a new film starring Davidson and directed by Apatow, the video caused one Bayonne, N.J. resident to pay a visit to the home of the comedian’s mother (Davidson is presently sheltering-in-place at her home).
“If you see this,” Davidson told Fallon, “please do not do that because I will sell it.”
While Davidson may not be in the market for weed, free or otherwise, at the moment, the comedian has long been associated with the substance. In the trailer for The King of Staten Island — available on demand on June 12 — a character loosely based on Davidson is warned that he should get his life together because “time is passing by very quickly.”
“Why do you think I smoke weed all the time?,” Davidson’s character asks in reply. “So I can slow it down.”
Davidson’s fondness for cannabis is well-documented, with the comic telling the AV Club in 2016 that he finds weed useful in treating symptoms related to his Crohn’s disease.
“There’s certain weed that makes Crohn’s disease easier to live with,” he noted at the time, “but that doesn’t mean you should be f—ing getting high all day. Too much of anything is not good.”
Going to jail is also not ideal, which brings into question the logic of delivering a large quantity of cannabis in a state like New York where cannabis remains recreationally illegal.
Prior to the onset of shelter-in-place orders, there was optimism that New York would join a number of other states in enacting some form of comprehensive marijuana reform in 2020. With numerous delays and complications prior to the pandemic, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo effectively conceded in April that it was unlikely cannabis would be legalized in the state before 2021.
Even as other states voice regret for not legalizing weed sooner (and thus reaping the potential economic benefits), New York’s timeline remains murky.
In the interim, fans of Davidson and Apatow will no doubt expect a hefty helping of the stoner humor that propelled past Apatow vehicles like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Knocked Up to success. Unlesss a brief shot of Davidson blowing out a massive smoke ring in the trailer is a depiction of some friends getting together to Juul, The King of Staten Island does not appear poised to break the mold.
Professing concern for the star of his film, Apatow offered Davidson a bit of advice as part of an Instagram video they posted on May 8 promoting the announcement of their new movie.
“Just never, ever take drugs from strangers,” Apatow suggested.
“Judd,” Davidson replied, “all drugs are from strangers. I mean, when was the last time you got an eighth of weed from your grandma?”