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High on cinema

Blunt movie comedy from Doug Benson

Guests on Doug Benson’s (left) podcasts often seem delighted for some reason. Photo credit: Facebook

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Do you love movies? Do you love trivia? Do you love perma-stoned standup comedians? Then do we have a comedy extravaganza for you.

Doug Benson might just be the hardest-working slacker in modern entertainment. Born in San Diego, Benson is 55 but looks a decade younger, two if his audience members' eyes are unusually bloodshot. And they might be. There's a reason Benson records podcast episodes at 4:20. He made a documentary about weed in 2007, called Super High Me, which investigated the physical effects of ingesting pot 30 days in a row. Benson himself was the willing test subject. (Spoiler: He gained eight pounds, his sperm count increased and, though his ability to do mental arithmetic lessened, his verbal skills improved so dramatically that his overall SAT score went up. Who knew?) Benson hosts two wildly popular podcasts, Doug Loves Movies and Getting Doug With High.

It's Benson's non-reefer-related podcast that brings him to Tacoma Comedy Club this Saturday, Aug. 19, for a live recording session. Started in 2006, the series records live every week, most often at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre in Los Angeles, and can be enjoyed for free on iTunes or Stitcher. Much like NPR's Wait Wait ... Don't Tell Me, it's a casual mishmash of jokey talk-show banter and trivia game show. Unlike the NPR series, however, which focuses on news, Benson's podcast lobs brainteasers about recent movies, in language public radio would never allow. Three guests from the entertainment world bring in interesting prize items, then strive to be witty while answering stumpers about Guardians of the Galaxy or Split. We don't know who'll appear at Tacoma's taping, but past competitors included Patton Oswalt and Amy Poehler. A recent winner was The Big Sick's Kumail Nanjiani.

The contest takes the form of mini-games that vary from episode to episode. Popular sub-games recur. In "Doing Lines With Mark," guests must identify the movie that generated a given quote, in turn performed by Mark Wahlberg impersonator Daniel Van Kirk. In the ingeniously titled "Now Buscemi, Now You Don't," players must decide which movie out of five doesn't costar Steve Buscemi. A similar game, in which one production is bereft of Kevin Bacon, is called "Which Film Is Kosher?"

Benson entered standup in his early 20s, then hustled his way into movies and TV as a stand-in. That's how he appeared in such iconic 1980s films as Blade Runner, Fast Times at Ridgemont High and the Disneyland spectacle Captain EO. He wrote for Trashed, an MTV game show, and releases a new comedy album almost every April 20 (get it?). His 30 IMDb acting credits to date include Bob's Burgers, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Friends, Mr. Show With Bob and David and How I Met Your Mother. He was Bane in The LEGO Batman Movie -- which, let's be honest, is more than Tom Hardy can say.

Doug Loves Movies, 4:20 p.m., Saturday, Aug. 19, Tacoma Comedy Club, 933 Market St., Tacoma, $22-$40, 253.282.7203

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