On Friday night, the audience for HBO's Real Time with Bill Maher gasped and cheered when comedian Zach Galifianakis pulled a marijuana joint from his jacket pocket, lit it, smoked it and offered to pass it around. The clip was copied and flourished over the weekend on many YouTube accounts.
But take another look at it in context. Bill Maher, himself a very visible supporter of legalizing marijuana, had mentioned a news story in which a kid got put into social services after telling cops to arrest his parents for pot smoking. Then Maher asked his panelists — Republican pundit (and great-granddaughter of President Herbert Hoover) Margaret Hoover, the National Review's Reihan Salam, and MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell — how they felt about California's Prop 19, which puts to a vote Tuesday whether the state should make marijuana even more legitimate and taxable.
To which Galifianakis said, "It's a tricky thing politically to jump on that bandwagon, because I think maybe, people see it as taboo still." Then he shows that it shouldn't be. Most YouTube clips stop there. But after everyone gets a kick out of his stunt on live TV, Galifianakis later interrupts the debate by shouting, "Oh my God! Look at those dragons!" He then points out that that's how some people mistakenly think pot smokers act and behave. Which, at least based on the friends and comedians I've observed over the years, is not true.
Now watch the clip again:
Of course, this wasn't the first time someone, let alone a comedian/actor, toked up on live television. A couple of years ago, Seth Rogen and James Franco pulled a stunt during the 2008 MTV Movie Awards, in which they said they were smoking "fake weed" from a giant bag of "fake weed." Whether it was fake or not was in dispute, as MTV tried to explain later. You'll also see that this idea came from comedian Jordan Rubin. Roll it.