For national comedians, Seattle is the gift that keeps on giving. Just ask Stephen Colbert.
Recreational marijuana use, he said on last night’s “Colbert Report”, was just made legal in Colorado and Washington, “or should I say, Cheech-arado and Washing-Chong.”
“And,” he continued, “in all two of those states, the cops have stopped cracking down on sparking up.” He then played a CNN clip about how Seattle police handed out bags of Doritos–the legendary cure for pot-user munchies–at the Hempfest carnival in August. (Look, I didn’t say Colbert is on top of the news, but only that he is a comedian.)
“Police should not be encouraging drug use,” he declared in what might or might not be mock outrage. Colbert also criticized legalizing pot to alleviate government fiscal problems–clearly a factor in Washington State, which is imposing a 25% excise tax on sales.
Now, as someone still New To Seattle, I have written here about the seeming lack of humor among the local citizenry. But the Seattle Police Department is doing its best to change that perception, too. (I’m sure that has nothing to do with the many police brutality allegations against it.)
Today, the SPD’s P.R. unit posted on its blog “An Open Letter to Stephen Cobert and Colbert Nation” full of its own brand of mock outrage. After linking to the clip, the cops wrote, “Unfortunately, this segment was rife with errors–understandable given that your program airs during late evening hours, typically the domain of infomercial watchers, graffiti vandals and car prowlers …
“As to your final point, debating whether marijuana decriminalization will provide a much-needed tax revenue boost, we can confirm that Initiative 502 has been a boon for our local restaurant industry. Currently, you have to get on a three-month-long waiting list just to order a pizza.”
On top of all this, Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong themselves are giving a live stand-up performance next month at an Indian casino in nearby Tacoma. Yes, I didn’t know they were still an act, either. It will be interesting to see if their weed-tinged brand of counterculture humor remains as funny in a place where the counterculture has become, well, the culture.
Seattle: Come for the pot, stay for the pizza.