John Wenzel

John Wenzel

John Wenzel writes about comedy, music, video games, books, film and other popular culture as an A&E reporter for The Denver Post. He is the author of the Speck/Fulcrum nonfiction book "Mock Stars" and has contributed to Rolling Stone, Esquire, Vice, The Guardian and Splitsider, among others. His love for Guided by Voices is wholly unnatural and knows no bounds.

Recent posts by John Wenzel

Lighting up the screen: Colorado’s first-ever cannabis film fest to open in Fort Collins

This weekend, Colorado will host its first substantial marijuana-centric film festival, the Cannabus Fest in Fort Collins.

Top 20 stoner movies that will keep you couch-locked on 4/20

A “stoner movie” can be a flick whose plot or characters are based primarily on weed consumption, or simply a movie that’s best watched while high. We rank both.

A day in the life of Denver comic Josh Blue: parenting, pot and stage time

Spend some private time with Colorado comic Josh Blue, who allowed Denver Post videographer Vincent Chandler to spend a day with him as he played with his kids, smoked weed and performed stand-up during the High Plains Comedy Festival.

High Scores: How video games manipulate us, and the weed factor

Ben Parr, the author of “Captivology: The Science of Capturing People’s Attention,” talks selective attention, why some video games are more addictive than others and the deeper connection between gaming and weed.

Comic Margaret Cho is ‘dying’ to get inspired by Colorado pot culture

When Margaret Cho performs in Colorado, the budding pot activist and entrepreneur wants to see how the recreational weed scene compares to her California roots.

Denver County Fair changes course, cancels Pot Pavilion; lawsuit settled

The Denver County Fair has canceled its attention-getting Pot Pavilion this year following a class-action lawsuit that accused a vendor of handing out samples of marijuana-laced chocolates at last year’s event, which was supposed to be drug-free.

Watch comic Hannibal Buress visit Native Roots pot shop in Denver

Comedian Hannibal Buress had some choice words for the cannabis products at Native Roots pot shop in Denver on a recent tour stop.

Stand-up Doug Benson releases the album he recorded on 4/20 in Denver

Doug Benson’s “Promotional Tool,” recorded during his 4/20 stop in the Mile High City this year, features regular plugs for his many projects.

‘Swamp Stoners’? Five pot reality TV shows that need to happen right now

“Celebrity Weed Freakout” is a reality TV show that needs to happen right now. Here are five other shows we’d like to see. Check out the pitches for “Swamp Stoners” and “Willie Nelson’s Next Top Model.”

‘Last Comic’ champs Josh Blue, Felipe Esparza on ‘Getting Doug with High’

Watch “Last Comic Standing” champs Josh Blue and Felip Esparza get blazed on Doug Benson’s YouTube talk show “Getting Doug With High.”

High Scores: Do pot and video games feed each others’ addictive qualities?

Pot and video games have separately been shown to be addictive to the right kind of personality. They press our pleasure buttons and give us a sense of euphoria and achievement, of high excitement with low stakes. So is there an inherently higher danger of addiction when combining the two?

Sexpot Comedy retools for 2015 with new lineups, lessons in hand

Sexpot Comedy, which was created in 2012 by marijuana entrepreneur Kayvan Khalatbari and has grown with the help of Denver comedian-producer Andy Juett, is retooling for 2015 after a year of creative triumphs — but also empty seats at some of its live shows and a delayed website launch.

Why vaping is the dumbest thing ever

Why is vaping the dumbest thing ever? I’ll admit, I think “vape” is a dumb-sounding word and generally looks about as cool as wearing a Bluetooth headset. I’m also partial to the idea that it’s a “half-high,” a poseur way of consuming cannabis and/or nicotine.

Review: ‘Marijuana for Everybody!’ a surprisingly deep guide to pot culture

There’s no ambiguity about who the target market is for a book called “Marijuana for Everybody!” With recreational cannabis now legal in Colorado and Washington, and the green tide rising across the country, the editors at High Times magazine were smart to commission a general-audience primer on all-things-weed.

‘Broad City’ stars offer weed-happy love letter to Colorado (video)

Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson of the comedy show “Broad City” have recorded a weed-happy love letter to Denver ahead of their Nov. 21 tour stop. They promise to hook us up, make us laugh and perform a romantic evening of comedy for all. (Tall orders, ladies, but we have a feeling you’ll come through.)

Hey Sarah Silverman, any pot plans for your Colorado visit?

Sarah Silverman would “love to” visit a Denver pot shop, but she never gets high before performing.

High Scores: Fear of an online planet, or why I hate multiplayer video games

Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean they’re not after you: Why multiplayer online gaming is insufferable when you’re stoned. Playing Titanfall or Call of Duty or Red Dead Redemption online is like hanging out with a bunch of testosterone-fueled children I’d never want to be around in real life.

Smokeless in Seattle: What if Denver started this way?

Fully legal weed sales begin today, July 8 in Seattle, our great emerald cousin to the north, and the difference from Denver’s start of pot sales is stark: From what we’re seeing, sales may well be met with the wet fizzle of a blunt dropped in a half-empty Starbucks cup.

High Scores: “Broad City” star Ilana Glazer even kookier in “Chronic Gamer Girl”

Fans of the weed-friendly Comedy Central breakout series “Broad City” know that Ilana Glazer frequently plays the fool to Abbi Jacobson’s more responsible, put-upon straight-woman. But the cannabis-loving comedian and writer goes even further in her web series “Chronic Gamer Girl.”

Nix Bros. serve up stoney Colorado satire on Funny or Die (video)

Denver’s comedy scene has been goofing on the reality of recreationally-legal cannabis over the past few months. The latest offering: the Nix Bros.’ video for online humor clearinghouse Funny or Die — “Mile High.”

Colo. favorite Kathleen Madigan on our “shocking” pot laws, her comedy career (interview)

Kathleen Madigan, arguably Colorado’s favorite comedian, discusses the significance of Colorado’s cannabis laws and more. “I’m definitely going into a pot store when I’m (in Colorado) next. I went into one in California and as a non-pot-person I was overwhelmed at the organization of it.”

High Scores: “The Gamer’s Doctor” talks hand injuries, weed & respect

Want to avoid the most common hand and wrist video game injuries caused by hours of nonstop gaming? Dr. Levi Harrison, a.k.a. “The Gamer’s Doctor” has you covered. He discusses common maladies and offers tips for preventing injury.

Rain Pryor talks pot, rehab & dad Richard’s comedic legacy

We catch up with Rain Pryor in advance of her Denver appearance to talk about stepping out of her father Richard’s shadow, her experiences as a drug counselor in Los Angeles and why she thinks legal weed is a good thing in Colorado — even if she’s not sure she’s going to partake.

Travel guru Rick Steves on civil liberties and surprises

INTERVIEW: European travel expert, public TV host, author and noted marijuana activist Rick Steves opens up about state drug policies, social justice and the head trips of legal weed in Colorado and Washington.

Reggae world wakes up to new weed reality

In honor of reggae great Bob Marley’s birthday on Thursday, (he would have been 69), we caught up with some local and national reggae bands to ask if Colorado’s legalization has affected their work and art, and what’s next in this new weed reality.

Cheech & Chong on Colorado crash course

Stoner heroes Cheech & Chong are returning to Colorado in a big way March 22 with a show at Broomfield’s 1stBank Center, with music from War.

High Scores: Talking video games, weed, religion in “God in the Machine” author Q&A

If you’ve had a religious experience while playing video games and smoking weed, you’re not alone. And, as it turns out, you’re not insane either. Plenty of gamers flock to their controllers and bongs because video games provide a release. We use them to relax and turn off our conscious…

Pot comedy takes root in Colorado: 4/20-friendly shows and a “Tokeasy” release party

The list of classic stoner comedies is pretty short, including Cheech & Chong’s “Up in Smoke,” Ice Cube’s “Friday,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Pineapple Express” and Anna Faris’ criminally underrated “Smiley Face.” And while we’re pretty sure the direct-to-DVD “Tokeasy” won’t ever be among them, the Colorado written-and-produced film is still…

High Scores: Video games and weed. An inside look at this match made in heaven

We are living in a golden age of video games and weed. Need proof? Games are more popular, awesome and accessible than they’ve ever been, thanks to ever-improving technology, the rise of indie gaming and the tablet/smartphone revolution. And weed? Well, that’s why you’re here, isn’t it?

Doug Benson: “Stand-up is fun, smoking pot is fun. Fun plus fun equals bigger fun.”

From our interview with stoner comic Doug Benson came this mind-blowing gem: “Stand-up is fun, smoking pot is fun. Fun plus fun equals bigger fun. Who doesn’t want large fun?”