I’m pleased to report there’s no plasticine harpy sniping about your couture at the Stony Awards: If you — like guest of honor Snoop Dogg — show up in a floor-length black suede greatcoat with Persian-lamb lapels, that’s entirely your bizizzness. Ethan Hawke’s Hopalong Cassidy button-down? Everybody’s down with it here at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Times Square.
Which brings me to the next thing you should know about the Stonys: Don’t wear a tuxedo. Yes, it’s an awards show. Yes, you want to ”represent” for your magazine, which doesn’t usually cover High Times magazine’s cinema smoke-tacular (now in its third year). But know this: If you do opt for the tux, prepare for blank stares — and by blank, I mean blanker than usual.
”Bong. James Bong,” I hear whispered behind my back. A pie-eyed crew member cryptically identifies me as ”that guy from TV.” Several attendees mistake me for a presenter (none of whom wear tuxes); when I say I’m not presenting an award, they answer that I should be, and for some reason I find it difficult to argue with their logic. Perhaps this has something to do with the increasingly aromatic atmosphere.
Needless to say, the ceremony doesn’t begin on time, or close to on time, or anywhere in the same galaxy as on time. As one promoter soberly (!) notes, ”We’re working on the stoners’ schedule.” Which gives me time to interview the Maharaja of Marijuana, Snoop Dogg.
Escorted backstage, I await the exec producer and star of The Wash; Snoop is here in part to doggedly promote the March 12 release of his cannabis comedy on video. He’s also nominated in two Stony categories: Best Pot Scene and the prestigious Stoner of the Year, an honor that’s previously gone to such luminaries as Jason Mewes.
A yarn-capped Rasta ”minister” enters first, to sanctify the interview. (It is Sunday night, after all.) Then Snoop himself glides in, ringed by an entourage of seven or eight (at least 20 more wait outside). Eyes shielded by diamond-encrusted shades, he sinks into a chair and trades his bejeweled liquor goblet for a Sprite. ”I’m going easy for ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY,” he says. ”Grant Hill drinks it, I’ll drink it.” He eyes my outfit. ”You look sharp,” he concludes.
Invariably, talk turns to herbin’ renewal. ”This is some of that Marvin Gaye,” Snoop asserts, and I nod, though I have no idea what he’s talking about. An associate then proceeds to roll and light a joint so enormous, it might actually contain Marvin Gaye. The Dogg takes a puff and regards me charitably.
At this point, I disclose that I’ve never smoked so much as a Marlboro, to say nothing of ”Marvin Gaye.” Snoop is visibly excited — well, not really, but he does lean forward slightly. ”One time,” he cajoles. ”For the sake of the interview.” I cannot resist an appeal to my professionalism.
The retinue explodes (”Smoking up with Snoop Dogg! That’s cold!”), but Snoop is supportive. When I express nervousness about my job security, he assures me, ”I’ll hire you to interview motherf — -ers on behalf of Doggystyle Records. They be like, ‘Who is this motherf — -er that works for Doggystyle…with khakis and s — – on?”’ And when I note a ticklish sensation at the back of my throat, Snoop is solicitous: ”That’s the Marvin Gaye. You be singing a few notes before the night is over.”