Photo Credit: Meghan Sinclair
Comedian Shane Mauss brings his psychedelic comedy tour, “A Good Trip,” to the Georgia Theatre for this year’s LaughFest at AthFest. Mauss’ resume includes an impressive list of late-night talk show and podcast appearances, as well as specials on Comedy Central and Netflix. In addition to his stand-up, he also hosts “Here We Are,” a science podcast. “A Good Trip” is a journey into Mauss’ personal experience with psychedelics, and is self-described as “part stand-up, part storytelling and part TED Talk.”
Flagpole: Can you explain the basic concept of a psychedelic comedy tour?
Shane Mauss: I decided to do a show with the theme of psychedelics about two years ago. It started getting more and more popular, so I decided to build a tour around it. The show’s about my personal experiences with psychedelics, but also about a lot of the research being done behind them today. It also tackles a lot of the misconceptions about psychedelics, trying to de-stigmatize and demystify them for people who maybe don’t know a lot about them.
FP: Has anything about your act or your overall view of psychedelics changed as you’ve traveled and talked to people on the road?
SM: When I started doing this show, I was mostly just drawing from personal experience. I really had no idea how big the psychedelic community was, or how much research was being done around psychedelics today. There’s an incredible amount of really intriguing and inspiring work being done. At first, this was more or less just another comedy show that I put together, centered around a subject that was personally important to me. What I didn’t know is how important this topic would be for other people. Learning about how psychedelics can help treat people with PTSD and depression has been kind of the biggest lesson I’ve learned along the way.
FP: What led you to want to blend the worlds of scientific research and comedy?
SM: I’ve always been interested in various scientific subjects. It’s not something I really pursued in school, because I’ve always wanted to be a stand-up comedian. As I caught breaks and ended up doing stand-up full-time, I got tired of doing jokes just for the sake of it and wanted to shift to talking about topics I was more interested in. I would have amazing conversations over lunch or dinner with my academic friends I had made, and I always thought, “Man, I should have been recording that.” So I started the “Here We Are” podcast three years ago, and it’s been an entertaining and educational journey. I enjoy it just as much as my stand-up career.
FP: Would you say that podcasting is an important part of being a modern day stand-up comedian?
SM: I don’t think that anyone has to do comedy in any one particular way these days—there’s a million ways to go about it in the modern era of comedy. I certainly think there is a lot of opportunity in the podcast realm. A lot of people have still never even listened to a podcast, but I think it’s getting more and more popular all the time. It can definitely be difficult for people to find their own niche. A lot of podcasts are just comedians interviewing other comedians, which is fine, but I’m glad to provide something for people who want something a little different.
AthFest's official comedy showcase features headliner Shane Mauss, who combines elements of stand-up, storytelling and TED Talks for a show about psychedelics. Sponsored by the Multidisciplinary Assocation of Psychedelic Studies.