Comedian Shane Mauss does a fair amount of drugs, but he doesn’t like the moniker “drug guy.”
The stand-up comedian wasn’t even high the first time he developed his idea for his latest special, “A Good Trip” — he was performing to nobody at a flooded-out gig in Houston.
“They wanted me to perform for the comics in the room who made it to the show, so I riffed on psychedelics for what ended up being an hour,” Mauss said. “As someone who takes psychedelics on a fairly regular basis … I wanted to do a show about this for a while.”
Mauss used that material for “A Good Trip,” a new stand-up hour he will perform at Acme Comedy Company on Tuesday.
“A Good Trip” chronicles Mauss’s experience with psychedelic drugs including LSD, magic mushrooms and DMT.
“It’s part stand-up, part TED Talk,” Mauss said. During the performance, Mauss talks about the way psychedelics have changed his perspective, helping him see the world in new ways — and not just because of the hallucinations.
“My ex-girlfriend’s mom got a bunch of plastic surgery. She was trying to look like a model, and it looked horrible,” Mauss said. “She told me that she got the surgery because she took mushrooms and saw herself in a mirror, and she thought she was ugly.”
Through his stand-up, Mauss hopes he can help people avoid similar bad trips.
“She was having a moment of understanding — seeing who she really is. Unfortunately, she misunderstood what her brain was realizing,” Mauss said.
Similarly, Mauss reflected on his first experiences with psychedelic drugs at age 17.
“I had the unfortunate understanding that you take psychedelics and go party, like taking mushrooms and going to a kegger,” Mauss said.
Today, Mauss said he usually takes psychedelics alone and occasionally trips while meditating.
Unlike the stereotypical psychedelics-consumer, Mauss rejects pseudoscience — like the drug-induced aha moments — and hopes “A Good Trip” will help people understand the spectrum of psychedelic experiences.
“Your brain makes so many connections when you’re on psychedelics, like, ‘This tree is my ancestor,’ ” Mauss said. “That’s not a real thing, but it is an example of what your brain does when you’re on psychedelics. Your brain makes connections, almost too many.”
Mauss said tripping alone helps him understand some of the scientific concepts he discusses with experts on his podcast, “Here We Are.”
“I have thoughts without words,” Mauss said. “It’s too bad, because words aren’t perfect, but they’re the best we’ve got to express thought.”