Mike Glazer has new jeans, and he can’t wait to tell you about them. The Emmy-nominated comedian, who co-hosts acclaimed podcast Weed and Grub with award-winning actress and writer Mary Jane Gibson, bought his multi-pocketed purchase specifically for his latest gig. On Thursday, November 30th, Glazer and Gibson will be the emcees for the first annual Emjays, an award show celebrating the best in ancillary cannabis brands, marketers, creators, and advocates.
What Is The Emjays Award Show?
Industry leaders will thrill to the Emjays’ inaugural ceremony, presented by Advanced Vapor Devices (AVD) and produced by events company Farechild in partnership with MJBizCon, the world’s largest cannabis business conference. Taking place at the illustrious Pearl Theater inside the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas, the Emjays marks a new milestone for the cannabis sector’s ability to shape the culture. Honeysuckle is proud to be a media partner for this amazing event.
*Editor's Note: Learn more about The Emjays through our interview with Farechild founders David Tran and James Zachodni.
Who Are The Emjays Hosts? Weed And Grub Creators Mike Glazer And Mary Jane Gibson
With Gibson and Glazer at the helm of the show, it’s going to be one wacky, memorable ride indeed. The pair knows a lot about using cannabis as a creative driver; on Weed and Grub, their entire ethos revolves around infusing comedy with a hint of plant advocacy and a zest for life. That winning formula has garnered them a devoted fanbase over the past five years, and a stunning list of iconic guests including David Crosby, Topher Grace, Melissa Etheridge, The Simpsons’ showrunner Bill Oakley, Animaniacs creator Tom Ruegger, and RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel, just to name a few.
“The campaigns I really remember [are] the ones that have a touch of humor,” Mary Jane Gibson says of bringing cannabis advocacy and comedy together. “That’s how you lodge something in someone’s brain, when you make them laugh no matter what the subject.”
The Emjays Hosts Mike Glazer And Mary Jane Gibson On The Awards, Creativity, And Cannabis
In that spirit, Gibson and Glazer sat down with Honeysuckle to spill the beans about hosting the Emjays. While they did divulge some secrets we can’t reveal just yet – you have to go to the award show for that! – the conversation was full of humanity, artistic insight, how to decode tenting one’s fingers, and of course laughter. And yes, Mike, we’re loving that you got new jeans.
HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: How did the Emjays hosting gig come about?
MARY JANE GIBSON: I believe that James [Zachodni] and Dave [Tran] at Farechild thought of us because we have all just known each other for a long time… I was the culture editor at High Times back when they were founders of Dope Magazine, and Mike was making cool stuff [like] viral videos with Snoop Dogg… We were all in the mix in the cannabis world making fun things happen.
MIKE GLAZER: Mary Jane and I, we try to educate through entertainment and comedy, and I can’t think of a better way to host an award show than to be funny and big. [There are] a lot of surprises and laughs, but it’s also serious because these people are there to win awards and represent their businesses. I think we straddle that line quite perfectly when it comes to our ability as hosts.
GIBSON: In the first phone call, they said that our names had come up in a bunch of meetings and it was just a huge honor to be thought of. But also it really did feel like a good fit because of the length of our association, our ties in the industry over a long period of being in the space. And Mike and I work hard at being funny professionally.
HONEYSUCKLE: How has it been preparing for the Emjays as hosts? Are you putting in spaces for improv, or do you have more of a structure with the program that you need to follow?
GIBSON: We have been working together almost every day, meeting to write and then take a break and go on a walk, smoke a joint and brainstorm, then come back and write, have a snack, brainstorm and write some more. It’s been so much fun. I’m so excited for everyone to see what we’ve come up with because Farechild has given us free rein to make the biggest set pieces and ideas come true. I think the audience is going to be really surprised. This isn’t just two people standing on a stage. It’s going to be a little wild.
HONEYSUCKLE: So you were allowed to design the run of show in a sense?
GLAZER: The people that we and Farechild are working with, they’re such pros. When they said “Shoot for the moon,” we were like, “Okay, but I think we shot past the moon.” And they were still open to it. We have a huge LED screen behind us for the whole show, and we’re like, “Okay, let’s use the lights [and] sound. Let’s use this huge screen and really make a show. Let’s go.”
GIBSON: Make a funny show that is honoring the people who are obviously there to accept awards, but also hopefully to be entertained. We looked at big awards shows like the Oscars, where there are huge numbers and a spectacle and funny moments that are scripted. Mike is probably going to do some crowd work too, ‘cause he’s a comedian. I’m going to stick to the script; I’m rehearsing. That’s how I do.
GLAZER: I’ve never learned a line in my life.
GIBSON: We have a very fully outlined show that, if all goes according to plan, is going to be the best time.
HONEYSUCKLE: But of course you’re not allowed to see the winners beforehand.
GLAZER: No idea.
GIBSON: No, it’s going to be like the Oscars. We might say the wrong name at one point.
GLAZER: I might get slapped.
HONEYSUCKLE: (Laughs) Hopefully not! Cannabis is such a loving industry.
GLAZER: Oh yeah, instead of getting slapped, someone walks up onstage and gives me a hug.
GIBSON: Just a big old cuddle puddle onstage.
HONEYSUCKLE: How does cannabis work with your own creative processes?
GLAZER: I need community around me to be my most creative when I’m high. So the fact that I can smoke weed and sit across from Mary Jane, or go on a walk and talk with Mary Jane, then all parts of my brain are firing and weed is sending sparklers to each of them. If I just sit by myself, smoke a joint and sit in front of my computer to work, I end up on YouTube watching Claire Saffitz cooking bread. So I really need community around me to get the most out of it.
GIBSON: For me, my focus can get out of hand when I start thinking too far ahead or reexamining what I just did and worrying over it, or self-editing. The way that cannabis just keeps me fully in the moment, unlocks an ability to play and not judge myself. That has been so critical because my inner critic is very loud sometimes, and cannabis just puts a little muffler on him and puts him in the corner and is like, “Shh, she's having fun right now. Be quiet.” And I call the inner critic a guy because it feels like that's what it is. But it's very critical to me to be able to connect with Mike in the moment, and feel the joy that you can truly feel. I really think that the happiest I've ever been is when I'm stoned, because the way that you can fully allow yourself to laugh, to feel alive when you are not judging yourself or really looking at yourself, happens with cannabis. And so that's when my creativity is most unlocked.
HONEYSUCKLE: That’s beautiful. And it ties back to what the Emjays are seizing on, if you look at the categories they’re honoring this year. Because wouldn’t you say that cannabis is an industry that thrives on storytelling and being able to have a social impact?
GIBSON: Yeah, absolutely. And I think that Farechild, James and Dave, do such a beautiful job at every event of theirs that I've ever been to, of whatever that magic sprinkle is that they do of community and celebration. It is really the weed that ties it all together, but they lean into the community sense of it and away from the business of it. [Cannabis] was a movement for a long time before it was an industry. They come from the movement, and you can feel that at their events, that they're part of the community before they're part of the industry, and that's awesome.
GLAZER: And Farechild knows how to turn up in the most fun way. That after-party at KAOS, it’s going to be nuts. At the Emjays, it’s going to be a rager. I cannot wait.
GIBSON: Bring a sleeping bag.
GLAZER: (Laughs) What? No one’s going to be sleeping.
GIBSON: It’ll go to dawn, and then it’ll be another cuddle puddle. I’m telling you.
HONEYSUCKLE: One thing the Emjays is doing differently from other award shows is that it has categories like Podcast and Content Creator of the Year. What does that say to you about where podcasting is now as a genre, as a form of education and brand promotion and raising awareness in the industry?
GLAZER: Until Mark Zuckerberg gets his shit together and quits shadow banning every cannabis account on Instagram and Facebook, there's no other place that we can get the word out and support each other than podcasts. So the ability for us to have the freedom to say and do whatever we want on our podcast each week, support small businesses and people we believe in and not have it flagged, not have it taken down by YouTube or age gate, is a big deal. It’s one of the only places that allows us to be who we are.
GIBSON: Something that I’ve been really proud of with our podcast is that there’s like 50 million podcasts in the world, but so many of them broadcast a few episodes and then fall off. We put out a consistent podcast every week. We’ve never missed an episode. We’re entering our fifth year of working together to have a great time and also be super serious sometimes. We’re very honest about whatever it is that we’re dealing with at the time, and I think people find that relatable. So it’s just been really fun to be consistent through the past five years, which have been such a rollercoaster in the industry, the world, and our personal lives, to have that as a track record. We are showing up, we’ll continue to show up, and that relates to both our careers in cannabis and also our comedic work and podcasting.
GLAZER: And we've had some incredible guests on that are heroes of mine. The fact that they trust us to do a great job and represent them well, and also to have the confidence and carefree attitude to say, “I know that this podcast is called Weed and Grub and I’ll still be on it even though that might not be okay yet,” is a pretty big deal. That kind of cosign from them means the world for us.
HONEYSUCKLE: Because Weed and Grub focuses on comedy, you’ve been able to push a lot of the cannabis-cultural crossover forward. That’s the same kind of normalization and destigmatization in what we see the Emjays celebrating, right?
GIBSON: The joy and fun and celebration of [cannabis], no matter how hard things are, [is crucial]. It’s the hardest industry to work in, for farmers all the way up to bankers. It’s tough for everyone. So to have a great time and remind ourselves that cannabis is fun is so important to both of us. That’s why we like to stay weird and stay loose. You’ve got to be flexible when everything is changing all the time. That’s what we’re both pretty good at and dedicated to.
GLAZER: Yeah, and also, it’s about people. Our podcast is about people. I love weed so much, but it’s the people that make everything possible. With hosting the Emjays, while the categories may be things like tech and banking and law firms, those are still people at those companies, and celebrating them through comedy and our work is what we care about most.
HONEYSUCKLE: I won’t ask you to name a favorite Weed and Grub guest – I know that’s impossible – but who did something that was most memorable or surprising for you?
GLAZER: Oh, my gosh. Thanks to Mary Jane, we just had Reggie Watts on the podcast, and I have been as big a fan of him as I could imagine being. To finally sit down and chat with him, but mostly just to hear him speak was a dream come true. He’s incredible.
GIBSON: That was a great time. We also had Tom Ruegger, creator of Animaniacs… which was so wild because he’s not a smoker or a consumer, but he knew Mike and said, “Yeah, you can come over to my amazing house and see my artwork in person, and I will tell you all about creating these iconic cartoons.” That was so cool.
GLAZER: He invited us into his workroom and the walls [had] all the scripts from every Animaniacs episode. He talked to us by drawing the whole time… doodling on a piece of paper while chatting with us. And he showed us how to put sandpaper underneath a piece of paper and shade it with the side of a pencil – that’s how they would animate swarms of bees chasing the characters. Really cool tricks like that for cartoon creation.
GIBSON: Then David Crosby – we were just talking about him [in our November 15th episode] – because it’s so incredible to have had an icon of rock and roll on our podcast. We met him at the theater right before he went onstage and talked to him for an hour. Just the fact that who he was and what he represented, to have had him on an early episode of Weed and Grub, really set us up to continue to seek out interesting and amazing people to talk to.
GLAZER: Then Megan Rapinoe, especially because this is her final season; she’s retiring and she [got] a Presidential Medal of Freedom. To have her and her sister Rachael on to talk with us about what it’s like to use CBD, to be on jets traveling all over the world, saying no to pills and saying yes to plant medicine was a really powerful, cool episode. I'm excited to see what Megan does in her retirement to further the conversation.
GIBSON: And Trixie Mattel came to my house. That was definitely a favorite… We like to say that our podcast is a platform for conversations about anything under the sun. We bring the weed and grub, and then [our guests] bring the creativity, the topic, the passion of whatever it is. Another iconic guest for me was Philippe Cousteau, Jacques Cousteau’s grandson. My father and my sister were fishery scientists, and Philippe and his wife founded [SeaWeed Naturals], a cannabis brand, and they came on and they just talked about marine conservation the whole time. We can really talk to anyone about anything. I’m proud of that.
HONEYSUCKLE: And then what else are you looking forward to at the Emjays?
GIBSON: I’m looking forward to a bit that we have crafted. I don’t want to say too much about it, but we came up with a big idea. We bought the domain name and are building a website for it that people will be able to visit. (Tents fingers) We’re going to talk about it for an extended bit at the Emjays. It may or may not involve some drone drops.
GLAZER: (Tents fingers)
HONEYSUCKLE: (Laughs) Does it involve the Illuminati? I feel like I should do this too. (Tents fingers)
GLAZER: If we can make it there. Yo, I’d want to be a part of that.
GIBSON: Serious people, when they have serious ideas, tend to tent their hands. So if they're a little bit serious, there's the hand tent on the table. “I'm talking about a serious topic.” And then if you're a little more serious, you tent facing forward like this: “Okay, now I really want you to listen to me.” And when you're dead serious, this is where the hand tent goes. So it's big, big ideas.
HONEYSUCKLE: (A la Mr. Burns) Excellent.
GLAZER: We’re going to hotbox the Vegas Sphere. (Laughs)
GIBSON: (Laughs) Not really. We’ve been informed [the Pearl Theater] is a non-smoking venue, but we will be popping up wherever we can to smoke around the venue.
GLAZER: You know what we should do? Hide Doob Tubes under everyone’s chair at the award ceremony.
GIBSON: Like Sploofs?
GLAZER: Sploofs, Doob Tubes, whatever. Then we can be like Oprah and go, “Check under your seats,” and everyone can “smoke” in the theater out of a paper tube.
HONEYSUCKLE: You’ve also said that Farechild has allowed you to take some – insert obvious joke here – “pot shots” at the community during the Emjays.
GLAZER: Lovingly. But we’re going to try and push it a bit so we can still be edgy, which is exciting.
GIBSON: Yeah, we just finished scripting a bit that we're very excited about that’s a light little roast. It's nice. People will be able to laugh, but they'll also see what we're getting at and it's a good time.
HONEYSUCKLE: Are you thinking along the lines of social justice awareness?
GIBSON: Yeah, we do refer to that, the fact that we're all at this massive industry event with people making money while there are people in jail. We address that for sure. We also were writing the other day and trying to figure out a way to make it funny. I think we've done a good job about the fact that the [cannabis] industry doesn't have to look like other industries. We could build it to look like anything because it's brand new, and yet it is still taking the same track as other corporate industries go. And I very specifically write about women in the industry and representation for women. So we touch on that a little bit, but in a funny way. We're definitely very aware of the fact that it's illegal at a federal level and people are still in prison, and it's not equitable. And yet here we all are at this massive trade show. So how do we touch on that while making people laugh? That's our job. And we're super mindful of it. We've really been given free rein to dig into it in a way that will raise awareness while also making people chuckle.
HONEYSUCKLE: Comedy is equal-opportunity, right?
GIBSON: Yes. I really do hope people come and watch because we're having such a good time dreaming up these ridiculous ideas that make us fall down laughing. We are wheezy and out of breath sometimes when we're working together on this stuff, so it's going to be a good time.
GLAZER: A real Vegas show.
GIBSON: There’s sequins, confetti, lights, sound, smoke. Maybe some nudity.
GLAZER: You’ll have to come to the Emjays to know!
GIBSON: We're definitely thinking with all five senses, and I think that Farechild, James and Dave, have given us license to be as theatrical as possible. Taking up space and making a spectacle is what they've really given us full license to do, and so we're going for it, shooting the moon.
The Emjays take place November 30, 2023 at 7PM PST at the Pearl Theater inside the Palms Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. For more information, visit theemjays.com.
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Featured image: WEED + GRUB hosts - and Emjays hosts - Mary Jane Gibson and Mike Glazer (C) Lauren Hurt @laurenhurtphoto