Comedians won’t just be killing it onstage at The HotBox’s BIG Show - they’ll be smoking ‘em. The live series, created by Danit Sibs to merge comedy and cannabis consumption in a talk show format, returns to New York on June 3rd for its most dazzling entry yet. (Click here for tickets!) Presented by the leading global cannabis brand PAX, The HotBox offers everything the modern enthusiast wants on a night out: Laughter, intimate connection with some of the finest artists in the business, and the sweet heat of plant-based bliss.
The HotBox: A Comedy And Cannabis Talk Show By Danit Sibs
Danit Sibs, a self-described “attorney by day, comedian by night,” developed the series in November 2021 when she wanted to reimagine the storytelling impact of live standup. “The HotBox is where I get other comedians high, and then I interview them late-night talk show style,” she says, noting that this format helps people to be funny naturally without feeling nervous. When everyone elevates together, it allows for new jokes to be created all the time, like improv.
Who's Performing At The HotBox's BIG Show?
June’s lineup features a wealth of comedic talent: Comedy Central’s Kerryn Feehan and Gastor Almonte, Luisa Lange (Broad City, MTV’s Need to Know), Brendan Sagalow (Here’s the Scenario), and Remy Kassimir (Betches’ Diet Starts Tomorrow). These innovators will get up close and personal with Sibs - think of it like Inside the Actors Studio for comedians, with a dash of stoner humor. Meanwhile, attendees can also get to know the local cannabis brands serving as the event’s vendors, offering everything from prerolls to CBD wellness products to lifestyle accessories. Mini-J’s Prerolls, oHHo, and Raquel’s Room will provide cannabis education and merch galore to The HotBox’s guests. For those seeking an extra bit of glamour, makeup artist-to-the-stars Kelly Haley of Ayekelz Beauty will be onsite to give mini-makeovers and touch-ups. Plus, presenting sponsor PAX will have its award-winning devices and products available as giveaways during the show, making this a night that canna-connoisseurs can’t miss.
Danit Sibs On The HotBox's BIG Show, The Comedy-Cannabis Connection, And Women Taking The Stage
Sibs sat down with Honeysuckle to discuss the power of cannabis and comedy as a force for good, what audiences can expect from The HotBox’s BIG Show, and the importance of following your passions.
HONEYSUCKLE MAGAZINE: How did your journey into comedy begin?
DANIT SIBS: I guess I had this path growing up. I’ve always been “the funny one” of a group. [After law school], when I was about 30 and living in Washington, D.C., I started taking improv comedy classes. I loved it, and when I moved back to New York, I did more improv here with Upright Citizens Brigade and some other groups. Then a few years ago I was like, “Okay, I need to learn how to write jokes.” I took a Comedy Cellar class and just started doing standup all the time. In my real dreams, I’ve always wanted to be a talk show host… Talking to people comes naturally. So once cannabis was legalized in New York, it made sense, and I came up with The HotBox.
And there’s kind of a natural overlap with your background as an attorney with that format too, right? The legal field trains you to have conversations with people where you can hone in on details that make for great storytelling.
Yeah, and I’m a litigator, so I’ve gone to trial and I’m not scared to speak in front of a crowd. That’s what I think stops people from getting onstage. They’re just too nervous. There are really funny people who are scared to get up and do it. I’m not really scared, I just do it and hope for the best. I sometimes turn off my brain from processing [the nervousness]. It’s just what has to happen - I’ve got to get up there.
But your relationship with cannabis began even earlier, didn’t it? When did your advocacy start?
I started at 16. That’s why my show is called The HotBox. It’s very nostalgic for me. I would hotbox cars with all my friends in high school and college. I’ve taken periods of time off of [consuming], especially during and right after law school, but I’ve gotten back into it [over the years]. Now that it’s legalized in so many states, it’s so much more accessible and acceptable. Once legalization happened [in New York], it was a no-brainer.
I have T-shirts that say “Drunk Girls Text Their Ex, Stoner Girls Don’t.” You don’t do stupid stuff when you’re high. The worst thing you’re going to do is laugh too hard or be too quiet or something. I had a problem with alcohol [in the past] and cannabis allowed me not to drink as much. It’s important to advocate for the plant. The stigma is still very real.
That’s why events like The HotBox are important, because you get to see examples of people in real time who are successful in their careers, pursuing their passions, and are longtime consumers showing that cannabis helps them to be more creative and productive.
It also depends on what strain you’re smoking or what you’re doing at the time. I don’t smoke while I’m working as a lawyer. But if I have a day off or if I’m writing comedy, I definitely enjoy cannabis. And I do have to say that when you’re a frequent or daily consumer, you could have just a little bit without getting high. It’s so helpful for anxiety. You feel calmer, [more perceptive]. I love writing jokes when I’m high, especially on the subway.
How does cannabis influence your comedy writing? Which strains do you like, what’s the process?
I’m a sativa fan. Hybrids and indica I save for nighttime if I just want to relax. But with comedy, if I’m smoking sativa, all of a sudden I’m going to be talking and these funny bits are going to come out. Then I’m like, “I’ve got to write that down right now.” When I’m on the train, for instance, that’s my favorite time to write. I live in Washington Heights, and if I’m going to Brooklyn for a show, I’m going to write the whole hour, hour and a half, that I’m [on the subway]. While high, I’m seeing things in a cool way. It helps with punchlines. It helps you get the funny part right out.
Comedy and cannabis go together. I don’t even want to see comedy unless I’m high. And what’s funny is that my first couple years of doing standup, I was so nervous that I wouldn’t have a drink. I wouldn’t smoke. I wouldn’t have anything. I would memorize my set [which didn’t always feel comfortable]. Now I’m always high onstage because I like to do crowd work or riff. I’ll sometimes tell a joke slightly differently and it’ll hit harder. I’m not the comic that’s just going to memorize a set and that’s it… I was, but now I’ve changed that. That’s why I like the talk show, because I just want to talk and you never know what jokes will come out of just talking to someone.
The lineup for The HotBox’s BIG Show is really an incredible array of performers.
Yes, I was curating comics I like, and these are five heavy hitters in New York comedy. They’re often at the Comedy Cellar, at The Stand, at New York Comedy Club, all the big clubs. And they have [well-known] podcasts. Brendan Sagalow has Here’s the Scenario with Mike Cannon and Mike Feeney. That’s a really big one. Kerryn Feehan is in the show; she has her podcast Only Feehans. Remy Kassimir has her own podcast called How Cum, which is all about sexual liberation, and now she’s on Betches Media’s Diet Starts Tomorrow. These are all people who are working full-time in comedy.
And then PAX generously sponsored the whole show. They’ve shipped products for giveaways and raffles. We have 25 vape pens and [other items], which is really exciting. They’re great.
Through the history of The HotBox, you’ve also been providing all these opportunities to showcase women in comedy.
Thank you for noticing that! I’ll never do a show that doesn’t have women in the lineup. For the BIG Show, I have three women and two men. But I always try to make it diverse with race, ethnicity, background. Nobody wants to hear the same thing. What’s the point of a lineup if everybody is from the same place and has the same opinions?
Comedy clubs [have traditionally been] all men, and mostly white men. It’s changing. But you still see it. I was at a comedy benefit recently that had a lineup of very famous comedians, but out of ten [artists], there was only one woman. That’s crazy. There are so many female comedians who are amazing; how could you only have one in your show?
Is there a famous female comedian who inspires you?
Joan Rivers. She was the leader of our women in comedy. My favorite thing about her - because sometimes I feel this way about myself - is that you can come off a certain way, but you actually have a huge heart and would do anything for people. [Rivers] was so generous, so giving, so caring, such a good friend. There are many people who talk about her like that. And then she also told crass jokes and made fun of people. It’s okay to be both. She paved the way for us.
What else should people “know before they go” about The HotBox’s BIG Show?
We have great vendors: Mini-J’s Prerolls, oHHo, Raquel’s Room. I’m telling people to come a little early for shopping… And then my friend Kelly [from Ayekelz Beauty] is a makeup artist who will zhuzh up people’s makeup if they want. She’s a huge cannabis advocate. Because the show’s from 8 to 10, we’re thinking, “Let us be your pregame.” Some people may want to go out afterward, have their eyes done up, get a makeup touch-up… We also have a bar and snacks for purchase. It’s no liquor, but there’s light beer, White Claw, and stuff like that. Light snacks if you get the munchies.
The other thing that people should know is that I’m going to have a hotbox at The HotBox. I have an individual-sized tent, and I have a blower, and we’re going to hotbox people. You’re going to sit in the tent and get hotboxed.
That’s something I haven’t seen done at an event like this before!
We’re going to do it in a new way that everyone can enjoy. This is going to be our biggest show yet. It’s at a speakeasy in Midtown, and it’ll be so much fun… I’m honestly just glad I get to do something I love and share it like this.
The HotBox’s BIG Show takes place on Saturday, June 3, 2023 at 212 East 52nd Street in New York City. Click here for tickets, and follow @thehotbox.nyc on Instagram for more information. For more about Danit Sibs, visit danitsibs.com or follow @danitsibs on Instagram.
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Featured image: Danit Sibs (far left) is the creator of The HotBox comedy-and-cannabis talk show series (C) Danit Sibs / The HotBox.