International Cannabis Business Conference

Billy Crystal's High Times on Marijuana and Mescaline

In his autobiography, Still Foolin' 'Em: Where I've Been, Where I'm Going, and Where the Hell Are My Keys?, Billy Crystal says he was “just an occasional pot smoker” around the time he and his brother Rip did some “organic mescaline” and flipped out. 

Billy Crystal when he bugged out on "organic mescaline."

The book includes a hilarious photo (at right) of Crystal with wild hair and wide eyes during the incident. The comedian says it was the last time he took a non-prescribed drug. 

Crystal writes that “pot used to make me energetic” and includes an anecdote about an early appearance on a David Frost network special, That Was the Year That Was. "Our sketch documented the making of the first marijuana commercial,” Crystal explains. "I played a stiff Ted Baxter kind of actor who gets progressively smashed as he does take after take, smoking 'the product.' We taped the show, and the audience loved it… What we didn’t know was that the network wouldn’t air the sketch because it was about pot."

Crystal played the first gay character on television on the ABC sitcom Soap (1997-1981), and made "You look mahvelous!" a catchphrase from a recurring skit on Saturday Night Live during his year as a cast member (1984-1985). He's hosted the Academy Awards nine times, beginning in 1990 and most recently in 2012. Crystal, along with Whoopi Goldberg and Robin Williams, co-hosted the Comic Relief specials (1986-2010), which raised over $50 million to help the homeless. He won a Tony for his one-man show, 700 Sundays, in 2005. The audio version of Crystal's book was nominated for a 2014 Grammy in the Spoken Word category. 

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Ellen Komp

Ellen Komp

Hemp/marijuana activist and writer based in Berkeley, California. She blogs at tokinwoman.blogspot.com