Seán Devlin (叶 世民)| Buzz Meter
Seán Devlin (叶 世民keeps his standup ultra mellow
VANCOUVER STANDUP SEÁN DEVLIN (叶 世民) TELLS STORIES WITH A WRY SMIRK. Even when grappling with complex issues like racism and immigration on new album Airports, Animals. — the first-ever comedy release on Arts & Crafts — he’s bemused but never angry.
So where does this laidback style come from? “I listen to reggae music more than anything else,” Devlin tells Exclaim! “Reggae artists can lyrically explore everything from intimate love to violent revolution, all while sonically holding the listener in a calm and reassuring state. This album aspires to a similar form of alchemy.”
Airports, Animals. includes a hilarious story about going to a movie theatre stoned. Devlin’s weed-themed humour, combined with his mellow delivery, means that many audiences naturally assume that he smokes before going on stage. That used to be the case, but not anymore. “When I first started comedy, smoking weed made it easier to get over the nerves. The truth is, I haven’t been high on stage in about 15 years,” he says.
Even though he doesn’t use cannabis when performing, the herb sometimes helps with the initial writing process. He also enjoys running basketball drills after taking CBD, and he describes cannabis-aided gardening as a “profoundly healing experience for me.”
Another favourite activity, as described on his album, is going to the movies. He says, “I love to sit down in a cinema and watch a film on the big screen when I’m high. I have a story on the album about the lengths I’ve gone to in pursuit of this experience. As a filmmaker, it’s very easy for me to overthink while I’m watching a movie. I can get distracted trying to dissect the craft that went into what I’m seeing on-screen. Smoking weed usually makes it easier to just let a film wash over me.”
Devlin’s interest in cannabis culture isn’t limited to gardening, movies and funny jokes. He also advocates for reparations for those who have pre-legalization cannabis convictions, and he condemns the “opportunistic profiteers” who profit off the plant they once criminalized. As a Vancouver resident, he remains a student in the long and fascinating history of pot. “Cheech & Chong and stoner comedy itself started in Vancouver’s Chinatown,” he explains. “The wild thing is that I didn’t even know that until just last year. Chinatown and the Downtown Eastside have such an incredible history.”