Psychedelic comedy show with Shane Mauss, Tues. Nov. 22

Shane Mauss performs Conan, Episode 0408, May 02, 2013 Meghan Sinclair/Conaco, LLC for TBS

Shane Mauss performs
Conan, Episode 0408, May 02, 2013
Meghan Sinclair/Conaco, LLC for TBS

Shane Mauss’ A Good Trip comes to Portland

Shane Mauss delivers more than just jokes about psychedelics. As a comedian who only recently came out of the hallucinogenic closet, he uses his show to help legitimize psychedelics as valuable tools to recover from depression, addiction, and other psycho-spiritual maladies of modern life.

“Psychedelics have always been a part of my act,” said Mauss. “I remember being chronically depressed as early as nine years old. When I started using psychedelics later in life I began coming out of that. These tools helped me see the world in a new way and be more willing to move forward and engage with it.”

Mauss serves as an ambassador of sorts for the current psychedelic renaissance, using comedy to ease a mainstream audience into the notion psychedelics deserve scientific legitimacy.

In fact, his staggering 80-city tour is endorsed by the world’s leading psychedelic research organization, MAPS (Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies).

MAPS has drawn attention lately for its clinical trials on the use of MDMA to treat PTSD, an approach with an amazing 83 percent success rate that dwarfs conventional treatments.

Mauss mixes psychedelic-inspired humor with explorations into the neurology, history, and biochemistry of psychedelics, dispelling the hippy-dippy identity that defined the psychedelic movement in the ‘60s and ‘70s.

Today, the movement is comprised of many science geeks and spiritual explorers. Academic conferences around the country present research about a wide range of therapeutic applications for psychedelics: Depression, anxiety, PTSD, addiction, eating disorders, domestic violence, prisoner recidivism, chronic pain, autoimmune disease, and more.

Although a search for recovery drives much of the psychedelic renaissance, it also attracts people looking for relief from the “American dream.” As the social isolation, chronic stress, a dwindling sense of financial security, housing crises, national division, and other fall-outs of modern life increasingly take their toll, people are seeking solace in something greater than themselves.

“I talk a lot about the science because I’m a science geek,” said Mauss. “But psychedelics deliver powerful experiences science can’t fully explain. We can, however, use research to trace the healing effects of psychedelics to their ability to help people feel connected with God or the universe, feel part of an ever present love that we normally feel cut off from, and even to feel connected to other people in the psychedelic community. Humans have a terrible longing for connection with others and the psychedelic community serves a vital role in that way.”

Although the science and the psychotherapy keeps the academics and the science enthusiasts engaged, Mauss also finds the topic ripe for comedy. His background in comedy arose along with his exploration of psychedelics, but it never occurred to him to “come out of the closet” until his agent heard him make a small mention of psychedelic use on a podcast interview.

“She’s the one who encouraged me to turn it into material for a show,” said Mauss. “I’m from a conservative Midwest area and I was worried what my family and friends would think. But as it turns out I got a lot of positive feedback from them on the show. I’m finding people are a lot more open minded than I expected once they learn something interesting about psychedelics.”

Mauss is performing in Portland at Helium Comedy Club Tuesday, Nov. 22. Admission is for those 21 and older and tickets are $15. (http://portland.heliumcomedy.com)

Pacific Northwest dates are as follows:

Spokane, WA     11/20

Tacoma, WA     11/21

Portland, OR     11/22

Bend, OR     11/25

Salem, OR     11/26

Eugene, OR     11/27

Klamath Falls, OR     11/28

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