When I started writing for Cannabis & Tech Today, friends would suggest questions to ask during celebrity interviews. Often, people wanted to know who the celebrity would love to smoke with and why.
Viral YouTube series The Dab Roast takes this premise to another level, inviting celebs to smoke hash while answering increasingly difficult questions. The show scored some big names willing to take on the challenge. Actress Rose McGowan, former NFL athlete Ricky Williams, comedian Doug Benson, and many more stepped up to offer viewers a fascinating glimpse into the stoned celebrity mind.
Scott McKinley, co-creator of The Dab Roast, sat down with Cannabis & Tech Today via teleconference to discuss what inspired its inception and how he’s reimagining the series for streaming platforms with Director and Executive Producer Redman. To listen to the full interview, including McKinley’s favorite celebrity encounters and funny stories from behind the scenes, check out CannaTechToday.com/podcasts.
Cannabis & Tech Today: What inspired you to create the original Dab Roast?
SM: I wanted to make something that took people off their kilter. I love making somebody relax enough to tell you the truth. We thought long and hard about what questions to ask these people to create viral moments that wouldn’t hurt their reputations.
We didn’t want to cheerlead anybody or have puff pieces, but we wanted to make something that was real and get real answers and not make it all cannabis. So the softball questions are one and two, like, “What’s your favorite strain?” But once we get into it, after dab five, it’s game on.
C&T Today: How did you connect with Redman?
SM: Caviar Gold hired me to head their music label, Caviar Gold Records. So I started working with Robert Lang Studios and putting a whole bunch of artists together and recording them under our label and putting out a bunch of weed music.
I met Redman on a video shoot with all of these other stars, and it was like a month-long video shoot in a couple of different mansions and a couple of different states, [it] cost ungodly amounts of money. I was Redman’s, basically roommate, or the room right next to him for the entire time we were doing this music video and we just got to know each other really well … That was 16 years ago and I’ve talked to him three to five times a week ever since.
C&T Today: How did he become interested in the show?
SM: I was doing The Dab Roast as a podcast because it was funny and it was fun and I was getting a lot of celebrities to come through. I was building something that I thought everybody would love just because it’s shocking. When we’re playing these at our release parties, we play these in front of an auditorium full of people. Everybody comes and all the brands come out. We have huge smoke parties that we filmed and recorded a bunch more content from all the parties.
At these parties, we play the videos, and about halfway through everybody starts going to smoke and party and leave the video — it just starts getting boring. Redman, we played his Dab Roast video and halfway through it started happening.
He’s in the building watching with everybody and he pulls me aside and he goes, “Yo, we’re not releasing my episode, and matter of fact, you shouldn’t release any more episodes. I’m your friend and I want to help. And I got to be honest with you, this is boring as shit. You have a podcast that is based off of another show, it’s got shock value with celebrities taking dabs, but that is boring after the first two minutes of watching it.”
Redman is like, “If you let me come on, I’d like to be the executive producer and direct and take this out of the YouTube platform and put it more onto a Netflix platform. Can I write you some ideas?” I said write up some ideas and I’ll listen. So the next morning he sent me four pages of director formatted notes, like a movie scene, every single thing that he would change and how he would change it, the focus of storyline, theme, color, and music; he went deep. I read every single note. So I called him back and I was like, “Let’s take a run at it your way.”
C&T Today: How does this iteration differ from the original?
SM: We have two brands featured with five segments and we still have a celebrity taking five dabs, answering five questions. That gives us 15 segments. And in between those segments we have The Dab Roast, which is two comedians taking dabs and roasting each other brutally. It’s hilarious.
Then all of the party footage of just extreme cannabis, giant dabs, crazy brands, all kinds of stuff. So it’s just the extreme of cannabis culture. We’re showing you all the extreme content, but in between we have 15 segments of educational and entertaining stuff. We would consider ourselves the adult version of Sesame Street where we have short attention spans and a lot of content, with 15 main segments in every episode.
C&T Today: You’ve got this footage filmed, are you pitching it to streaming platforms now?
SM: We’re putting the pilots together based on two brands for every episode. We want three episodes as pilots in order to give whatever brand picks us up enough runway to run it while we go get more. We’re going to Netflix first because Redman currently is working with Netflix. He has people there willing to look at it as soon as we get the three pilots done.
In the meantime, we want more fresh content, so we decided to throw a festival together called the Cantanna Fest. We are filming everything we can, building off this first year of our festival that we just pulled off with Tech N9ne headlining.
This year was our test run of a festival. Now for August of 2024, we have three days at Franklin Farms in Snohomish Washington with four stages featuring 93 artists and a car show … We’re hustling and working on trying to get the pilots done so that we can go to a network and say, “Here are the pilots. We have this big festival to keep the content going. Will you buy the pilots and fund us to keep filming this festival and more brands and more celebrities taking dabs?”
We’re going to have a whole lineup of 93 celebrities and artists at this festival that we can get to do The Dab Roast, get them doing a five-dab session with us, and just build a bunch of episodes fast. We’ve set ourselves up content-wise for success where we have a lot of content in the vault. It’s going to rock the world because nobody has released content like this.
This article first appeared in Volume 5 Issue 3 of Cannabis & Tech Today. Read the full issue here.