While the rest of the world is inundated with all things health and finance, given the global pandemic that is COVID-19, it’s important to laugh when you can. Call it fate or divine intervention, but we stumbled across this comedy series ‘420 Escapades’ and it has definitely provide some much needed comedic relief. The series, created by Jabari A. K. Holder, focuses on a group of friends who celebrate 420 for the entire month of April 2020 by getting higher than the stratosphere for the entire month. As with most truly committed and dedicated weed smokers, interesting conversations start to emerge both within the group of friends and oneself, all making for some truly funny scenes all centered around smoking weed.
The 5 part series is a quick watch and will instantly become one of those shows that you watch more than once, simply because it’s easy on the brain. Check out the entire series now on Vimeo On-Demand.
We’ve had the pleasure of recently speaking to the creator of 420 Escapades, Jabari Holder. Check out our Q&A below:
What was your inspiration behind 420 Escapades?
The concept of 4/20 Escapades came from a meme I saw on New Years’ day that brought the fact that 4/20 is an entire month to my attention, and the jokes were inspired by my friends, favorite tv shows, and people that annoy me on the internet.
How much research went into its creation?
My research for this show primarily focused on Brittany and Audrey. Brittany represents a mystic or spiritual philosophy, whereas Audrey represents utilitarian philosophy. For Brittany, I researched how ancient civilizations used drugs, the Yoruba religion, and chakras, and for Audrey, I studied myth busters, shows inspired by Star Wars, and temporal paradoxes.
Are the characters in 420 Escapades based on real individuals (people you know)?
Not really. I took parts of my friend’s personalities spread them across multiple characters, and took them out of context. None of the characters directly represent anyone I know.
Why did you choose an all-black cast?
Because I could. 4/20 Escapades is about a group of friends that get high; they could have been any ethnicity. Unfortunately, representation is still a big issue; thus, an all-black cast comes across as a novelty. I look forward to the day when shows that feature people of color are as normal as shows that have an all-white cast.
What were some of the biggest challenges with film production?
The biggest challenge was time. I was inspired January 1st, and I wanted to premiere the show in April, which meant that I only had three months to write, produce, edit and market the series. I had a short window to shoot the entire series, not to mention NYC shut down the weekend after I finished production because of COVID 19. On the post-production side, we often finished the episodes the day before the episode aired. I am genuinely thankful to the cast and crew for making all this happen.
Did you allow any actual smoking onset? Is the weed smoking in the film real?
No, it is not. Usually, I would love to indulge method acting; however, we were extremely short on time and had no time for reshoots, so I needed everyone to be on their A+ game. They were smoking Tobacco in the hookah and CBD in the vape pens.
How has your company Just A Kreation in a Box Productions helped other artists and individuals promote their creative vision?
Just A Kreation in a Box offers photography videography cinematography to artists individuals and businesses looking to capture their vision. On my last production, I helped cast the short action film Revolvr, and I’m currently working on a pilot for series called Peaches that’s a coming of age story for four women growing up in queens.
Have you ever smoked weed, and if so, what was your first time like?
The universe kind of set me up to smoke weed. I mean, it’s one thing to hang out with people who smoke weed or to go to a university where lots of people smoke weed, but in college, I moved four times, and every time I moved, I had the same weed-dealing neighbor. I resisted smoking weed for a long time until the day my bike got stolen at work. After walking home, my roommate said, “that sucks… wanna smoke some weed?” and that was that. I smoked some weed, ate some snacks, and felt better
“You’ve been given a pot plant. You can’t give it away or sell it. What would you do with the plant?”
As for the pot plant that I can’t give away or sell… I live in a one-bedroom apartment in Brooklyn; I honestly don’t have a lot of room for plants. I’m also horrible at taking care of plants. Don’t leave plants in my custody; they will die.
Have you ever gone to work high, like the characters?
Yes, I did. At first, I was too paranoid, so I walked past my job and sat in a park for a good half an hour before I felt comfortable enough to pass for sober. That was the first and last time I ever went to work high.
What is the longest weed smoking session you’ve had?
I’m gonna say two days. It was non stop weed, Wings Over Washington, and Street Fighter for two days straight. #TheGoodOleDays
What have you learned about weed from your work on 420 Escapades?
I learned how to smoke weed through a hookah. It is my new favorite thing.
Did you find influences in other films for this project?
Absolutely. I was inspired to write the episode about the “invisible friend” by House of Cards. Frank Underwood habitually breaks the 4th wall while surrounded by people and that always bothered me. First, why do some people see this, and others don’t? Frank Underwood isn’t subtle, but only his wife and his chief of staff notice that he’s talking to an “invisible friend.” And second, if Claire and Doug can both break the fourth wall, does that mean that the audience is a real entity within the show, or are all three characters partaking in the same delusion? Maybe I’m overthinking it; either way, I thought it would be funny to see a bunch of people struggle to understand that they got so high they broke through the fourth wall.
Why do you think comedians gravitate towards cannabis?
One time I went to a comedy club, and the waiters handed out the bill right before a comedian was doing his set. I felt bad for him because the bill sobered the audience right up, and nobody laughed at his jokes. I imagine if the waiters handed out a blunts instead of bills, he would have had a much better set because high people laugh more.
How has weed legalization surprised you?
It hasn’t to be honest. The fact that states are slowly starting to legalize it across the country makes sense because every state that legalizes it gains access to a vast industry that employs a lot of people and generates lots of taxable income. There’s always going to be stubborn people who think that weed is evil, but legalizing marijuana has improved the lives of thousands of people.
What will be the impact of cannabis acceptance in the United States?
There will be growth in the industry as people explore the cannabis market. I’d like for 4/20 to become a national holiday, but I think that might be asking for too much.
What are some things you wish people knew about weed smokers?
I wish people knew that weed smokers aren’t dangerous.
What are your thoughts around edibles vs. vaping vs. aiming weed?
I’m not gonna lie… part of the reason why I wrote in the hookah is that I’ve never smoked weed in a hookah before, and I wanted to try it. I hate rolling blunts (I’m too much of a perfectionist, and they never come out right) vapes are super cool, but I don’t own one (yet), and edibles are sneaky.
If there is one thing you could say to dedicated weed smokers about the series, what would it be?
It goes without saying that you should watch this show high; however, this show features temporal paradoxes, meta jokes, and weed induced revolutions, therefore choose your weed carefully to avoid unwanted mind-blowing epiphanies.