In preparation for my interview with Gawker Media writers/professional stoners, Tracie Egan Morrissey and Rich Juzwiak, I did what I felt like every other professional interviewer would do: I brought them weed. Two different kinds, in fact. Pineapple Kush and something that was described to me as being a mix between Trainwreck and Sour Diesel. Although I don’t personally smoke weed anymore, it seemed only fair for Tracie and Rich to get baked before I bombarded them with questions about their hilarious book, Pot Psychology’s How to Be: Lowbrow Advice From High People, which was released today via Grand Central Publishing. Expanding on their popular web series on Jezebel, How to Be takes the traditional format of an advice book and gets it really really stoned, tackling such conundrums as: “How to Be Okay with Your Friend’s Abortion” and “How to Be A Slut.” After spending two hours with them, we had covered everything from their love for Judge Judy to the heartbreak of getting mistaken for Mama June from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.
Thought Catalog: When was the first time you two got stoned together?
Rich Juzwiak: The first night we met.
Tracie Egan Morrissey: At an NYU party. Rich came up to me and I thought he was going to try to make out with me but he just asked, “Do you like Ani Difranco?”
RJ: Yeah, and then we definitely got stoned.
TC: How often do you two actually get stoned today?
TEM: I used to get stoned everyday in college. But now… not so much.
RJ: It depends. Before we recorded the audio book, I got stoned five days in a row and by the end of it, I was like “This sucks. I just wanna feel normal again!”
TC: Tracie, you got pregnant and couldn’t smoke weed for a long time.
TEM: Or eat blue cheese. I missed blue cheese.
TC: How did your sobriety affect Pot Psychology?
RJ: I definitely feel like if we released this book three years ago, it would’ve made more sense. We kind of launched a comeback.
TC: If you didn’t have the book, would you still be doing Pot Psychology?
TEM: Probably not. It’s totally fun but it’s also a lot of work.
RJ: (TO TRACIE) Oh, did you post the episode on Friday?
TEM: No, I didn’t have time.
RJ: Well, that’s okay. We did the trailer. The trailer was, like, a thing.
TEM: Yeah, I liked how it turned out but I was upset about the camera angles. (On their last video, commenters said that Tracie looked like Beth Ditto, even though she clearly does not.)
RJ: Why did you read the comments? What are you doing?!
TEM: I was just trying to do a Q & A type of thing! So, I was reading the feedback and someone said I looked like Mama June (from Here Comes Honey Boo Boo) and that I needed to clean my neck crust!
TC: Someone calling you Mama June is comical. You can’t take that personally.
RJ: Yeah, she’s like 400 pounds.
TEM: I know but there’s always that small part of you that’s like, “Wait, am I Mama June?!”
TC: Do you two ever get recognized?
TEM: We don’t really go outside when we hang out but we were recognized once at the bodega around the corner. We were super high and ordering sandwiches and someone came up to us and was like, “ARE YOU GUYS POT PSYCHOLOGY?” and we were like (very stoned) “yeah…”
TC: You guys are really living your brand.
TEM: We’re keeping it real.
TC: You both occupy similar spheres on the internet but this is the first time you’ve ever written together. How was the process?
TEM: It was really easy. We wrote every single word together.
RJ: We finished each other’s sentences. It was like we were sharing the same brain.
TEM: Two hearts that beat as one!
RJ: We kind of wrote it clenching our teeth though. We were haunted by our word count.
TC: How did the idea of Pot Psychology initially even come about?
RJ: Jezebel wanted an advice column and Tracie was like, “I’ll just get stoned and give advice.” And she tried to write some…
TEM: I wanted to do videos but Jezebel wanted it to be written. I knew it would be an issue though because it’s so hard to type when you’re stoned. I only did it once or twice and then we just decided to film it and I asked Rich to do it with me because he’s fun.
RJ: And we’re best friends.
TEM: In the beginning, it was us hanging out and getting high which is what we would be doing anyway on a Friday night. But then it got pretty labor-intensive.
RJ: At one point, we were doing a video a week and we couldn’t keep up with it. It was putting a strain on our friendship.
TEM: But then writing the book really improved it, which was interesting, because we were sober.
RJ: At 34, it’s really hard to be releasing a book about drugs and have to do drugs. I mean, I know it’s just weed but…
TEM: I will always smoke weed but it does get to a point where you can’t do it all the time. Same goes for drinking. (PAUSE) We just don’t believe anyone should do drugs anymore. (LAUGHS)
RJ: The book is actually anti-drug, in a weird way. We’re basically saying if you do drugs, you get stupid.
TC: Have your parents read it?
RJ: God no.
TEM: I hope they never will.
TC: Why? I don’t think it’s bad!
RJ: It’s not. I mean we do it right. We don’t take ourselves seriously.
TEM: It’s just weird when your parents know you on that level.
RJ: I said “fuck” the other day in front of my dad and it was a big deal.
TC: I’ve read both of your guys’ writing for a long time and I think it’s interesting because you two seemed to have switched places. Tracie, you started off writing confessional writing with your blog Slut Machine but then you stopped doing that and moved into pop culture writing on Jezebel.
TEM: Yep, I hung my pussy up.
RJ: I think it’s just an interesting vantage point. I mean I know I’m being immature and probably acting younger than my age—
TC: Well, how is a gay guy supposed to be act?
RJ: Exactly. And I know that the gay community fosters this idea of having an extended childhood and I’m just not afraid to talk about it.
TC: Are any Pot Psychology episodes your favorite? Or particularly weird?
RJ: There was one time where we got into a really big fight on camera.
TEM: We cut it out though. Rich has still never seen it.
TC: What was it about?
TEM: Someone asked a question about me having kids. And I was answering it saying, “The only reason why I would never have kids is because I’m afraid of getting fat” which I did. I gained a lot of weight when I was pregnant because I ate all the time and was so hungry. Because before that, I had basically been on speed. So I responded, “Well I guess I will always have my pills if I have a kid.” And Rich got really mad at me.
TC: It’s funny because even though this advice is purportedly given from an altered state, it makes a lot of sense. It’s very sound!
TEM: Thank you! It’s really just about being a nice person and not acting like an asshole.
TC: Would you ever write another book?
RJ: Only if it’s an advice book for animals.
TC: Why did you dedicate the book to Judge Judy and Anna Nicole Smith? Does Judge Judy know who you are?
TC: Why don’t you guys just fake a fight and go on her show?
TEM: I wouldn’t do that to her. We respect her too much.
TC: What do you like so much about Anna Nicole Smith?
RJ: Her body.
TC: Her body is shocking.
TEM: In every size.