The naming strategies of some strains remain an enigma to me, while others make perfect sense. Yet, even still, some come to reveal themselves as they start to take effect.
I went to see Robert again at the 1136 Yuma dispensary. This is always a wise move. I like to call him Doctor Robert, both after the Beatles song (“Ring, my friend, I said you’d call Dr. Robert”) and because he’s the closest thing you’ll ever find to a ph.D in weed (his thesis was on concentrates, I understand).
Now, faithful readers may recall in my last blog, I am an active pothead who prefers sativas with their less sedating effect. You may also recall that Doctor Robert set me onto an “active” indica called Blueberry Burst. This week, he decided to continue me on this magical mystery tour of functional flower. But to say this week’s pick was solely for that reason would be untrue, the real selling angle of this gram was its name: Tony Clifton.
Most people born after the 1970s may not know Tony Clifton, the alter-persona of avantgarde comedian Andy Kaufman. Kaufman’s comedy was derived through pranks and hoaxes, and Tony Clifton was born out of this. Kaufman would claim that Clifton was a real lounge singer he’d encountered in Las Vegas in ’69 and for a long time it was not clear to the public that he was, in fact, the same person as Kaufman. In fact, Andy’s friend, Bob Zmuda would often dress up as Clifton so that he and Kaufman could be seen together.
Clifton’s persona was obnoxious, outrageous, abusive, and insulting. He was often intentionally unfunny and his musical performances frequently bad. While Kaufman was appearing regularly on the sitcom Taxi, he managed to get Tony Clifton hired as a guest star, even though producers knew they were one and the same. Famously, Clifton showed up late for rehearsals his first day, was boorish, rude, and made outstanding demands. The next day he was very publicly fired, and the following week Kaufman returned to work as if nothing had happened.
So, why name a strain Tony Clifton? I had to find out. Doctor Robert made promises to me of it being a “non-couch-lock-active” indica, but as I said before, I was sold on the name alone. I bought my gram and headed next door to the Coffee Joint to try it out in my atomizer and the standard $14 “Famous” rig. I sat at a table with Gaby, Toby, and Michael, great friends, and regulars at the Coffee Joint.
The Tony Clifton crumble was somewhat gooey. It clumped together nicely making it easy for me to break off little chunks to put in my atomizer. The vapor was nice and thick, and I could feel it being drawn into my lungs. The flavor was dark and mysterious, like Clifton, but not unwelcome. It had a strong, but enjoyably musky, almost roasted taste to it.
Tony Clifton is mostly in the head, just as he was for Kaufman. In fact, it’s a very strong heady effect, almost like you’re wearing a disguise, as was Kaufman when he became Clifton. With such an overwhelming fog descending on your psyche, one might expect this to be a less social strain. But it’s not. As Doctor Robert promised, it is an active indica, and a very social one. It didn’t make me rude or brash like Clifton, but very talkative and energetic. I spent a long-time playing ping pong with Michael – shooting the breeze, talking business and science and whatever interesting topic crossed our paths. Returning to the table for more dabs, our little group continued socializing late into the evening. Even after we’d disbanded, I still found myself easily striking up conversations with other patrons. I was enjoying myself so much, I came to a point I had to make myself leave so I could go home and go to bed.
Tony Clifton is a perfect strain for an evening out with friends. It will extinguish the doldrums and bring out your inner-extrovert (if that can really be a thing). Prepare yourself to become talkative, euphoric, and hyper-interested.
In the end, Kaufman died from cancer in 1984, but true to the enigmatic nature of his art, his alter ego, Tony Clifton, continued to make public appearances well into the 21st century…
Kenneth Dinkins is a professional stoner, a Social Consumption Specialist for the Coffee Joint, a citizen of the universe, and a gentleman to boot!