Kevin Smith Rolls Out ‘Hollyweed’ Pot Comedy Project (EXCLUSIVE)

hollyweed pilot kevin smith
Image courtesy of Michael Becker

Kevin Smith has wrapped production on “Hollyweed,” a half-hour comedy produced by FremantleMedia North America and StarStream Media, Variety has learned.

The project, written, directed by and starring Smith, is set in a Los Angeles cannabis dispensary. It follows two potheads, played by Smith and Donnell Rawlings (“Chappelle’s Show”), who battle a neighboring cookie magnate played by Kristin Bauer van Straten (“True Blood”) and enlist the help of a charming porn star played by Frankie Shaw (“Mr. Robot”), to help them navigate the ups and downs of managing a small business in their quest for profits and the perfect bud.

The half-hour episode was shot on spec with financing from FremantleMedia and five firms with ties to the booming cannabis industry: Weedmaps.com, a social media community for medicinal marijuana users; G-Pen (Grenco Science), a manufacturer of portable vaporizers; DNA Genetics, a pot seed company; ACME Elixirs, an organic cannabis oil company; and RAW, maker of RAW Natural Rolling Papers.

Smith and FremantleMedia opted to shoot the project on spec because there are a number of pot-based projects in the works at present. The partners intend to shop the completed episode to TV buyers in the near future. It may be sold as a one-off or as a pilot for a potential series, depending on the level of interest. The sponsor financing gives FremantleMedia some flexibility in that regard. It’s not entirely clear how active the cannabis firms will be in the production going forward should the project land a mainstream TV home as a series.

The unconventional path to production for “Hollyweed” is in keeping with Smith’s reputation as a showbiz maverick.

“When I wrote ‘Clerks,’ I wrote the role of Randal to play myself. But as we got close to shooting, I got scared and chickened out of trying to act with dialogue, opting to play Silent Bob instead,” Smith said. “Two decades later, the universe, StarStream and FremantleMedia are giving me the chance to play a clerk with dialogue that I wrote. The fact that it’s a dispensary instead of a convenience store makes it even better.”

The show also features appearances by Adam Brody, Chloe Dworkin, Jason Mewes, Hina Abdullah, Ralph Garman and Pete Pietrangeli, as well as Smith’s daughter, Harley Quinn Smith, who plays his character’s daughter.

“Hollyweed” exec producers include Smith, StarStream’s Pietrangeli, Kim Leadford and Dan McCarney, as well as Jana Edelbaum and Rachel Cohen. Liz Destro and Jordan Monsanto headed up production.

The growing world of legal marijuana is becoming fertile ground for TV series. Among the other pot-centric laffers in the pipeline:

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  1. Mike Wernham says:

    and one more thing.. people should find out more about the man before making harsh judgments he is very transparent in his pod casts and his friends the T.E.S.D. boys are absolutely brilliant very down to earth “birds of a feather” is that not testimony enough. thank-you for all the free funny

  2. Mike Wernham says:

    I’m just a lonely little fan from down under, all i can say is great news the more Kevin Smith content on my screen the better and I’m not even a pot advocate, he scheduled Perth in to his tour when so many other artists blow us off and he has inspired me to start my own hobby podcast, big bucket of win working with your kid sir, big bucket of win! #hollyweed yes.

  3. Rumbo says:

    I don’t trust K Smith anymore! He lied about SW and the Juan Juno Abrams Conspiracy it involves Disney Officials at the Highest levels even to CEO Mikkie Mouse!

  4. As an independent filmmaker and fan of Kevin Smith it’s a bummer to see him conceptualize the same show we’ve been deep in development on for over 2 years, not to mention we went to his production company for funding over a year ago. Our show The Green Room also set in a Medical Marijuana Dispensary (but in Hollywood) is slated to film next month and although nobody knows our names and we’re not mentioned in variety, we have spent the last two years building a dispensary set, performing live versions with our cast around Hollywood, growing our audience and perfecting our concept. It’s not what you do, it’s how you do it. This is not a one off for us, this is our everything. Here’s to the underdogs who have to work harder, fight smarter and have endless amounts of faith. Good luck Kevin.

  5. Golden Williams says:

    As a friend of Pete Pietrangeli (producer of Hollyweed). I can personally vouch that Pietrangeli came up with the concept of a dispensary based comedy near a decade ago. I also know that his idea has been spread around Hollywood for some time now. That being said, “Hollyweed” is the OG of the concept. All other projects of this up and coming genre are simply following suite. Hats off to Kevin Smith and Fremantle for flipping the greenlight!

  6. Andy Thomas says:

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  7. Spike says:

    undoubtedly an avowed pot smoker — and, parenthetically, a useless bread gobbler!

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