vulture festival la 2017

Bored to Death’s Jonathan Ames Once Got Ted Danson So Stoned He Couldn’t Remember His Lines

Photo: Joe Scarnici/Getty Images for Vulture Festival

The cast of Bored to Death made for pretty persuasive partiers, consuming booze and pot onscreen during the cult favorite’s three-season run. Behind the scenes, creator Jonathan Ames might have pushed star Ted Danson a little too far one night — with an assist from one of Danson’s Cheers co-stars.

“There was one time – I hope Ted doesn’t mind my saying this …” Ames said during a reunion panel with Danson, Jason Schwartzman, and Zach Galifianakis at Vulture Festival in Los Angeles. “I do! I do!” protested Danson. “Let’s go with I do!”

Ames, a pot aficionado himself, explained that it all began with a camera guy who happened to be using a Volcano vaporizer, recommended by Woody Harrelson, whose pot endorsements you can trust. “So I went into the tent and did this vapor bag, and then got one myself and wrote it into the show,” Ames explained. Then, he brought the vaporizer to the wrap party. “But Ted had never partook – partaken?“ Ames said.

“You’ve never smoked out of a Volcano before?” quipped Galifianakis incredulously.

On an evening before reshoots were supposed to commence in New York, Ames, Danson, and Schwartzman hit the town together. “Ted’s like, ‘You know, I’m going to finally try the volcano,’” explained Ames. “So he tried the volcano, the three of us got really stoned, we walked about two blocks from Jason’s apartment, and Jason was like, ‘Have we been walking forever?’ And Ted said, ‘Yeah, I feel like we have.’ We got to some vegan place, they went nuts and ordered everything on the menu.”

The next day, Ames was mortified on set when he noticed that Danson was still recovering from the volcano. “It was the first time in three years that Ted struggled with his lines,” he said. “It was like I had messed with this machine! Ted always knew his lines — like, perfect, ready — and it was the one day … ‘Oh my God, I gave him marijuana. I’ve destroyed him!’”

“You can see the aftereffects to this day,” Danson joked.

In addition to telling old pot stories, Ames briefly teased the possibility of a Bored to Death movie, but made no promises. “I get asked about it a lot,” revealed Ames. “I did write two versions, and maybe they didn’t quite work, and then I just sort of stopped. And now a lot of time has passed, but we still talk about it, we have some ideas, and getting together again and seeing everybody — the main thing is sometimes when you have those movies they don’t work so well, and a movie is 90 minutes as opposed to a season where we had eight episodes, 240 minutes, and you could really breathe with the characters. A movie’s a different thing. I would hate for it to somehow take away from [the show].”

“You know how to get it done?” Danson suggested. “Tell HBO that Netflix is interested in doing it.”

“I think we have a headline: ‘Netflix interested in ‘Bored to Death’ movie,” Ames said. “Would someone just tweet that?”

Bored to Death’s Creator Once Got Ted Danson Stoned