RIP Phyllis Diller: An Inspiration to Comics and Cannabis

CANNABIS CULTURE – The world is mourning Phyllis Diller, who broke the gender barrier in stand-up comedy as a 37-year-old housewife and inspired new generations of female comics everywhere.

It’s doubtful that Diller smoked pot. Born in 1917, she was from what George Will called “the Falstaff generation.” She joked that for her health she drank a lot of water “and a lot of gin.” In her New York Times obituary she is quoted about doing stand-up, “I don’t want to sound like a doper, but it’s a high.”

Googling her name plus “marijuana” gives a surprising result: a strain of cannabis named “Phyllis Diller” is for sale at the Medical Marijuana Relief Clinic in Sherman Oaks. A sativa strain, I’m guessing it got its name because it resembles the shaggy hairstyle famously sported by Diller.

The torch has been passed to a new generation. Diller was remembered by her friend and protege Joan Rivers on CBS This Morning. Rivers smoked marijuana on her reality show earlier this year and said back in the day she smoked it with Betty White, George Carlin, Woody Allen and Bill Cosby.

Another “domestic goddess” comedienne who admired Diller is Roseanne Barr. Barr was roasted on Comedy Central on Saturday, and joked that Obama could pry her medical marijuana out of her cold, dead hands. She had the last laugh as she ended her bit by singing, very well, lines from the National Anthem. Barr says in her book Roseannarchy that giving up the “herb of the goddess” in favor of pharmaceutical drugs contributed to her famously blowing the song. She is the Peace and Freedom party nominee for President in 2012, on a ticket with VP nominee Cindy Sheehan.

Among those “Tweeting” their admiration for Diller yesterday were VIPs Barbra Streisand and Whoopi Goldberg.

Ellen Komp is Deputy Director of California NORML and a regular contributor to Cannabis Culture. She manages the website and blogs at Tokin Woman.



  1. Anonymous on

    R.I.P. Fearless Dealer.