For fans of the HBO series High Maintenance, Ben Sinclair is practically synonymous with “The Guy,” the laid-back New York City weed dealer he plays on the show. And while a lot of the show is inspired by Ben and his co-creator and ex-wife Katja Blichfeld's personal life experiences, these days, Ben's trying to separate himself from some of his character's most well-known attributes. "I'm starting to grow out of smoking weed," he told me. "I feel joy at the anticipation of getting stoned, but once I'm stoned, I'm like, ugh, why did I do this?"
Ben talked with me about his childhood in an Arizona suburb, struggling in New York in his 20s, what he learned from his divorce, and what he's turning to now that he's smoking less.
If you're new to High Maintenance, here are five of my favorite episodes. I only picked from the last four seasons of HBO for ease in finding, but the whole web series is amazing, which you can find here.
"Dongle" (Season 3, Episode 7): A Puerto Rican man who just arrived in New York starts work on a road crew and starts a flirtation with his bodega guy.
"Googie" (Season 2, Episode 6): The Guy is recovering at home after a bike injury, and after smoking a lot of pot and streaming a lot of television, he goes out for a walk.
"M.A.S.H." (Season 3, Episode 1): A wake brings together a collection of people in upstate New York, who join together in an inspired music jam.
"Adelante" (Season 4, Episode 6): An encounter with ex in an Uber pool, and a dental hygienist goes on a date with a patient and then returns to her home in the Bronx.
"Scromple" (Season 2, Episode 5): The Guy and his ex-wife run into each other in a hospital.