“Comedy is the ultimate truth. Jazz is hitting the notes that no one else would hit, and comedy is saying words that no one else would say.” ~ Tommy Chong
“Marijuana was a new phenomenon when we started. Now it’s for everyone – doctors, lawyers, presidents.” ~ Cheech Marin
I was lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time. Again.
While I was doing rock radio in Vancouver, Richard Marin and Tommy Chong were creating comedy stand-up in a strip club. Between the strippers’ sets, they would take the stage and riff for 10 minutes. Tommys’ family owned the club so they could work the stage as much as they liked.
Things got funny.
One night I was walking through Bacedas..a swanky 5 room club downtown and there in the comedy room were Cheech and Tommy gathering up camera gear from around the stage.
Me – “whaddya doing guys?”
Cheech – “we’re recording all the bits we do and whatever gets the most laughs, we’re turning it into a pitch for a stoner movie”
Years later “Up in Smoke” was a blockbuster, made for chump change and they were off and running.
As Tommy says in the interview – we got so successful we broke up.
Cheech headed into films and tv work – Tommy did one-nighters and scratched out a living. Tommy then famously got busted for manufacturing glass bongs. He turned his 9 months in jail into a book and a documentary.
It wasn’t until they sat down and talked things through that Cheech and Chong returned to tours and work and fame.
I found this interview hiding in an old file. If I happen to get my hands on the rest of the interviews, I’ll let you know.
This was in Vancouver at the Opus Hotel during their reunion tour. First time back on stage in Vancouver in many years.
Survivors. Going bigger and better than “the man” ever thought they would.