Cheech & Chong goes 'Up in Smoke'
The world of weed was a lot different when American Richard “Cheech” Marin and Canadian Tommy Chong became a comedy duo in the late 1960s. Marijuana was illegal both federally in both countries and at the state levels in America.
But that didn’t wane their love for the intoxicating plant as they found humor in the counterculture drug scene, as did a large number of people who found the duo’s comedy intoxicating as well.
Now, nearly 50 years later, cannabis use is legal in some fashion (medically, recreationally or both) in 29 states in the U.S. And while it remains illegal in all forms at the federal level, Cheech & Chong are still at it and their fan base continues to swell and grow like, well, weed.
You can see it for yourself as the Grammy Award-winning comedy duo headlines at 8 p.m. Aug. 18 in the MontBleu Showroom at the MontBleu Resort-Casino at Lake Tahoe. The show also features Shelby Chong, wife of Tommy Chong for 42 years.
The comedy duo first blew smoke in the early 1970s with songs and skits such as “Earache My Eye,” “Basketball Jones,” “Santa Claus and His Old Lady” and “Sister Mary Elephant.” And, of course, there’s their iconic phrase, “Dave’s Not Here.”
That early success led to the duo’s first full-length comedy film, “Up in Smoke,” in 1978. The movie is considered a cult classic, highlighted by an hysterical scene early in the film where the pair, shortly after meeting, smoke some Maui Waui bud mixed with Labrador (watch the movie to find out why this is so funny).
That led to two more movies, “Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie” in 1980, and “Nice Dreams,” which also starred Stacy Keach as a police officer out to catch the pair, in 1981. Three more movies, albeit less successful than the first three, followed. They are: “Things Are Tough All Over” in 1982, “Still Smokin’” in 1983 and “Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers” in 1984.
Both men are fairly accomplished musicians, too, and they scored a radio hit in 1985 with “Born in East LA.” However, by 1987, Marin left the comedy duo to pursue a career in acting, of which the highlight was a starring role with Don Johnson from 1996 to 2001 on the CBS crime drama, “Nash Bridges.” Meanwhile, Chong continued to forge ahead with his comedy career, performing solo stand-up.
By 2003, the men decided to get the duo back together. But it wasn’t until 2008 that Chong and Marin finally reunited for a few shows on the Light Up America comedy tour.
But it wasn’t until this year that the duo finally announced its first full-scale tour in 25 years. With many North Americans finally lighting up legally, it seems there couldn’t be a more perfect time for Cheech & Chong to return to the stage.
Check them out and while you do, check out the interesting products and information on their Twitter page, @cheechandchong.