Tommy Chong Wants to Get High with Paul McCartney
Paul Mobley Cheech & Chong are still on top of the comedy scene after all these years.
The last true carryovers from the counterculture will bring their time-tested comedy and musical routine to Wild Horse Pass Hotel & Casino on Saturday, April 12. Cheech & Chong are as entertaining and relevant as ever -- even though the taboo nature of marijuana has significantly dissipated. Fans can expect the Cheech & Chong they have grown to love, but they also should be ready for some new material from the duo.
There are few entertainers who can say their act has truly appealed to every new generation over a 40-year span, but Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong's fame has remained a staple in pop culture from their original films and albums to projects like Nash Bridges and That '70s Show. Jackalope Ranch recently spoke with Chong about the swirling rumors of a new movie in the works, what is left on his bucket list (spoiler alert: he wants to get high with Paul McCartney), and legalizing his favorite plant.
What can the audience expect from your live performance here in Phoenix this weekend?
My wife Shelby opens the show, and she does about 10 to 15 minutes in front. Then, she brings Cheech and me out and we do a little Q&A where we talk to the audience and get upfront and personal with the audience. Then, we will go into some bits that we've never done on stage before.
We just do all these bits. We have new bits, and I'll do some stand-up. We also do music and have a lot of fun. It works out really well.
Cheech & Chong have maintained popularity for a long time. Do you do anything specific to stay relevant?
We work out and stay healthy -- that's the main thing because it keeps the mind alert. I have kids that keep me up to date with what is going on in the music world and the comedy world. We just do what we do. We're Cheech & Chong and we've been doing it long enough that we can do it in our sleep.
So what do you think it is, then, about your comedy style that has allowed you guys to bridge generations?
Well, we were the first to legitimize pot as a positive substance in people's eyes. We were also the first to show the Lowrider culture where we were never comparing Cheech's character to the white establishment. We showed the Lowriders and the Latino and Chicano culture within the culture itself. We never made a fish out of water with it. What we did is take the audience inside the Chicano culture itself.
Then, on my end, I sort of represented all the hippies and all of the white guys, brown guys, and all kind of guys that grew their hair long and worked all sorts of jobs. Cheech and I were the first to be totally honest with our act, and it's paid off.
Is there any truth to an upcoming movie?
Yeah, we're working on it now with Jay [Chandrasekhar] from Super Troopers, and it looks good. Everybody is very happy with the way things are going, and hopefully we'll start shooting sometime in the summer.
What about a premise for the film?
Well, nothing that I can give away -- I've given away too much already. I was told to shut up. [Laughs]
What projects are you personally working on?
I did a movie called It's Gawd, where I play a hippie version of God. That's in the can and being edited now -- it should be available within months.
Then, I've done a few guest shots on television, and my son and I have a podcast called Chong & Chong. Other than that, I've just been playing on my Facebook. I answer all the requests and letters that I get on Facebook. It's pretty funny because a lot of people say, "Is this really Chong?" [Laughs] And I always say, "Why? What's it to ya?" [Laughs]
I've got a lot of things coming out. We have ice cream, we have edibles, and we have Chong Water. [That's] a hemp water, which I'm very happy about, because it's a healthy alternative to the soft drink industry. I want to get people off their soft drinks and into drinking hemp water, which is much healthier for you.