High Falutin': A Conversation With Cheech & Chong
Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong will descend like a cloud on the Verizon Wireless Theater this Friday night for the Houston leg of their comedy tour, "Get It Legal." On their second reunion tour in three years, or what they remember of it, these men (who could be the last true comedic duo still standing), talked to Art Attack about the finer things: flying first class, the best type of weed and parenting---in addition to why the estranged partners decided to give it another go.
Cheech, the Chicano nicknamed after a Mexican pork-rind, and Chong, a half-Asian, full-subscriber to the hippy code (peace, love, and good smoke), together prove one thing: they're still funny as hell. Note how they take a routine Q-and-A and turn it on its head, much like they did with America's culture, or what it was until they offered up an abrupt counter, then stood back in the haze and giggled at it.
We offer up a couple audio files ('cause you can't deny those distinct voices) and a transcribed excerpt of our talk.
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- On getting old
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Art Attack: On Prop 19, Even though it didn't pass, did you ever think you'd see the day when marijuana was being dispensed to the public like it is today? Medically legal now in thirteen states, dispensaries seem vaguely reminiscent of your renovated ice cream truck in Nice Dreams.
Tommy Chong: We were really ahead of the thing, weren't we?
Cheech Marin: It was always legal to us!
AA: Will you see it legalized across the country in your lifetime?
CM: I think in the next three years it will be legal for any purpose across the United States.
AA: Even in Texas?
CM: Even in Texas.
TC: Especially in Texas. Once they have left the union. In the Republic of Texas. It will probably be the only place in America where you can buy pot legally.
CM: When the country gets polarized, like it was when we first started, and as it is now, the far ends of the spectrum meet. The Tea Party wanted legalization of marijuana. I'm gonna go rebel soon and start medical beer.
TC: You get those ideas when you smoke medical pot.
CM: I need a medical beer, officer.
AA: There was a period of time when the trust between you two broke down. Why? And how did you get back together?
TC: The most important thing was that we broke up in such a way that we left the door wide open.
CM: We had to find ourselves. A comedy team is the hardest thing to do in show business. That's why there are none. First of all, you have to get two people that are just automatically in sync, without thinking about it. Then you have to compromise. We were together 24-7 for 17 years.
TC: We changed. We went got out of the album business and into movies. After our sixth movie, the seventh one was not well-received.
CM: This is the maxim for any comic, whether it's us or Jim Carrey, whoever the current comedy star is, at the very most you get six movies and then the next generation comes and they want their own comic heroes. Look at the past. Where's Mike Meyers? Comedy is the fastest moving of all the entertainment.
TC: Cheech and I always got along when it was just Cheech and I and we had to work. Success really drives you apart. When you're poor, you got nowhere to go. And you got nowhere to go in. You got no ride. I mean, in the old days, if we had a fight, we had to resolve it because we had to get back on the little scooter we had to ride back to the one room that we shared. It's when you get separate trailers, and the separate entourage, and it comes down to little insignificant little crap: His trailer's bigger than mine, why does he gets to park on the lot and I have to part off the lot? It's no green M&M's.
AA: Top Five Types of Weed?
TC: Anything given to you by a naked woman.
AA: Top Five Stoner Movies?
CM: Up in Smoke
TC: Easy Rider
CM: Napoleon Dynamite
TC: Uh...like uh...what's' his name, Apatow's movies, which one Knocked Up? Was that the first one?
CM: Pineapple Express?
TC: It was okay. But the first one was the best.
CM: Knocked Up?
TC: No, one before that - it sort of put him into the thing.
CM: Knocked Down?
(Chong is referring to The Forty-Year-Old Virgin)
TC: See, that's a stoner trying to think of a stoner movie. But the Canadians were on the right track.
TC: Oh, and of course, the Chapelle, um...I was in it and I can't even think of it.
CM: Friday? Burned? No.
(Both are referring to Half Baked.)
TC: I keep thinking Senior Trip but it wasn't that. Did you know Senior Trip won the worst movie award of all time?
TC: And I was in it.
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