For many of the Gen-X persuasion it’s difficult to overestimate the affect Cheech and Chong had on us in our youth. They were the comedy duo our older brothers and younger uncles were into and therefore something we wanted to desperately be into as well. Their totally mellow doper humor in many ways set the cultural zeitgeist in the US in the late ’70s, especially in California. From their albums like Big Bambu to classic stoner films like Up in Smoke and Next Movie, even to flicks that made things seem as if all the method acting had seriously damaged the final product (Nice Dreams comes to mind). Whether everything always worked was almost beside the point and the comedic duo was still immensely popular when Cheech Marin got a film offer he couldn’t refuse. That film of course was Born in East L.A., a genuine hit for Cheech, which launched him toward a two-decade run in film and television (see Don Johnson and Nash Bridges). The adjustment for Tommy Chong was more difficult, but to his credit he kept plugging away on the comedy circuit until his arrest for purportedly financing an Internet company called Chong Glass/Nice Dreams which manufactured water pipes. Many felt Chong was being singled out due to his name. He did show up as the hilariously familiar Leo in That ’70s Show as a hippie nomad (and that’s what you call dream casting).
But now Cheech and Chong are back together and reuniting for a comedy tour across the US, stopping at San Manuel on Oct. 30. You can count on all the old bits—“Let’s Make a Dope Deal” and “Dave’s Not Here”—with a few new hilarious items. Just go easy on the hash brownies on Halloween Eve. Or don’t, dood. (Bill Gerdes)
Cheech and Chong at San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino, 777 San Manuel Blvd., Highland, (800) 359-2464; Thurs., Oct. 30, 6:30PM. Tickets $40-$50