Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Cheech & Chong "light up" for new comedy tour

Two of the most famous pot smokers during of the 1970s, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, unveiled plans on Wednesday for their first comedy tour in more than 25 years since their acrimonious split.

"Cheech & Chong: Light Up America ..." will hit 22 cities in the United States starting with Philadelphia on September 12 and ending in Denver, Colorado, on December 20. In between they will play Los Angeles, Miami, Washington, D.C. and other places.

"This is a moment that I've been looking forward to for many, many years because we have such a legacy and history together that we couldn't escape it, even if we tried," Chong told reporters at a news conference to announce the tour.

Cheech and Chong were one of the most successful comedy teams of the 1970s with hit movies and chart-topping records based on their brand of marijuana-influenced humor.

They were potheads who appealed to a youth generation steeped in personal freedom spawned by 1960s-era hippies. At the time, American kids were thirsting for humor that mirrored their lives, experiences and pop culture.

Marin said their humor about doing stupid things while being stoned on marijuana should still appeal to today's youth, as well as Cheech & Chong's older fans.

"We've had the younger audience all along. Every time they get to that certain age, they go through that Cheech & Chong period of watching the movies, listening to the records. So, it's almost like a right of passage," Marin said.

He joked that the pair had considered calling the show the "Womb to Tomb" tour, to highlight the broad age range of fans.

Cheech, 62, and Chong, 70, gained notoriety in nightclubs in the Los Angeles area in the 1970s and released their first album, "Cheech and Chong," in 1971. "Los Cochinos" in 1973 won the Grammy award that year for best comedy album.

In 1978 their first movie, "Up in Smoke," proved to be a blockbuster, raking in more than $100 million at box offices.

They performed together onstage for the last time in 1981, but continued to make movies and records. Their album "Get Out of My Room" in 1985 included the hit song "Born in East L.A." which parodied Bruce Springsteen's "Born in the U.S.A."

The pair went their own ways in a well-publicized and bitter split following the release of that album.

Marin carved out a career as a television actor in shows such as "Nash Bridges" and "Judging Amy." Chong also did a lot of TV work, including appearances on "That '70s Show."

Chong has long advocated the legalization of marijuana, and in 2003 was arrested and later imprisoned for selling drug paraphernalia.


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