Like a cloud of marijuana smoke that dusted over the comedic field in the 70’s, Cheech and Chong’s stage show was a raucous, energetic mix of skits, counter-culture references and loads of drug-infused comedic bits that made them a sort of pot-crazed Abbott and Costello. Taking over the comedic scene in the late 70’s their edgy brand of stage humor earned them a shot at making comedy albums that eventually garnered them a Grammy award.
Taking their newfound fame to the silver screen they first made Up In Smoke, a strident look at two pals and their love for marijuana. After several attempts at recreating the success of their first cult classic, the duo broke up in the late 80’s, but now they’re back with a new film, Cheech and Chong’s Animated Movie, and it’s our first look at the comedic duo in feature length animated fare.
Heavy: Is this film the official reemergence of the comedy duo of Cheech and Chong?
Cheech: We Never left!
Chong: Yeah man, this is sort of our thank you to the fans that have supported us throughout the years. But we’re, uh, just getting started man. We have a lot more stuff for the fans coming up.
Heavy: Who’s idea was it to animate all these great skits that you guys have become famous for over the years?
Chong: Well a friend of my son has an animation company and he came to us with this idea about animating some of the skits we’ve done on-stage and in our comedy albums. We thought the idea was great, man. And I think with the final product the fans will be happy with what we’ve done.
Heavy: There’s a sequence in the film where the two of you are sitting on a couch. Speak about the symbolism of that, where you guys are basically looking back at some of your best work. What is it like experiencing it years later?
Chong: It’s hard to evaluate your own work, man. We’ve been doing this for so long.
Cheech: We’re still relevant, so it’s hard to say. We’re still touring. The work still…it still goes on.
Heavy: Just a few years back you went on tour again. What’s the difference about touring now and touring back in the 70’s and 80’s?
Cheech: A few hundred thousand dollars!
Chong: Yeah man, back in the day people were paying one or two dollars for our shows and now they’re paying a lot more money than that. It’s a huge difference. Bigger crowds and more money. We love it, man.
Heavy: Cheech and Chong really helped to popularize the cannabis culture in American film and television and stoner comedies are still prevalent today. What do you think about the current state of the stoner comedy in film?
Cheech: Every movie you see a joint. It’s everywhere these days. There’s not one show or movie you can put on and not see someone smoking some grass. Even films that don’t feature pot heavily have been influenced by pot. Napoleon Dynamite is a fantastic stoner film. Being There with Peter Sellers is another one.
Heavy: What do you think of the current relaxing of the cannabis laws around the country?
Chong: You can’t put the smoke back in the bong, man! My son lives in Boulder, Colorado and the whole town smells like pot, man. It’s great. You can just walk around out there and catch a contact high.
Heavy: What can we expect from Cheech and Chong from here on out?
Cheech: We’ll we’re still touring. We’ve been touring since 2008.
Chong: We’re also working on a new album and a cartoon like The Simpsons called The Stoners. We’re trying to get a deal with FOX right now.
Click here to own Cheech and Chong’s Animated Movie, out now on DVD and Blu-ray!