Tommy Chong has been “America’s sweetheart of cannabis” and stoners everywhere since forming the Cheech & Chong comedy duo with Richard “Cheech” Marin back in the ’70s, but it was the release of their first film, “Up in Smoke,” that gave Cheech & Chong cult status.
“Up in Smoke” turns 40 this year, and if you find that hard to believe, imagine how Chong himself feels.
“Back then, we weren’t really planning on living this long, so everything that’s been happening for the past 20 years has been a big surprise to both of us,” he told Metro with a laugh,
In honor of the anniversary, a deluxe collector’s edition of “Up in Smoke” is being released, fittingly, on 4/20, which includes a newly recorded version of the title song, rolling papers, a film poster, booklet with new essays by Cheech & Chong and rare, unseen photos and more. Plus, the duo has a few select comedy concert dates, including at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, New York, on Friday and the SugarHouse Casino in Philadelphia on May 5.
Metro: When was the last time you watched “Up in Smoke?”
Tommy Chong: About a year ago, I was at the Mammoth Lakes Film Festival, and they played “Up In Smoke,” and I watched it and really enjoyed it. It’s a very good movie.
There are lots of goodies in the collector’s edition. What’s your favorite?
Anything smokable — that’s in the VIP package and only the actors can have that. But I like all the stuff; it’s a fun grab bag of gifts.
What can fans expect from the “Up in Smoke” live shows?
They can expect everything, and we give them everything, the full Monty, as they say, so that’s what they can expect — a full Monty of Cheech & Chong bits.
You guys really introduced stoner culture to the masses, but do you miss when marijuana wasn’t so mainstream?
You know, I’ve never been judgmental, and as a result, I enjoy everything. When I was in jail, I enjoyed it, so I enjoy myself wherever I’m at, so no, I don’t miss those days at all.
Are you surprised so many states have legalized marijuana in some capacity?
Not really. I’ve known about this secret. Weed was legal before the Puritans took charge, and now it’s really going back to what it was before, but we’re going forward with the product itself. The entire world is slowly becoming really stoned, and we do need it for sure.
Do you think there’s a downside to legalization?
What’s the worst that can happen? The worst is happening, there’s a glut of weed on the market. Too much weed, oh my God, what are we going to do? Start smoking it! Get Cheech & Chong in here, we’ve got too much weed in the country!
Will we ever see a new Cheech & Chong movie?
You’re going to get the anniversary of “Up in Smoke,” which is much better. That’s one of the reasons Cheech and I decided not to do another movie. We really can’t compete with what we’ve already done.
What advice would you give to parents whose kids become interested in pot?
If you’re going to steal your parents dope, replace it — and make sure you give them better than what you took. It’s only polite.
Tommy Chong answers 5 blazing questions
Favorite marijuana strain? “Chong’s Choice. It’s a collection of all the good strains put into one joint.”
Favorite method to imbibe? “Chong Bong.”
Favorite nickname for marijuana? “God.”
Favorite munchie? “Celery sticks and almond butter.”
Person in Trump administration you’d like to get high with? “She’s gone, though, but Hope Hicks. I admire Trump’s taste — he does know how to pick beautiful women, but he does have a hard time paying them.”