The duo Cheech & Chongcomprised of Cheech Marin and Tommy Chongwere among the first comics to attain rock star status due to their embrace of the 70s counterculture movement, as well as their feature film debut, Up in Smoke.
Released in 1978, the low-budget stoner comedy saw the pair unwittingly smuggle a van made entirely of marijuana from Mexico to Los Angeles, with the hotheaded Sgt. Stedenko (Stacy Keach) and his narcotics unit two steps behind. Along the way, they smoke a ton of weedincluding the biggest joint youve ever seen. The rowdy road flick overcame negative reviews to gross over $44 million at the box office, becoming a left-field hit. Its since emerged as a cult classic.
To mark its 40th anniversary, Paramount is releasing a special edition of Up in Smoke on Blu-ray April 10. And, after releasing a half-dozen movies, several hit comedy albums, splitting acrimoniously in the 80s, and reuniting in the 90s, Cheech & Chong are still at it, bringing the laughs to fans across the country.
The Daily Beast spoke to the iconic duo about legalization, Trumps alleged porn star tryst, and much more.
Is drug humor funny anymore?
Cheech: Its making a great comeback around the world.Its riding the same wave of Trump popularity around the world wherever we go. Did you say drug humor or Trump humor? Thats a different story.
Chong: Or maybe not! Drug humor is not as taboo as it once was. Its now a part of eating certain edibles, which Louis CK does a funny bit about. There seems to be a lot more things you can do with marijuana today than ever before.
Are you worried about Attorney General Jeff Sessions cracking down on marijuana legalization?
Cheech: I cant sleep at night, man!
Chong: Me neither. I walk around the house screaming, I want you to border your houses. Jeff Sessions, why are you in my life? Damn you! Truth is, its just part of Trumps folly,which hell have to deal with in his big finale, which is coming. When that happens this will just be part of his negative legacy.
Chong: Ill answer the question. I think all the questions of whether or not he paid her will help Trump with his negotiations with North Korea! I think it might make him at ease with Kim Jong-unbecauseit might give them somethingin commonto talk about.
Could Up in Smoke be made at a major film studio today?
Cheech: Probably not, unless they made it on a phone in order to save money. They would definitely find a way if it had a superhero in it and no story!
Chong: Studios are a lot like Stormy Daniels: if youve got the money, then theyll lay down!
What was your favorite celebrity drug story while you were making the movie?
Chong: When Arnold sexually-assaulted Sly. That wasnt in the outtakes because they only wanted to use the funniest stuff.
Cheech: They paid the highestmoney to keep it out. It was just personal behavior to me.
Did all your co-stars grasp the films humor?
Chong: I think actually they did. Strother Martin, who played my father, wrote his Get a job or Ill send you to the Army speech, which was right on and proved he got the humor.
Whats the funniest story you remember frommaking the movie?
Cheech: We hadsome actresses playing nunswe called them acting nunswho got extremely wild but we cant talk about that!
Chong: One timewe had smoked before a scene and were in the car with the fumes waiting for someone to yell action. We didnt know they were still shooting us so fortwenty minutes they filmed us stoned but in character.
There are conflicting stories about whether you were smoking weed or rolled-up lettuce during the making of the film.
Cheech: I plead the fifth!
Chong: We were smoking a mixture of Indian herbs and lettuce in the big joints. We never smoked weed during a scene but did before filming.
Who would be in your dream cast if youmade a stoner film today?
Cheech: Id definitely want Paul McCartney because hes the only Beatle that Ive never met.
Chong: Keith Richards. I know Chuck Berrys gone but Id like to get him and Keith stoned. Id like to get The Dude stoned…whats his name? Jeff Bridges.
Cheech: The Big Lebowski versus Cheech & Chong in a grudge match!
Chong: And weve got to get Harold & Kumar in it too!
Though you made several more stoner films, why didnt you ever do a proper sequel to Up in Smoke?
Cheech: They were all sequels to Up in Smoke.
Chong: We had a falling out with Paramountand they owned the title. We later did a film called Still Smokin. We had deals at two other studios and I later was given an office at Paramount, where
You once told me you never showed up there but used the office as a weed drop-off.
Cheech: Tell him the truth, man! The statue of limitations is over.
Whats your weirdest recollection of working with Martin Scorsese on After Hours?
Cheech: Watching him flip out when we did strange accents when we did off-camera readings with other actors.
Chong: The look on his face when we drove a van during a scene and nearly hit some Japanese tourists who we werent told were watching the scene and visiting theset!