DEA's Raid Helps Fire Up Chong's Act

DEA's Raid Helps Fire Up Chong's Act
Posted by CN Staff on March 16, 2003 at 21:55:12 PT
By Erika Gonzalez, Rocky Mountain News
Source: Rocky Mountain News 
In the 1978 cult classic Up in Smoke, comedian Tommy Chong plays a stoner on the run from a particularly uptight Drug Enforcement Administration agent. But when life imitated art recently, Chong had little to laugh about. Late last month, DEA agents raided the comic's Los Angeles-area home and glass pipe business, seizing the company's merchandise. Chong was not arrested but still seems dazed by the crackdown.
"It shows desperation, and that's scary," said Chong, who rose to fame as one half of the '70s pothead pair, Cheech & Chong. "If I pose a threat, then they're sort of fishing for anything." Chong wasn't indicted in the raid, dubbed Operation Pipe Dreams, part of Attorney General John Ashcroft's national sweep against drug paraphernalia sellers. But the government still might bring charges against Chong, who visits the Comedy Works this weekend. "I feel very lucky compared to what other people have lost," said Chong, referring to the more than 50 people who have been arrested and charged. In fact, Chong sees the raid as a blessing in disguise. "What happened to me has served as a built-in PR machine," he laughed. Indeed, the raid has focused new attention on Chong, who soon may be invading movie screens and bookshelves. After a nearly 20-year estrangement, Chong has reconciled with former partner Cheech Marin and the two are collaborating on a new Cheech & Chong film. "The first day back was kind of nice," said Chong, who credits his daughter, actress Rae Dawn Chong, for reuniting him with Marin. "We circled each other like puppy dogs." The two, who have been working together for about a month, hope to start shooting later this spring. "We're like the Rolling Stones," Chong said. "There are so many generations who still know who we are." Meanwhile, Chong has just finished his autobiography, which will be published by HarperCollins. "It was due in September," Chong confessed. The projects could revive interest in Chong, who aside from a stint on That '70s Show, has quietly toiled on the stand-up circuit for the past decade. "I've always lived my life doing what I want to do," Chong explained. "And after the movies, I was financially independent enough to choose whatever the hell I wanted to do." Chong first hit the stand-up stage as a solo act in 1991. "I remember I had 10 minutes of material, but they wanted me to do 45," says Chong, who managed to stretch his 10 minutes into 20. "It was like riding a bike without training wheels." After five years, Chong convinced his wife, Shelby, who appeared in several Cheech & Chong flicks, to join the act. The couple now hits the road at least twice a month. Chong says the act resembles vaudeville more than traditional stand-up, though there are still plenty of pot jokes to satisfy stoner fans. And Chong isn't afraid to throw a few observations about current affairs into the mix. "You are always going to get laughs when you say certain words, like Michael Jackson," Chong said. And though Chong is eager to put last month's raid behind him, the experience has provided fodder for the stage. "I think I got a good 20 minutes out of being busted." Source: Denver Rocky Mountain News (CO)Author: Erika Gonzalez, Rocky Mountain NewsPublished: March 14, 2003Copyright: 2003 Denver Publishing Co.Contact: letters Website: Paraphernalia Archives
Home Comment Email Register Recent Comments Help

Comment #3 posted by FoM on April 25, 2003 at 11:28:03 PT
Tommy Chong Chat Transcript
April 25, 2003 Visit Tommy Chong's Web Site: 
http://www.tommychong.comComedian Tommy Chong was half of the popular '70s counterculture comedy team Cheech & Chong. Recently, Chong made a comeback portraying "Leo," Hyde's boss at the photo lab in "That '70s Show" on FOX. He will perform stand up with his wife, Shelby, Friday night at the Pabst Theater. Complete Transcripts:
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #2 posted by mayan on March 17, 2003 at 05:14:42 PT
Still Smokin'
I will pay a rare visit to the movie theatre to see these guys back together again! In their movies, Cheech & Chong were always the stereotypical stoners, but in real life they are both hugely successful individuals. I hope they hurry with the movie! I wonder if John "Pee" Walters is going to see it too?Here comes revolution...absolution!!! Blair Party Members Threaten New Revolt: pulls plug on war:,5478,6139590%5E401,00.htmlVoices Unite in Anti-War Sentiment:,0,2881384.story?coll=ny-nationalnews-headlinesAnti-War Protesters to Demand Blair's Resignation: Atta and Rudi Dekkers Seen Together in Venice in Weeks Before 9/11 Attack:'s Best 9/11 Sites — 4th Edition
[ Post Comment ]

Comment #1 posted by boballen1313 on March 16, 2003 at 23:44:26 PT:
Good to see you in there slugging Tommy!
A mate of mine was employed on set for numerous Cheech and Chong movies. He said that the duo was down on hard drug use... i reckon experience does bring wisdom. Keep on Trucking Tommy!
[ Post Comment ]

Post Comment