Cheech & Chong are an American-Canadian Comedy Duo consisting of Richard Anthony "Cheech" Marin (born July 13, 1946) and Thomas B. Kin "Tommy" Chong (born May 24, 1938). Their comedy derives from pot smoking, hippies, the free love movement, pop culture, incompetent leaders (particularly cops) and more pot smoking. Marin, a Mexican-American, was based in Los Angeles, while Chong, the son of a Chinese truck driver and a Scots-Irish waitress, was born and lived in Canada.
Chong was originally the guitarist of the interracial R&B group Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers (formerly "Four Niggers and a Chink"), whose hit single "Does Your Mama Know About Me", was cowritten by Chong (it was inspired by Chong's Afro-Canadian ex-wife, Maxine, the mother of Rae Dawn and Robbi).
While attempting to turn a strip joint into a comedy club (including combining strippers and comedy routines), Chong met Cheech, who came to Canada to evade the draft, and the rest was history. Born Richard Marin, the stage name "Cheech" is short for "chicharrón", or fried pork rind, which is a popular snack in Mexican cuisine.
Cheech & Chong developed a crossover audience by opening for rock bands in gigs arranged by manager Lou Adler, who got them a Warner Bros. recording contract and a string of hit comedy albums. Some of their best-known bits included "Earache My Eye" (a novelty single featuring a skit and a song by Alice Bowie), "Basketball Jones" (sung in character by Cheech as an African-American basketball player, with appearances by George Harrison, Carole King, Billy Preston, and Tom Scott), "Santa Claus and His Old Lady" (in which Cheech tells a fractured version of Santa's origins), "Sister Mary Elephant" ("Class? Class—SHUT UP!!!"), and, in particular, "Dave", in which Cheech is trying to get inside the house after a successful drug transaction, but Chong, too stoned to realize who is outside, tells him "Dave's not here!"
Their success with live shows and albums was followed by a successful film career, beginning with Up in Smoke. However, Cheech felt that if he continued playing stoner roles, he wouldn't be taken seriously as an actor, leading to the duo's breakup, following more "experimental" efforts like The Corsican Brothers, which didn't feature any drug humor at all, and the video and album Get Out Of My Room, which focused primarily on comedy music (and, again, featured very little pot smoking).
Cheech had the most success as a solo actor, appearing in the series Nash Bridges, lending voice acting to Disney movies like The Lion King and Cars, and small roles in Robert Rodriguez movies like From Dusk Till Dawn (delivering a hilarious "pussy" speech trying to hustle people into the Tittie Twister bar), Spy Kids and Machete, and pretty much moving a big step away from his former stoner image. Chong, however, retained firmly in the stoner culture, and his film and TV roles were pretty limited, with his biggest solo success being his role as Leo in the series That '70s Show.
Attempts at a reunion were largely unsuccessful because the two comedians were unable to get along with each other for a very long time, and appearances together in Ferngully and South Park were done with their voices recorded separately. (Chong was also offered a part in The Lion King, but turned it down, and as a result, the character was changed into a female and the part was given to Whoopi Goldberg). Meanwhile, Chong and his wife, Shelby, toured as a team, and their routine included updated versions of Cheech and Chong bits.
Plans by Cheech and Chong to finally unite were halted when Chong was targeted by two American investigations code-named Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter, which sought out businesses selling drug paraphernalia, mostly bongs, and was arrested and imprisoned for his son's "Chong Glass" company, which sold water pipes with Chong's likeness. These events were chronicled in the documentary a/k/a Tommy Chong. After Chong's release plans to reunite resumed, but the two still had trouble getting along with each other, and cancelled reunion plans.
Finally, in 2008, it was announced that the duo had resolved their issues with each other, and would officially reunite, and completed two tours in which they performed classic routines, updated routines, and new material. Shelby Chong performed standup as the duo's opening act. Cheech and Chong lent guest voices to an episode, A Midsummer's Nice Dream of The Simpsons and plan to make a sequel to Up in Smoke. In 2011, they did the voices of two of The Three Little Pigs in Hoodwinked! Too: Hood versus Evil. They often stay active in solo projects as well - in 2019, Tommy was on The Masked Singer. He would also reprise his role as Leo in That '90s Show.
Compare and contrast The Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers.
Cheech & Chong
- Up in Smoke (1978)
- Cheech and Chong's Next Movie (1980)
- Nice Dreams (1981)
- It Came from Hollywood (1982)
- Things Are Tough All Over (1982)
- Still Smokin (1983)
- Yellowbeard (1983)
- Cheech & Chong's The Corsican Brothers (1984)
- Get Out of My Room (1985)
- After Hours (1985)
- FernGully: The Last Rainforest (1992)
- Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil (2011)
- Cheech and Chong's Animated Movie (2013)
- Born in East L.A. (1987)note
- Oliver & Company (1988)
- Ghostbusters II (1989)
- Rude Awakening (1989)
- Mother Goose: Rock 'n' Rhyme (1990)
- The Shrimp on the Barbie (1990)
- The Lion King (1994)
- Desperado (1995)
- From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
- Spy Kids series (2001-2003)
- Once Upon a Time in Mexico (2003)
- Cars (2006)
- Piccolo, Saxo Et Compagnie (2006) note
- Machete (2010)
- The Expendables (2010)
- Tales from Earthsea (2010)note
- Cars 2 (2011)
- El Santos Contra La Tetona Mendoza (2012)note
- Shotgun Wedding (2023)
- Champions (2023)
- Far Out Man (1990)
- The Spirit of '76 (1990)
- Half Baked (1998)
- The Wash (2001)
- Evil Bong (2006)
- Chinaman's Chance (2008)
- Zootopia (2016)
- Color Out of Space (2020)
Cheech & Chong
- Cheech and Chong
- Big Bambu
- Los Cochinos
- Wedding Album
- Sleeping Beauty
- Up in Smoke
- Let's Make a New Dope Deal
- Get Out of My Room
- My Name Is Cheech the School Bus Driver (1992) - children's album, released in both English and Spanish versions.
Tropes associated with Cheech & Chong
- Bestiality Is Depraved: In the skit, "Hey Margaret", one of the things in the porno movie that Margaret (Chong) is disgusted by is the lead having sex with a dog. Also, in "The Old Man In The Park", where the Old Man (Chong) tells the Punk (Cheech) that the Punk could be his son because "I used to fork Buffalo. In fact, you look just like your momma."
- Berserk Button: Cheech on occasion. Unlike the perpetually mellow Chong. Subverted in Things Are Tough All Over, where both play two sets of characters: their usual personas and Hair-Trigger Temper Arab businessmen Mr. Slyman (Cheech) and Prince Habib (Chong), who try to kill Cheech & Chong, believing them to have stolen their money due to a comic misunderstanding.
- Broken Pedestal: Frank Zappa attended one of Cheech & Chong's performances and left because he hated the duo's stoner humor (due to his strong anti-drug stance). Chong, a huge Zappa fan, was disappointed.
- Camp Gay: "Queer Wars", in which they play lisping, limp-wristed space heroes who shoot at bad guys with dildo guns.
- Cool Old Guys: Cheech & Chong themselves definitely apply.
- Subverted in some of their comedy skits, like "The Old Man In The Park", where the Old Guy is kind of a dick (but so is the Young Guy).
- Cover Version: "Earache My Eye" has been covered numerous times, notably by Korn. Hank Williams III also did a notable cover of "Up in Smoke". And there was a cover of "Basketball Jones" for the soundtrack of Space Jam.
- Deranged Animation: The opening and ending sequences of Next Movie feature Cheech & Chong being beamed into a spaceship that looks exactly like a joint. Chong's solo movie Far Out Man has Chong rapping about building a theme park where the rides include Jimi Hendrix's balls and penis.
- Dogs Are Dumb: "Ralph and Herbie."
- Erudite Stoner: Chong is designated as the mellow character in a lot of the duo's routines and films.
- First-Name Basis / Last-Name Basis: An odd application of two opposite tropes that apply to each of the duo. But admittedly, it's kind of required to keep the Alliterative namesake, Cheech and Chong, going.
- Gag Penis: "Blind Melon Chitlin'" ends with Chitlin's record producer J.R. asking about the "ding-dong" he talks about in the song he just recorded:J.R.: Blind baby, what the hell's that "ding-dong"?
[Chitlin gets up]
J.R.'s assistant: I think he's gonna show you, J.R.
[Chitlin unzips his fly, the producers laugh in amazement]
J.R.: Jesus Christ, look at the size of that thing! We'll never get that on the album cover! We could play jump rope with it though!
- Hair-Trigger Temper: The Arab businessmen in Things Are Though All Over. Especially Chong's character, Habib, who frequently Hulks Out throughout the movie and trashes the duo's car after it runs out of gas while Mr. Slyman breaks the fourth wall to explain that Habib is "killing the car". When Slyman and Habib see a film of Cheech & Chong having sex with the Arabs' girlfriends, Slyman gets the idea to make a porno with the duo, but Habib thinks that they should do a snuff movie of them killing Cheech & Chong.
- Hippie Van: Cheech and Chong regularly drive a VW Microbus.
- How Can Santa Deliver All Those Toys?: Chong inquires in "Santa Claus and His Old Lady." Cheech replies that he took the freeway.
- Hulking Out: Cheech does this in Next Movie, under the influence of "space coke". Also, Chong as Habib (see above).
- Incessant Music Madness: Next Movie features a stoned Chong pretending to be Jimi Hendrix...with his guitar hooked to a big amplifier. The entire neighborhood quickly knows he's playing, and even Cheech has trouble getting inside to stop him; the sound blasts keep slamming the front door in Cheech's face.
- Laundromat Liaisons: Things Are Tough All Over gives us an awkward creepy version. Events conspire to put Cheech in a dryer, and he comes out completely naked...right in front of an 8-year-old girl and her overprotective mother.
- Lazy Mexican: As joked by Chong during an episode of This Is Not Happening, this is why the duo split up.Chong: You can't make a rich Mexican do shit.
- Non-Fatal Explosions: When Chong lights a joint in a car full of gas fumes in Next Movie.
- Nose Shove: The comedy sketch "Up His Nose" from the album Los Cochinos has a father bring his son named Jaime to the doctor because he's been shoving lots of things up his nose — including bullets. The doctor tries to extract them with a pair of pliers, but ultimately decides on just using a hammer, and the bullets explode, supposedly also taking the boy's face with it. All the father could do at that point is rejoice and tell the doctor to "keep the change".
- Ode to Intoxication: Their song "Marijuana".
- Orphaned Setup: Not really a joke but one of the "Sister Mary Elephant" sketches has her reading some poem that goes "The sun kisses the morning sky/the birds kiss the butterflies/the dew kisses the morning grass/The (whole class is snoring and not paying attention so she says "Class? Class! WAKE UP!!!") she doesn't finish the poem, but it's pretty obvious the missing fourth line ended with something about kissing someone's ass.
- Police Are Useless: Police are usually portrayed as being highly stupid in their comedy and films.
- The Porno Mancer: Cheech.
- Racist Grandpa: Harry (Chong) drags his wife Margaret (Cheech) to see a porno movie. Pretty much everything in the movie (including bestiality) disgusts Margaret, but the only thing Harry is disgusted by is when the actress has sex with a black man...the very thing that actually arouses Margaret."Oh, he's kissing her with those big MAMBO lips. That's it, we're leaving. Margaret, are you coming?"
- The simple fact that Margaret never speaks, all emotions registering solely on "her" face is quite effective.
- Repetitive Audio Glitch: The sketch "Strawberry Revival Festival" from Los Cochinos has a record player that's constantly skipping in the background.
- Reports of My Death Were Greatly Exaggerated: Chong was twice reported dead in 2017, both times turned out to be a hoax.
- Shown Their Work: Tommy Chong is actually a talented guitarist, and played in an R&B band before becoming a comedian. He Shows His Work in his performances by actually playing an electric guitar, and playing it well. He's also played acoustic and electric guitars in several of his movies.
- Stoners Are Funny: The Trope Codifier.
- Stoner Flick: Entire filmography, except for Things Are Tough All Over, The Corsican Brothers and Get Out Of My Room.
- Suddenly Shouting: The famed Running Gag of "Sister Mary Elephant": "Claaaaasssss..... claaaaaaass.... SHUT UP!!"
- Take That!: Towards the Bush administration during their reunion tours. Also, Ronald Reagan, when he went into politics.