Happy Birthday: Tommy Chong
Today we celebrate the birthday of… No, not Dave! We keep telling you: Dave’s not here, man! But you’re on the right track: it’s Tommy Chong’s birthday, which means that it’s a good time to offer up a playlist filled from top to bottom with Cheech and Chong’s classic tracks. In addition, we’ve put together a list of five projects – mostly films, but with a token TV series, too – which featured appearances by Tommy Chong that weren’t actually Cheech and Chong projects. (That’s not to say that Cheech Marin wasn’t with him for a few of these, of course.)
1. Yellowbeard (1983): This odd amalgam of British and American comedians isn’t nearly as funny as it ought to be with a cast that includes Graham Chapman, Eric Idle, John Cleese, Peter Boyle, Peter Cook, Marty Feldman, Madeline Kahn, Kenneth Mars, Spike Milligan, Nigel Planer (a.k.a. Neil from The Young Ones), Bernard Fox (a.k.a. Dr. Bombay from Bewitched), and – lest we forget – Cheech and Chong as a pair of pirates called El Segundo and El Nebuloso.
2. After Hours (1985): The idea of Cheech and Chong appearing in a Martin Scorsese is a little hard to wrap your head around at first, but it gets easier once you discover that Scorsese had been a fan of the comedians for years. “It was good, but at the same time it was frustrating having to take direction,” Chong said of the film in an A.V. Club interview. “I mean, I learned a lot about making films from that movie, but it was difficult not being able to improvise or anything.”
3. Tripwire (1989): This film promises “unrelenting white-knuckle action,” but it does not promise much in the way of Chong, who earns a “special appearance by” credit on the box of the film yet doesn’t merit mention in the trailer or within the paragraph-long summary on the back of the laserdisc. Yes, that’s right, we said laserdisc.
4. National Lampoon’s Senior Trip (1995): You will be shocked to discover that Chong plays a stoner who doubles as a bus driver for a bunch of high schoolers on their senior trip. Frankly, the most notable thing about this film is that it offered the world the film debut of a young man by the name of Jeremy Renner.
5. That ‘70s Show (1999-2006): Sure, it’s an unabashed recycling of the character Chong had already spent years doing alongside his buddy Cheech, but, hey, if the shtick ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
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