Monday, June 10, 2013

Cheech and Chong, The Playboy Interview, September 1982

This issue jumped out at me for two reason: 1) it had Cheech and Chong, and 2) the Behind the Lines in the TV News War--which is a great report on the then current broadcast journalism culture. You can download the entire C&C interview here as a pdf for free.  All the ads are from the same issue.

The C&C interview starts with them running down to a pool to meet 16 year old Brooke Shields.  Shields had two films under her little belt by 1982, Pretty Lady (1978) where she played a teenage prostitute, and  The Blue Lagoon (1980).  Their priorities are to light a joint, and go find Geraldo Rivera, who is interviewing Shields for 20/20.

Rivera is described by C&C as being a long time friend.  He backs away from the two when the PB interviewer shows up with a strange microphone and C&C with an active joint.

C&C say they have a strong admiration of Woody Allen and vaudeville.

Their comedy is in not getting laid, "movies are for laughs, crying, and hard-ons."
If you see enough of their movies, 17 exactly, Columbia pictures will cure your cancer.

They talk about their critics who accuse them of promoting drugs, but they say they’re just telling jokes.  They say their humor has a third-world relaxation element to it directly stemming a certain roughness related to being poor and born brown or black.  

Talks about a falling out they had during the filming of Nice Dreams.  Tommy was directing and it got to him.

Cheech has a Catholic school upbringing and a police officer for a father.  He was a English lit major, thought he’d be a lawyer, then a teacher…. but became a hippie draft dodger who went to Canada.

Tommy Chong’s grandmother was a friend of Amelia Earharts.  She was also the first Chinese woman to fly a plane.  He's from a small town in Canada.  He lost his virginity to a prostitute in Calgary.  He has an unearthly way with women.

Tommy makes an inspirational reference to a comedy improv group from the mid to late 60s, The Committee, that I coincidentally have a matchbook of, picked up at a garage sale on the Island.

Tommy was a musician and played with a series of R&B groups, he wrote Does Your Momma Know About Me?  for Robert Taylor and the Vancouvers.
That's some funny shit.

They were rock bottom broke in 1971.

Troops in Vietnam were writing letters to them saying they loved them and that it cost two Stones tapes to one Cheech and Chong tape by their local bartering system.  Their comedy records were outselling Led Zepplin, Stevie Wonder, and the Stones in the continental U.S. too.

Cheech really admires Richard Pryor as the best comedian of the time.           

They’ve been able to handle their success because they didn’t believe the hype surrounding them.

They talk about playing Vegas, rock festivals, and prisons, not too much different from one another.

Cheech calls LSD “a cosmic colonic, clears all the shit right out.  The great purifier.”

Cocaine made them too paranoid and fucked up their timing on stage,  It also screwed them up physically getting all sorts of nasal and upper respiratory issues.  Marijuana strictly to relax.

They have a real inside view of how Hollywood movies were made in the early to mid 70s, the wheeling and dealing and backstabbing, good stuff.

Tommy talks about how he and Cheech looked forward to doing The Playboy Interview because so much of who they are was still unspoken and they saw the interview as being the ultimate showcase for them, a very much "we've really made it" moment.
So many great ads.

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