Comedy Impact Report '08: Live Laughs Leaders
Twenty-five years after calling it quits, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong have fired up the old comedy act with their “Light Up America” reunion tour. Demand was so great that Live Nation boosted their 70-city sked to 100 playdates, adding second shows in many cities to accommodate the crowds.
Not bad for a duo who’s “stoner vaudeville” routines (as Cheech dubs them) opened the door for such films as “Pineapple Express” and “Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle.”
“Our countercultural sense of humor has gone mainstream,” says an incredulous Chong. The pair came to prominence long before comedy clubs were the staple venue and instead honed their act at jazz clubs and strip bars. “We used to hang out with naked chicks, smoke dope and do improv,” Marin remembers.
Things have certainly changed, with ticket sales approaching eight figures as the duo plays legitimate venues.
“When we were younger, Cheech and I would see a good-looking woman on the street, and one of us would remark, ‘Look at that! Drive back!’ Now whenever we see a steak house, one of us yells, ‘Look at that! Drive back!’ We look at meat in a different way now,” Chong jokes.