November 14, 2016 Cheech & Chong Light Up The Paramount Huntington, NY 11-4-16
The comedic act Cheech & Chong are synonymous with the Cannabis Culture and have been making people laugh for over four decades now. A Grammy Award winning Comedy duo, consisting of Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong, they met in the late 1960’ in Vancouver, British Columbia, where Chong was living as a Canadian citizen. Cheech had moved there from Southern California to avoid the draft at the height of the Vietnam War and the two paired up to perform stand-up shows and soon released many successful Comedy records, and starred in a series of movies. This list of work included the successful release of their first feature-length movie in 1978, Up in Smoke, which later became a cult classic.
Releasing the album Get Out of My Room in 1985, which included the hit song “Born in East L.A,” immediately after the release of the album, Cheech separated himself from the duo to pursue what would become a very successful solo career. After their parting, the two spent years without working together, but their paths would cross again in 1992 when they worked together, voicing characters in the animated film FernGully: The Last Rainforest. Then, in 1997, Chong made an appearance on Marin’s television series Nash Bridges. Working together here and there through the 2000s, in 2008 Cheech & Chong joined together for the Light Up America Comedy Tour, have been working together ever since. Taking the best of their Comedy routines on tour in 2016, they made a stop at The Paramount in Huntington, New York on the evening of Friday, November 4th. An exciting way to start the weekend, a line formed outside the doors with fans of all ages, from the very young to the very mature who were already smiling and laughing among themselves while they talked about their favorite Cheech & Chong movie scenes.
Warming up the crowd, Shelby Chong took the stage first. Having been married to Tommy Chong since 1975, she is well known for co-staring in Cheech and Chong’s movies, including 1980’s Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie, 1981’s Nice Dreams, and 1982’s Things Are Tough All Over, as well as for live stage performances with her husband. She is also known as an accomplished producer, and she was associate producer for Cheech and Chong’s 1981 film, Still Smokin’, and 1984’s Cheech & Chong’s The Corsican Brothers. Stepping onto the comedy stage in 1996 during Tommy Chong’s world tour, as a show opener, Shelby has toured with him ever since.
With grace and dignity, Shelby Chong walked out on stage with a stunning smile, wearing a stylish dress and high heels. Bringing her own brand of raunchy humor, she had the audience laughing within seconds. She joked about things she knew best, life with her husband, and made light of the time he was arrested. As expected, she also had her fair share of marijuana related jokes. For just over ten minutes, she had the crowd in stitches, proving she was the perfect act to set the mood for the night.
As her set came to an end, she introduced Cheech & Chong, as they walked out on stage to a roar of cheering and hollering. Shelby Chong remained on the stage with them during the first segment of the show, she would introduce frequently asked questions from fans for the duo to answer. They discussed their long careers both together and apart, including Cheech’s long list of movies and television shows, as well as Chong’s unfortunate sentencing and jail time, but it was all said in a way to keep fans laughing.
After the three of them briefly left the stage, Cheech & Chong returned, in a costume change, and they did a bit of their routine “Dave,” off of their 1971 self-titled debut album. When the line “Dave’s not here” came up, audience members shouted it out along with them. Shortly after, Shelby Chong returned to the stage long enough for the duo to leave and return in another costume change. This time treating the fans to the “Driving Scene” from Up In Smoke, again audience members joining in of the line “Am I driving ok?” making for a very interactive show.
With Shelby Chong returning to the stage, she joked about how they want to start a television network called THC, where they would have all kinds of shows including cooking shows, this garnished her with loads of laughter. With the duo’s return, Cheech chimed in and said he wanted to start a new social media site, a combination of Myspace and Facebook, he would call it “Getoffmyface.com.” With that, Shelby Chong left, and the music began with “Basketball Jones,” from their 1973’s Los Cochinos. Following up, they played “Me And My Old Lady,” a song from their 1982 movie Things Are Tough All Over, before “Save The Whales,” and then Tommy Chong’s “Does Your Mama Know About Me.”
After the fun music segment, Tommy Chong remained on the stage and did some of his own standup, including his feeling on the legalization of marijuana, encouraging fans to “Vote pot legal” in 2016’s elections, which was met with a roar of cheers. Side note, on November 8th, in the state of California, recreational marijuana was legalized. After this, Chong left the stage and Cheech returned to do the standup of Red Hickey, treating the fans to some more music, first Chong, as Blind Melon Chitlin, who played “Down Home Blues,” then Cheech, as Alice Bowie, played the crowd favorite, “Earache My Eye.”
With the audience all pumped up from the last song, Tommy Chong returned to do more stand up, but before he concluded, he asked Cheech to join him back on stage. This was prior to the Comedy team closing out the evening with more of their fun songs. First, it was the sing-along “Born in East L.A.,” and once that song ended, Cheech announced, “This is the song of my people!” and they played “Mexican Americans,” a song from Next Movie. Having everyone smiling and laughing, they ended on high with “Get It Legal” as fans chanted along to the words.
A colorful stage show from start to finish, Cheech and Chong proved that they are still a Comedy duo to be reckoned with. Their Comedy is simply timeless, as it has transcended through generations. As much as it is a joy to watch their movies, or listen to their records, seeing them bring their Comedy to life in a personal setting such as this cannot be beat.