For those who obtained method too excessive and forgot to observe 4/20, now we have excellent news: You continue to have time to have fun Tommy Chong’s birthday. The legendary comic and pot tradition icon turns 85 at this time — yet one more ringing endorsement for the restorative powers of dwelling in a weed-induced haze for the higher a part of 5 a long time. So to honor Tommy Chong, we’ve collected some dank nuggets of far-out trivia, beginning with…
His Band Performed With The Jackson 5
Previous to his comedy profession, Chong performed guitar within the group Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, finally signing with Berry Gordy Jr. of Motown Information, for whom they recorded songs like “Does Your Mama Know About Me,” co-written by Chong.
At one gig in Chicago, the openers had been a pre-fame Jackson 5. Chong later recalled seeing younger Michael Jackson carry out for the primary time: “We had been amazed at this little man that might sing like an grownup and dance higher than anyone we had ever seen.” An impressed Taylor then “urged the Jacksons to go to Motown Information,” and a month later, they had been signed.
He Began Canada’s First Topless Improv Theater
After his music profession fizzled out, Chong turned concerned with comedy and turned a seedy Vancouver strip membership run by his brother, The Shanghai Junk, into an improv venue. Not wanting to fireside any of the membership’s performers, Chong determined to place them in sketches, creating what he known as “the one topless improvisational theatre in Canada.”
He Met Cheech Whereas the Latter Was Promoting Carpets
Whereas Chong was operating his improv membership, a carpet salesman named Cheech Marin visited the constructing subsequent door. As Chong recalled, Cheech was “quick and humorous and uninterested in laying carpets,” so Chong provided him a job with their improv troupe at “$5 per week greater than he was getting laying rugs.” The remaining is historical past.
A Peter Sellers Film Modified His Life
After watching the Sellers comedy I Love You, Alice B. Toklas, during which Sellers performs a straitlaced lawyer who turns into a hippie after attempting weed brownies, Chong and his spouse Shelby, who had been dwelling in Detroit on the time, had been impressed to “transfer to Venice Seashore the place the film was shot” and take up the hippie way of life. “It actually modified my life,” Chong mentioned of the movie. Years later, Cheech and Chong befriended Sellers, who was an enormous fan of theirs.
He Created a Nineteen Eighties Sitcom That includes a Younger Brad Pitt
Chong produced the 1988 sitcom Trial and Error, which “advanced” from a pilot he wrote for a present known as The Household Martinez, about “a former Hispanic gang member who turned a lawyer.” The venture was rewritten with out Chong’s involvement and, for a short time, was, sadly, titled Amigos. Whereas it was canceled after solely three exhibits aired, one episode did characteristic a short look by a younger Brad Pitt.
He Directed a Film Starring His Complete Household
Chong directed a number of of the Cheech and Chong films, together with Nonetheless Smokin and Good Goals, and in addition, oddly, the music video for Toto’s “With out Your Love.”
Then in 1990, he made his final directorial effort with the comedy Far Out Man, about an “ageing hippie” who embarks on a street journey to seek out his household. A lot of the solid was made up of Chong’s real-life members of the family, together with his spouse Shelby and his children Rae Daybreak Chong and Paris Chong.
He Appeared in an Early Nineteen Nineties Industrial for Trails (No matter That Is)
“Trails has nice pants, nice T-shirts. Cool place to buy.”
The U.S. Authorities Spent $12 Million to Bust Chong’s Bong Enterprise
Famously, Chong was arrested in 2003 for the grievous crime of checks notes promoting some bongs over the Web. It was a part of the federal investigation known as “Operation Pipe Goals,” which focused “55 bong makers,” together with Chong, who was solely a spokesperson for the corporate however took the rap to guard his son. The operation reportedly “value round $12 million and the usage of round 2,000 members of legislation enforcement.” Presumably, it was completely price it to maintain the man from all of your mother and father’ previous comedy information off the streets.
His Cellmate Was the ‘Wolf of Wall Avenue’ Man
Whereas serving his 9 months within the clink, Chong’s cellmate was disgraced financier Jordan Belfort. Impressed by Chong’s writing, Belfort determined to show his tales right into a ebook, leading to The Wolf of Wall Avenue, which was later made right into a film directed by Martin Scorsese (who beforehand labored with Chong for After Hours).
He Missed Two Seasons of ‘That ‘70s Present’
Among the best components of That ’70s Present was Chong’s portrayal of Leo, the avuncular denim-clad stoner. However Leo was lacking throughout Seasons 5 and Six of the present as a consequence of Chong’s conviction. This was finally defined with a letter during which Leo reveals that he mistakenly stayed in Level Place longer than anticipated and wanted to get again to his spouse.
He Wished President Obama to Pardon Him
In 2016, Chong made it recognized that he hoped for a full pardon from President Obama, launching a petition that acquired hundreds of signatures. Chong later claimed that he turned down the possibility for a pardon however would “settle for one from President Biden.”
He Was in a Fergie Music Video
Chong made an look within the video for Fergie’s “L.A. Love (la la)” together with Kelly Osbourne, Hilary Swank and Wilmer Valderrama.
He Was Changed by Homer in an Episode of ‘The Simpsons’
In a Season 22 episode of The Simpsons, Cheech and Chong guest-starred as themselves. Chong, fed up with doing the identical previous routines on their reunion tour, quits the act and is changed by Homer.
He Was within the First Season of ‘The Masked Singer’
Chong wore a pineapple swimsuit within the first season of The Masked Singer however was eradicated within the second episode. He later had not-so-great issues to say in regards to the expertise: “You recognize, visually, it was good for everyone, however as an actor, it was our worst nightmare as a result of we’re hidden, and nobody is aware of who we're!”
He Bought Excessive with Three-Quarters of The Beatles
In response to Chong, he as soon as obtained excessive with George Harrison and in addition obtained excessive subsequent to 2 different Beatles — he smoked a joint whereas standing subsequent to Ringo Starr, who couldn’t partake as a result of he was “on the wagon,” and tried to share his “smelly” weed with John Lennon at a celebration, however Lennon refused, citing his perilous immigration standing.
You (sure, you) ought to observe JM on Twitter (if it nonetheless exists by the point you’re studying this).