Cheech And Chong Recall Struggles Before Becoming Cannabis Icons

When it comes to cannabis icons, Cheech Marin - who turns 70 today - should need no introduction. The comedian has appeared in classic stoner comedies like Up in Smoke (1978) and released several comedy albums with his partner-in-crime Tommy Chong, who helped make Cheech and Chong the Abbott and Costello of marijuana lore.

But it wasn't always that way. The two once struggled just like any other aspiring comedians. In a 1974 interview, Cheech and Chong recalled some of their early struggles.

"Our first gig as a duo was a 5,000 person rock concert," said Cheech.

"We were unannounced," Chong chimed in. "And nothing is worse than an unannounced comedian. 'Alright, kids, everybody stop. We're going to have some funny guys up here.' [But] two minutes later, we had 'em."

And despite their reputation as incorrigible stoners, they said that they only smoked pot before a show in certain circumstances.

"Only when we're comfortable," said Chong. "Two reasons we'll get stoned: if we need to catch up with the audience...or it's the opposite," meaning that the audience is so square that they need to cut loose to cope with the stiff reception.

In the same interview, Cheech offered a surprising revelation about his dad. When the duo was asked what their parents thought of their career, Marin said, "My dad loves it. My dad's a cop....He's LAPD, been on the force for 25 years. And he loves it. It's made him a hero with all the kids. 'It's Cheech's old man - REALLY?!?'" he added, impersonating some of the kids that have had run ins with Officer Marin.

Check out the full interview - including Chong's classic response to why they like marijuana - in the clip below.

Banner image: Napa, CA/USA - 5/26/16: Cheech and Chong perform at the Uptown Theater in Napa, CA as a part of the 4th annual BottleRock festival. (Sterling Munksgard /


After a battery of tests and misdiagnoses, I was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease twelve years ago, and thus began a long battle with trial-and-error medical treatments. I changed my diet several times, even though my doctors didn’t seem confident it would change much (it didn’t), went to physical therapy for pain-related issues, and took so many different pharmaceuticals I can’t even begin to recall each and every one. My days were foggy due to side effects from pharmaceuticals, such as steroids, that made me feel worse than I did before I even took them.

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