Cheech and Chong reunited for Riviera show

Abbott and Costello, Laurel and Hardy, Burns and Allen, Lewis and Martin and The Smothers Brothers are just some of the greatest comedy duos in the history of comedy. At the top of many lists is the legendary comedy duo that is coming to North Tonawanda’s Riviera Theatre this Friday, Cheech and Chong in a show opened by, Shelby Chong, tonawanda-news reports.

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong released their first comedy album in 1971 building unique brand of humor based on heavy doses of marijuana use. Their comedy albums led to a series of successful movies, including the cult classic “Up in Smoke” in 1978.

In 2008 the duo reunited for a comedy tour and have been back together ever since.

“I never really left. Cheech left for his acting career. I hung around and did stand-up so when the time was right we got back together and it worked out fine,” Chong said during a recent phone interview.

“We actually divided and conquered America, because if we had stayed together we would have been old news. The fact we broke up when we did left people wanting more Cheech and Chong.“

Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong each were successful even when they were apart so fame and money wasn’t their reason to reunite. IT was all about comedy culture, fans and the love for comedy. Chong views his pairing with Cheech Marin as more than just good chemistry, he sees it as destiny.

“I’d always had partners before in bands, we’d put a band together and it would fall apart. Even before I had a band I had a funny guy I would hang around with and I would be the instigator. When Cheech and I met each other it was very cosmic. He moved to the area where I lived and even before we met he knew who I was. There was a special connection. I believe the forces of the universe wanted us to introduce hemp to the world in a non-violent manner, which we did. I think that was our mission.”

“Hemp is more than just a couple of guys getting high and giggling at each other, it has some serious applications,” Chong noted.

Chong’s career had its controversies. He spent nine months in jail for distributing bongs over the internet when he was caught up in a multi-million dollar sting operation called Operation Pipe Dreams. Some observers felt Chong was targeted because of his celebrity status and that law enforcement officials used questionable tactics to secure an arrest.

Tommy’s wife, Shelby Chong uses the arrest as fodder for some of her opening set.

“I had a big going into jail party in Grand Rapids Mich., where they presented me a cake with a file in it. That was pretty funny.” For three years he was drug tested and never tested positive. In recent years, Chong continues to hone his live act with Cheech Marin, who he affectionately calls his “brother.”

“It’s been a challenge because we have had to update some of the material but Cheech and I are really on the same wavelength. It’s also exciting because we have incorporated a lot more music into the show.”

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