Cheech & Chong Return for One ‘Last Movie’

Tommy Chong has his cellphone pressed up tight against his ear, trying to find out where the person on the other end of the line is; at 85, his hearing isn’t what it used to be. Sitting across from him in the booth of a restaurant, located right off the lobby of an extremely busy hotel in downtown Austin, Texas, is Richard Marin. The 77-year-old actor is usually known by his nickname, “Cheech,” and he’s perusing the menu while his longtime partner loudly issues directions regarding where to meet up later. Marin orders taquitos, and will spend the rest of lunch generously offering up his meal to everyone at the table. Sitting right between the two of them is filmmaker David Bushell, who is asking what it’s going to take to get Cheech & Chong into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. No comedians have ever been nominated, he points out, but these guys are as rock & roll as anyone else who’s been inducted. If not them, then who?

If you’ve followed Cheech & Chong’s career as they’ve gone from two-man stage act to multiplatinum recording artists to movie stars, the idea that this duo deserve a place in that particular pantheon isn’t that far-fetched. Should anyone still doubt their worthiness, we’d direct them to Exhibit A: Cheech & Chong’s Last Movie, Bushell’s documentary on the duo who defined, if not outright invented a certain potent strain of stoner comedy and continue to be icons for generations of potheads. It not only makes a strong case for them being the first “hard-rock comedians,” coming out of the same counterculture that spawned a lot of late ’60s, early ’70s bands and doing the sort of hip, envelope-pushing material that crossed over with that music’s scene. The doc also traces their history together, the ups and downs of a storied career and gives them a chance to air their grievances — with their old collaborators, with their critics, and most pointedly, with each other.

Lounging with Legends: Cheech and Chong

Photo: Getty Images North America

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