Chong shares the straight dope
Tommy Chong is finally free to be himself. Or at least a version of himself that's drawn the most attention over the years.
"The only difference between the character I've played and my real life is the amount of dope I've smoked," he says.
And that Tommy Chong, the one that's drawn the adoration of fans from all over the generation gap -- as well as the attention of the federal government -- for movies like "Up In Smoke" and "Cheech and Chong's Next Movie" will be on display Friday, Aug. 4 at The Pabst Theater. Chong performs in "The Marijuana Logues," an off-Broadway comedy smash that, he says, "illustrates that cannabis culture is a thing of substance, humor and creativity."
Chong was originally going to join co-creators Doug Benson and Tony Camin for some shows in the spring 2005, but had to quit because of pressure from his probation officer.
Chong was sentenced to probation after serving nine months in prison for providing financial backing for his son Paris's company, which sold glass marijuana paraphernalia. He accepted jail time as part of an agreement that spared prosecution for Paris, as well as Chong's wife, Shelby.
As part of his probation, he was told that witnessing a crime and failing to report it could land him five more years in prison and an additional five years probation. People have been known to smoke marijuana during previous performances. Chong's probation ended last year, and he's finally back doing what he wants.
"This was the only way I could do (the show)," he says. "You have no protection while you're on probation."
As the title suggests, the show features the three performers on stage performing dialogues on the highs and lows (but really, it's mostly high) of marijuana. Chong, though filling a role originally played by Arj Barker, wrote all of his own material.
"The self-effacing comedy we do has a broader appeal that everyone can appreciate," says Chong.
Chong will only do three dates this tour (Milwaukee, Joliet, Ill., and Royal Oak, Mich.), but would like to do more. For now, though, he's busy with an upcoming book on his prison experiences titled, "The I Chong: Meditations From The Joint," as well as movie and television projects. A documentary about him, "a/k/a Tommy Chong," has been making the film festival rounds.
Though he hasn't been here in awhile, Chong has fond memories of Milwaukee from his days performing in local comedy clubs, both with Cheech Marin and with Shelby.
The Marijuana Logues hits The Pabst Theater Friday, Aug. 4, with performances at 7:30 and 10 p.m. Tickets are $19.50 and $29.50.
Cozen Beguile said: LEGALIZATION, REGULATION & TAXATION! STOP THE WASTE OF OUR TAX DOLLARS!PEACE!
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