Cheech opens up about his falling out with Chong

Larry Getlen

New York Post

18th March 2017

Richard “Cheech” Marin is best known as half of the pioneering stoner comedy duo, Cheech and Chong. But as his new memoir, “” makes clear, his life’s been fascinating even without the wacky weed. Raised in South Central LA, he saw two people gunned down by the age of 7.

Later, he was active in the War movement and fled to Canada to dodge the draft. There, he met guitarist and owner Tommy Chong, and the pair formed a musical duo that happened to be funny as well. Their comedic banter at the start of their first gig got such big laughs there wasn’t time to play music.

They shifted their focus to comedy and became the recording act in comedy history (at the time). The duo created their first movie, “Up in Smoke,” based on two popular characters from their stage act and albums, Pedro (Cheech) and Man (Chong). They became stoner icons and released more films, but Cheech writes that after a few years Chong wanted sole control of their material.

The act and their friendship faded, and Cheech went on to success with projects like the TV cop show “Nash Bridges. ” Cheech and Chong reunited in 2008 for a tour, and they continue to perform around the country. Their relationship was still frosty at the outset, but years and ill health — Chong has battled prostate and rectal cancer over the past five years — have thawed some of the chill.

Cheech spoke to The Post about his relationship with Chong and other aspects of his life in and out of show business. He turned it into an improv troupe. He came off the road after he was with Motown, and his parents had turned it into a strip club.

He had seen improv on the road, so that’s what he wanted to do. It was great — the best time a young guy could have. Are you kidding? Do deliveries or hang out with naked chicks, smoke dope and make up improv? Hmmm.

I don’t know — let’s see the girls. OK, that could work. .

He wanted to be recognized for what he perceived his persona to be rather than for the Man [stoner] character, but he would only play the Man character, so it was tough on him. Never. We could be having a [fight] and we’d walk on stage and the rhythm would be there.

It never affected us [as performers]. I don’t know why. I think we both psychically decided to do it that way.

He didn’t accomplish it. He was stuck. He’s a Gemini, so it’s a real conflicted double personality for him.

He just couldn’t do it, but he still wanted to cling onto me and control me, and that wasn’t working. Fine. We worked together today.

We did [an episode of] a TV show on Netflix, “Disjointed,” with Kathy Bates. She runs a dispensary. Yeah.

When we first got back together, there was still a lot of animosity, and it persisted for a while. But eventually it kind of waned. I think when health issues come into play, you do another assessment.

He was sick for a while. He’s fine now. But it took awhile to get there.

I don’t think so, no. There’s too many blocks to that. We’re on the road all the time, playing casinos.

We have been for eight years. Yeah. I find that these days, I do it more for medical purposes.

I had this bout of nausea because I had problems, and they tried different medications to make it calm down, but if I smoke pot, it takes that nausea away. And I love to smoke pot. A relaxed attitude toward life.

It definitely affected my hypertension, calmed me down, made me see things in a different light. It gave me a relaxed attitude and an appreciation of a lot of different things without having a negative attitude. No.

Only in the early days — getting it was the biggest problem..
 

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