Exclusive Interview: Cheech & Chong Talk Animation, Ghostbusters, Marijuana and more

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Cheech and Chong are comedy legends. Long before Harold and Kumar decided to go to White Castle, Cheech and Chong were busy smokin’ blunts and having adventures while a good majority of us were either in diapers or not even alive yet. Of course, most movie nerds are probably more familiar with Cheech Marin’s various appearances in Robert Rodriguez movies while the rest of the moviegoing public has rediscovered Tommy Chong thanks to That 70’s Show.

Cheech and Chong’s Animated Movie takes a lot of the duo’s classic bits and turns them into an animated flick (review coming soon). I was lucky enough to chat with Cheech and Chong for a little bit about their careers, the transition to animation and something I was always curious about re: Ghostbusters 2.

“The film is a collection of our greatest hits, turned into a movie. We’ve never featured one of the characters before, Buster the body-crab. He takes us on an adventure through the crazy world of Cheech and Chong,” Marin said, describing the film.

Both men have done their fair share of voice-acting, whether it be Marin’s work in The Lion King or Chong’s work in Fern Gully (a personal favorite). I was interested to know whether animation works better with the kind of comedy Cheech and Chong are known for. “I think so, yeah, it works with some of our cruder jokes, for sure,” Chong said. “It’s like doing the albums all over again, those were like animation without animation.”

“We did all the work on this thirty years ago and the animators and producers were the ones who put color to it and put it on screen. We really need to give them credit for bringing this to life,” Chong said.

I was curious, after thirty or so years of material, how the film came about. What was the driving factor behind putting Cheech and Chong’s Animated Movie together? “I wish we had thought of it, to be honest, we would’ve made more money,” Chong said, laughing. “It was friends of my son, the Chambers brothers, who came up with animating our record bits, which they grew up with themselves. It just went from there. They obtained the animation and publishing rights, brought it to Fox and suckered them into it.”

Talked them into it!” Marin corrects, laughing.

“Fox was probably the best place for it, really,” Chong said. “Comedy of this kind, you know?”

“They’ve got the best animation in the world right now,” Marin added.

Ever since seeing Ghostbusters 2 as a five year old, I wanted to know why Cheech Marin was one of the dockworkers witnessing the arrival of the Titanic. My imagination raced that in a fictional Ghostbusters 3, Marin would end up busting ghosts alongside Murray, Aykroyd, Hudson and Ramis. “I was a friend of Ivan Reitman. He called me up and said ‘come on down and do something,’ I asked how much it paid, he told me ‘nothing,’ and I agreed and said pretty much nothing in the movie,” Marin said.

“Which movie?” Chong asked.

Ghostbusters 2. Right at the end. One shot,” Marin said. “It was a favor for a friend, you know?”

I brought up modern stoner comedies and which ones the duo preferred. I was surprised at Marin’s response. “I like Napoleon Dynamite. That one’s my favorite. It’s not even a stoner comedy, necessarily, but it appeals to a stoner sensibility,” Marin said. “Also, The Bible on TV. Pretty good.”

“When I was doing That 70’s Show, people weren’t particularly familiar with my work, you know? Afterwards, people know me as much for That 70’s Show, a brand-new generation, you know?” Chong said.

I asked about the seeming resurgence in stoner comedies like Harold and Kumar, Grandma’s Boy, etc. “Well, we certainly hope so!” Chong said.

“We hope to take over the world,” Marin said.

“We hope to see Arizona legalize marijuana. I think if we get Obama to do that, Cheech and I can retire to the Gulf Coast,” Chong said, laughing.

The movie’s premiere even made use of a green carpet as opposed to the old-fashioned, boring red. I asked how excited the duo was for the premiere. “Very! Mostly because a green carpet means its made of pot!” Chong exclaimed, laughing.

“Follow the green-brick road,” Marin said.

Like so many, I do enjoy indulging in the occasional “get-high,” as my chums and I call it around here. I’m talking about weed, of course. It’s rare that I indulge, however; I do enjoy it. I asked if either Cheech or Chong had any words of wisdom for young pot smokers of America. “Come and see the Cheech and Chong Animated Movie because it’ll be better than smoking three kilos of kush,” Chong said.

May
24
2013
Robert Ottone • Staff Writer

A natural bon vivant in love with cigars, finery and luxurious booze, SelfieRob aims to make light of the world around him while living the party boy lifestyle. From the Hamptons to NYC and beyond, SelfieRob lives life to the fullest.

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