RE/MX: Video Vaudeville

Cheech & Chong Day

By David Jenison

In 1972, Mayor John Gatti of San Antonio declared August 11 to be Cheech & Chong Day. Cheech is from Los Angeles, and Chong is from Canada, but the Texan city clearly wanted something to remember besides The Alamo. The comedy duo arrived in San Antonio for the celebration, and the mayor met them at the airport with a delegation. That night, Cheech and Chong performed a live set that included a live performance by country artist Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks. (Please tell us they thought they were booking Bill Hicks.)

At the time, Cheech & Chong were on the rise. Their self-titled debut scored a hit skit with “Dave’s not here” the year before, and their follow-up comedy album Big Bambu debuted at number two on the charts that summer and later earned a Grammy nomination (ultimately losing to the great George Carlin). Six years later, the duo established the stoner comedy genre with the hit film Up in Smoke, which the critics loathed and the fans loved. The film, interesting enough, opened in Texas.

The duo went on to make several more films, notably Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie (1980) and Nice Dreams (1981), and Up in Smoke 2 is reportedly in the works. Tommy Chong in particular remains active in the cannabis community with his award-winning product line Chong’s Choice.

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