Thomas B. Kin "Tommy" Chong is a Canadian comedian, actor, writer, director, activist, and musician. He is well known for his marijuana-themed Cheech & Chong comedy albums and movies with Cheech Marin, as well as playing the character Leo on Fox's That '70s Show. He became a naturalized United States citizen in the late 1980s.
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Let me tell you guys first off that I’ve been the victim of a death hoax this week (
Cheech & Chong consist of myself and my comedy partner Cheech Marin. We released albums, movies and toured the country in the ‘70s and ‘80s. Our most famous movie without a doubt that people recognize us for to this day is “Up In Smoke.” The reaction to “Up In Smoke” was incredible and it is a movie I am most proud of. I directed Up In Smoke, Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie, Nice Dreams, Still Smoking, Far Out Man and The Corsican Brothers. We have been credited as pioneers of the legalization of marijuana and the popularizers of cannabis in pop culture.
Something you may not know about me is that I was also in a band signed to Motown prior to being part of Cheech & Chong and we had a hit record and even played with the Jackson 5 once before they were famous called Bobby Taylor & The Vancouvers.
Recently I’ve been working in my shed a lot making pipes and art in my house in the Pacific Palisades in Los Angeles. I have been out of jail for over a decade after being incarcerated in 2003 as part of Operation Pipe Dreams for the selling of bongs. I was on Dancing With The Stars a year ago, which was really fun. I made a web talk show over the summer and I'm going to be making more videos. Cheech & I are still very good friends. 2015 and the near future is almost like the completion of this plot arc of a movie I've been playing a character in my entire life and I am now seeing the dream of full cannabis legalization, actually come true. It's amazing and we have truly come a long way.
That being said, I want to make sure you know man that I am going to give you no filters here Reddit, you’re going to have to take my answers harsh and uncut. Feel free to ask me anything, let’s start this AMA man.
I'm on social media on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Instagram: @heytommychong, Twitter: @tommychong, Facebook: you can figure it out.
Hey Tommy Chong!!! What was Jordan Belfort aka The Wolf of Wallstreet like? I read that you guys shared a cell when you were incarcerated, and that you were the one to push him to write down his story! Was there anything significant you remember from your time with him? Also massive fan! I love your work, you and Cheech are legends!
Jordan's one of the few geniuses that I've met. He could multi-task like crazy, just a genius. As he's proven now, he's not only an author, he also lectures.
I was writing my book and Jordan asked me what I was doing one day in there, that was how he decided that he was going to write a book. Later on he showed me one page of what he had written, and I kind of looked it over and critiqued him and he got a little pissed off but he listened to me and he ended up writing a bestseller, "The Wolf of Wallstreet." Kind of crazy how that worked.
Given your age and the fact that you have been around for virtually all of prohibition, how stoked are you to still be alive and witnessing the end of it?
I'm very excited. Very excited. I knew it was coming eventually.
You gave my mom away at her wedding! I've heard some stories about the times you spent with my folks. My mom is Andrea, and my dad is George. Might be a specific question but, any memories in particular stand out that you had with my parents that I can relish in?
Andrea the dance teacher? George the surfer? I remember them.
Memories... Too many, it's so nice to hear from you. George played in a band, he was one of the first punk bands that I'd heard. I had heard his band was pretty awesome.
I can't really remember the wedding, I was too stoned to remember.
I'm a huge fan of that 70's show and Leo is one of my favourite characters! Do you have any fun stories from the set? Did any of the cast actually blaze? if so, who?
Thanks in advance!
Nobody in the cast smoked...with me, at least. However, I would get high with all the cameramen a lot.
The producers and Katie Couric were talking while we were filming and I went over to them to ask them to quiet down. We weren't actually filming and I just wanted them to be quiet because they were loud. Same thing happened in prison. I was shooting a documentary in prison and the warden let us shoot the documentary in there and while we were shooting I peaked my head out the cell and asked everyone if they could quiet down. That time I was actually filming, and it worked then too. The power of cinema really does affect every part of the world.
I enjoy listening to you every Saturday morning on NPR. How do you know so much about cars?
Because I've hotboxed most vehicles in production from 1960-2015.
Next to marijuana, what would you say your biggest vice is?
My wife Shelby.
I was cleaning out my closet the other day and found this:
I had bought this with every intention to use the paper about 10 years ago but never found enough friends to contribute. I would love to see the doobie this thing could roll and I doubt I will ever find that drive again but I could think of no better person to pass it along to than you. So my question is simple, would you like me to send you it?
Yes. Absolutely. Please send it to me. I'll smoke it with you next time you're here.
What happened to the photo hut business man?
It's coming back. Oh wow.
It died with the show :(
You know it. I play my cards right.
Is anyone else reading EVERY post by by him in his voice?
Do you have a special plan for the day change is enacted nation-wide?
Smoke a shit ton of weed. That was easy.
Has someone ever outsmoked you? if so who?
Let's see...who's outsmoked me...
Mike Stetler from Pueblo Colorado and he owns Marisol Therapeutics, a cannabis dispensary. He knows what he's doing.
How are you so cool? Any tips?
Smoke a ton of weed.
Hi Tommy, with all the people you've known (Michael Jackson, Jordan Belfort among the many) and places you've been, I think you should replace the Dos Equis guy as the most interesting man in the world. Anyway, my question is: Who is the most interesting person you have ever met? And why?
That's a difficult one... I've been around for a while and I've definitely met a lot of people in strange places, but I've got a good story about Jimi Hendrix, who I think is one of the most interesting people I've ever met.
He was so mysterious, and so far ahead of everybody in his industry, but so humble. So humble. I met him because he wanted to sit in with the band I was in, Bobby Taylor and the Vancouvers, and he came to the club when we were in England and the club was empty and the door opened and Jimi walked in and there was about 300 people behind him.
He walked up to the stage and he called me by name, he said "Hey Tommy," I handed him my guitar but he only played left handed guitar, and I was right handed, but he could play a right handed bass despite all that. We played the show and then we partied after, at the hotel room. He spent a long time in the bathroom. But we smoked weed outside waiting for him. He was a man of few words. So cool.
Already on it my friend.
Pass me that virtual joint.
Can I burn one with you man?
Come over. See you soon.
I'd play cards with you.
When do you want to play?
Have you smoked any Labrador lately?
My two dogs are always running around the house. Who knows. Yeah, probably.
At what age did you first smoke pot?
Years before I was born.
Indica or Sativa?
Indica when I want to sleep. And Sativa when I want to stay awake.
Any memories of working on After Hours and being directed by Martin Scorsese you can share?
Oh yeah. One memory is that they had me drive the van recklessly but they didn't tell me where to finish. And so when I careened around the corner there were a bunch of Japanese tourists that had come to watch the shoot right in my pathway... I stopped just inches from them. The look on their faces though, they were taking tourist photos. I learned I'm a pretty good stunt driver that day.
Pink Floyd or Led Zeppelin?
Led Zeppelin. Never was a Pink Floyd guy. I was once with Robert Plant and I drove a Citroen at the time and he told me "You drive the nicest car in the world, Tommy"
Do you ever take tolerance breaks? If so how long?
It was part of my contract while I was on Dancing With the Stars, actually. But no, not really.
Hey Tommy, I can't resist and nobody else has asked yet... Where the heck has Dave been, man?
Dave...Dave got deported. Thanks to Donald Trump.
when was the first time you smoked pot?
18 years old in Calgary Alberta Canada...
Let me take you on this journey with me.
I had a jazz club. It was at night.
Raymond Mah gave me a Lenny Bruce record and my first joint.
I was listening to an Ornette Coleman record to a tune called "The Lonely Woman."
Changed. My. Life.
Hey Tommy, greetings from Edmonton! With Canada set to legalize marijuana nationally soon, can we expect you to come back home to celebrate the day it's officially legal up here?
Also, earlier this year a friend of mine developed rectal cancer and is still undergoing treatment for it, what were the best ways your friends/family were able to cheer you up while you were dealing with it yourself?
Absolutely. I'll be up there in Edmonton.
While I was going through cancer treatment I got cannabis oil massages, unlimited weed from friends/family. It's always good to get support from the ones you love.
Huge fan! Who were some of your idols in comedy growing up? And who do you contribute your own style to?
Let's see, growing up.. that was a veryy long time ago..
OK: Lenny Bruce was the first, Redd Foxx, and Richard Pryor.
Yellowbeard was a great, great cast. (Cheech, Chong, Monty Python, Peter Boyle, many other great British comics.) Who were you most excited to work with?
Peter Boyle! I love that guy. I didn't get to meet the other Python's we didn't have a scene together.
Do you still do acid?
In my dreams. It's hard to get away from the flashbacks.
Are there any drugs you've done that you really hated?
Alcohol. I'm not much of a drinker. And cocaine. It makes you think you know what you're doing. Whereas when you're smoking weed you know that you don't know what you're doing, which makes you learn new things.
Could you tell us about your most memorable acid trip?
Let's go on this journey together.
Actually it was Aspen. No, it was Denver.
Took a tab of Window Pane.
Then went and saw Thumbalina with my wife and 3 year old daughter.
The movie freaked me out, I mean the story was about a woman marrying a rat. The showing we wsaw was a matinee so there were kids everywhere at this screening and they were running up and down the aisles. Being on acid, you can imagine this freaked me out quite a bit. A lot, actually.
So we left right after that and my 3 year old daughter had to call me and my wife a cab to get us home.
How many joints do you smoke per day?
Always when I'm watching the news. It helps make the awful things that are going on in the world easier to digest.
I also hate all the commercials that are on the news these days, especially during the daytime. One thing I've noticed is that they are all marketed to my age demographic and they want to remind you how fucking old you're getting.
Every commercial...pharmaceutical brand, life alert, cialis.. I know that my erectile dysfunction is real. If you're not getting the news from the actual news broadcast you're getting all the other news about your impotence and old age from the commercials.
Not sure if that answered your question but I smoke a lot.
What are your favorite subreddits to browse, besides /r/trees of course?
r/TIL kind of always surprises me. I like to get shocked by news and interesting stories I didn't expect I'd want to learn about.
Other than that, obviously r/BlackPeopleTwitter is my second favorite. That's the funniest page you guys got.
I'm 24 and have never smoked weed (or anything) Would you recommend that I try it?
Break out of the monastery first of all. And then start with just a tiny little bit of sativa...or a huge dab.
Who's the worst person in hollywood you've smoked with?
John Lennon. He was a huge lightweight. He wouldn't smoke. He was scared of getting deported.
If you can split a joint with anyone, dead or alive, who would it be?
Probably Moses. I was going to say Jesus but he was such a Pacifist. Probably Moses. I like Moses. He was a badass. And he had a great publicist. God even appeared to him as a burning bush.
Here is one Tommy! From your perspective and in your opinion. Who smokes more weed? You, Snoop Dogg, or Willie Nelson?
Also What is your favorite munchy food?
Granola is my favorite munchies these days, to be honest, gotta worry about my health.
I smoke the most. Without a doubt. It's my job.
Snoops a rapper. Willie's a singer. I'm just a dope smoker.
Good sir. If you could remake any decisions in life, what would they be and why?
I would not have sold my Venice beach house that I bought in 1972 for $30,000...
Hey Tommy! Are you a glass or paper kind of guy?
Either or. Doesn't matter, whatever's there when I reach for it man.
What is your favorite song right now?
My..favorite..song..right..now. "Drop It Like Its Hot" by Snoop Dogg. I've been relistening to it and it's become better with time. Truly a classic. Whattup Snoop!
Hey Mr Chong! What's your favorite way of consuming the reefer? :) and your favorite strain?
I like to inhale.
Hey Man, what was your favorite movie that you guys made?
Probably my favorite movie was Still Smokin. Made the most money. We were in Amsterdam where weed was legal and we were there for like a month and everybody kept bringing us more weed that we could smoke while we were filming. Gooood times.
What's your favorite flavor of ice cream?
Coconut. Next question.
Hey Tommy Chong! I saw you at Hash Bash last year and a couple of my friends actually had the pleasure of meeting you. I was wondering, who is your favorite Star Wars character, and why? Also Godspeed in regards to your bout with cancer, I had it a few years ago when I was 16, and that medicinal is some real shit. Happy toking and stay lifted!
I like Chewbacca. (bias? http://imgur.com/l8Cgevr)
Actually I've never really seen the Star Wars movies. I went and saw the original one in theaters the first time my son cried during the screening and everyone in front of me turned and was telling me to shut my kid up. After that I never really tried to go see it again.
Hey ~~Bob!~~ Tommy! What have you been doing with all those degrees, I noticed you had a PhD, an MA and a BA, what have you been doing with all that knowledge?
Sorry, just had to do that. Seriously, though, when I was in college (pre-internet, mind you), we all listened to your albums, and there were rumors that you had actually earned a Phd for real. Just to settle the matter between me and my old college buds, what is the highest (ha ha) level of professional education you’ve earned?
I dropped out of school in 11th grade. I got part of my 11th grade done thought. I failed my GED in prison, I couldn't pass algebra, and they wanted me to cheat but I refused to... I have morals.
Hey tommy! What kind of pizza do you like?!
Pineapple, of course.
Dear Mr. Chong Would you ever consider playing the role of Mr. President in a movie? I feel this would be good vibes all around.
Yeah sure I would definitely consider it.
Hey Tommy! Quick question man. Have you ever had the chance to smoke with Snoop Dogg? I'm sure he would love that if you haven't!
Yes. Many times. Love Snoop! And he always bogards the joint. He always forgets he has it in his hands while we're talking, and we talk a lot when we hang out and get high.
What is your new years resolution?
My new years resolution is to remember to keep my last year's new years resolution.... To lose weight. Actually, I did. Cancer is truly the new Hollywood diet.
When you get older you just end up making the same resolution each year and forgetting it.
What do you think of the Stoner Sloth campaign created by the Australian government to scare teenagers away from pot?
Typical bureaucrats. Australian bureaucrats all wear t-shirts showing their ass from a hole in the ground. Because they don't know the difference.
Were you in on the Yorkville scene in Toronto, or did you high tail it out of Canada and never look back?
I was around but I was from Vancouver, so I wasn't really in Toronto for that scene. But yeah, I knew the Yorkville scene. For those who don't know, the Yorkville scene was Neil Young and all those guys from that era. Toronto's a really good music scene. Nothing changes and it hasn't there.
Tommy, rumor from my hometown in Ohio is that you used to come to Nelson ledges to party all the time. Is that true, or just a rural legend?
That's true. Played a show with Chong & The Family Stoned. That was my band back then - my sons Paris, Gilbran, and myself. We would party at the Nelson Ledges. Play music and party.
You had to be careful not to pass out in the bushes because you would get run over by a tractor. Everybody there was stoned, even the tractor drivers.
Other than the smoking and medicinal benefits of Marijuana. Have you ever thought of also advocating the use and possibilities of the hemp industry for all its other benefits?
There's so much potential for hemp in other industries, and I do see a lot of future for hemp in those fields.
Building materials is a major, key one. They've got hemp cement that's stronger, lighter and more durable than normal cement!
The fabric industry as well, nothing beats hemp canvas when it comes to fabric.
Also, did you know that canvas is a derivative of cannabis? Canvas was always made of hemp.
There's countless uses of hemp in various fields. It's proven at this point that the usage of this plant goes far beyond what we typically give it recognition for and it's a generally accepted fact at this point.
Is there any show that you really wish you could cameo on?
Saturday Night Live. Because we've been barred there.
The last thing they wanted back then when Belushi and Aykroyd were doing dope jokes was Cheech & Chong to come on there and represent that culture. But they've parodied us plenty.
I met you when you were in south Florida doing your stand up tour many years ago, I just wanted to thank you for being so awesome. It was a dream to meet one of my heroes and you were so warm and friendly. I got to sit on your lap and take a picture with you and I felt like a little girl taking a picture with Santa Claus. I'm supposed to ask a question, so will you smoke with me next time you're here?
Have you ever found anything that really is bad about smoking pot?
Not having enough pot to smoke.
Hey, man. What was the most bizzare scenario you've found yourself in?
Trying to hide from an irate husband with a gun.
Hey Tommy, I run into this situation all the time.
You only have enough tree for a bowl, do you use a pipe and conserve what you got left or use a bong and rip it all at once?
Bong and rip it all at once. I've never run into this problem though, I never run out of weed. So I might not be much help.
How do you like your eggs?
What's your best memory of Edmonton?
Performing with Cheech for the first time. That was in 1973. We were at the Jubilee Hall at the time.
Have you met tech n9ne? Did he approach you about being in his music video for blunt and a ho? If so what was it like?
I heard about it a little while back before it was released and got to see it before it came out. It is just really flattering to still see music videos and recognition like this. Especially a full out "Up In Smoke" music video like they made. It was pretty funny and I liked the production quality of the music video and the song they made.
Hey dude. Who was the most surprising pothead you've encountered thus far? Rock on, Brother.
Tony Dow from Leave it to Beaver. Now that's a good one. He was Leave it to Beaver's big brother.
Salutations Tommy, I understand you may not be able to answer this question but my curiosity is getting the better of me. Have you ever smoked DMT, and if so what did you think?
DMT: Probably once or twice.
What do you like musically? Did you ever get the chance to light one up with Jim Morrison or Jimi Hendrix?
I did smoke with Jimi. But nope, never Jim. Came close with Jim, he was living at the beach when I was out there but I never got to.