appearing in The Marijuana-Logues, Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay, 790-ARTS, one night only, Sunday Feb 20, 7 pm, $25-37.50
Most famous for playing the giggly half of the comic duo, Cheech and Chong, Tommy Chong recently has been swept up in the politics of the Bush administration's morality war. Two years ago, he was busted as part of Operation Pipedream, an effort by then-Attorney General John Ashcroft to crack down on online selling of bongs. As part of a plea bargain, Chong served nine months in federal prison. Since being released, Chong has taken his one-man show, The Marijuana-Logues, on the road. A potent mix of his signature dunderhead comedy and serious contemplation, the show reveals a 65-year-old Chong at the top of his game. So, how are you doing?
Oh, all right. Better than a few months ago. Everything is up from that place (federal prison).
Let's start with The Marijuana-Logues. It seems bent towards lighthearted comedy, but is there any political agenda?
Oh, there's a lot of it. Just the existence of the play itself is reassuring to the culture.
Are you stoned right now?
Oh no. I don't do that anymore. Not for the past two years. I'm on parole.
So, you got in trouble a few years back. 55 people were arrested during Operation Pipedream. But you were the only one who spent time in prison.
Do you feel singled out?
Totally. I was the example. And it worked great. I'm an actor. This administration doesn't do their homework. They thought because I played this guy in the movies I was this guy. I mean, I am. But I am also a family man. They threatened to arrest my son as well. As a tradeoff, I didn't take the matter to trial. It was a good tradeoff. I went to jail, but he went back to (law) school.
Did you actively campaign against the Bush administration?
Well, best I could. I was a felon. I wasn't even allowed to vote.
Oh, that's right. Well, thanks for talking.
I just drank some coffee, so if you want, we can talk for hours.