Cheech and Chong bring 'Up in Smoke' tour to Hammond

2013-06-17T00:00:00Z 2013-12-27T13:23:09Z Cheech and Chong bring 'Up in Smoke' tour to HammondEloise Marie Valadez Eloise.Valadez@nwi.com, (219) 933-3365 nwitimes.com

Grammy-winning comedy duo Cheech and Chong are set to light up the stage at Horseshoe Casino's The Venue this weekend.

The comedians, who catapulted to fame during the 1970s with their offbeat sense of humor focusing on the drug counterculture, lackadaisical lifestyles and '70s hippie scene, will bring their 'Up in Smoke' show to Hammond on Saturday.

It's not often area fans are treated to the talents of Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong. The latest tour is not only a celebration of their humorous bond but a type of 35th anniversary salute to their hit 1978 album "Up in Smoke."

Cheech and Chong last appeared at The Venue in March of 2012. The duo had stepped away from the stage for two decades and weren't on the best of terms. In 2008, they reunited to bring their unique brand of comedy to audiences again.

During a recent telephone interview, Tommy Chong said hitting the stage again with Cheech is a blast.

"It's like discovering your old hippie outfit you used to wear years ago and you put it on and it still fits, still feels good and it still attracts girls," Chong said.

The duo's new show will definitely include classic bits but also have new material. Chong's wife Shelby Chong will also perform as the opening act at the Hammond show.

"I would say the first 20 minutes is all new," he said. "We start out with a Q & A and that sort of sets the tone. What we do with the Q & A is we talk about what we're doing currently and what we've done in the past. We give the audience a taste of the history of Cheech and Chong and the update."

Among new projects delivered by the duo is the recent "Cheech and Chong's Animated Movie" which debuted this spring. Chong said he and Cheech are interested in seeking other movie projects as well.

"We've been looking at scripts for another Cheech and Chong movie. We've found a couple that look good and are in development now."

Chong is also working on a new book focusing on his recent health crisis dealing with prostate cancer. He was diagnosed in June of 2012 and said it was a combination of things, including cannabis, that helped cure him.

"My cancer was cured with the help of cannabis, diet and exercise. When I was fighting cancer I had to change my diet. And the diet eliminated all junk food. I feel so much better and look so much better and I just want to pass everything I've learned onto the new generation that's coming up," Chong said, adding he expects his new book to be out later this year.

Chong also called himself a "food evangelist" who now focuses on juicing and healthy eating.

When coming up with new material, Chong said buddy Cheech is always an inspiration.

"Cheech and I are like Siamese twins that were separated at birth and being back together again we feed off each other."

For Chong, touring these days isn't as grueling of a feat as in the past.

"When you've been diagnosed with cancer, life becomes one day at a time. Every day I wake up, I thank God I'm still alive so touring is a joy. I love it," he said.

"It gets me out of the house, gets me next to the people and I go home with a wad of money," Chong said, laughing. "So, it's a win-win situation all the way around."

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