Tommy Chong wants to be the next Jon StewartaEUR | on weedOne week ago
Tommy Chong is ready to stir the pot of late-night TV.
The 77 -year-old comedian and marijuana fanatic best known for his role in comedy duo Cheech and Chong( with Cheech Marin) will premiere Almost Legal With Tommy Chong just as the late-night TV shuffle has finally settled down, fulfilling that talk depict for stoners demographic lacking in the current lineup. The first 10 episodes, which have already been filmed, will includes sketches, interviews, musical acts, and, of course, lots of talk of weed and the country of politics.
For Chong, this indicate couldnt have come at a better day. Marijuana is currently legal in some sort in 23 states and Washington , D.C.( Oregon, Washington, Alaska, and Colorado permit recreational use ), and its likely that number will grow in the following financial year or two. Its come up in both the Republican and Democratic presidential debates, and the majority of Americans subsistence legalization. And the Liberals, Canadas new majority political party, has promised to legalize it.
But Chong has a more personal reason for doing Almost Legal . He revealed that he had rectal cancer in Junehis second day battling the diseaseand his son Paris pitched the show to him as something to do since hes now unable to travel and perform while hes seeking treatment.
We recently chatted with Chong about Almost Legal , weed politics, the pressure to go viral, and what builds him different from Jon Stewart.
Tell me more about Almost Legal With Tommy Chong .
Well, weve done about 10 episodes, and it looks really good. Everybodys very excited about it, and Im talking to people that are very popular on social mediawere kind of running that routeand along with old buddies of mine like George Lopez and Eli Roth. So its a fun thing.
You know, Im fighting cancer right now so I cant travel and I cant genuinely do my usual task, so we came up with this talk present, which was a lot easier to do in my condition. And actually it helped my condition, because instead of lying around worrying about being sick, Im standing up and entertaining people. That is medicine in and of itself.
How have you been feeling lately ?
Right now Im in healing mode. Youve got to heal a month after radioactivity before they do the operation, and Im getting close to the operation time. But its running good. Im use marijuana, Im using the hash petroleum, and Im using all of the conventional radiation and chemo. Im attacking it from all fronts.
I tweeted something funny I said. The GOP, Republicans and I, have one thing in common: were both having trouble with assholes. Mine is a tumor and theirs is Donald Trump. It cracked me up.
But consider, thats one of the things about treating your sickness with marijuana, because youre not only getting rid of the ache but you get all these creative notions that come to you when youre high. Thats where the talk show came out of. I was get high so much to get rid of the ache and then I ended up with this talk demonstrate idea, and its running good. Are the 10 episodes you already shot all you have planned for now, or are you planning to do more ?
Well no. 10 in the last couple of weeks and what were gonna do is, we have a sizzle reel and were gonna shop it around to watch where the interest lies, but no, we intend to do many, many, many more episodes.
Youre pretty political on Twitter. How much of that they are able to factor into the present ?
Oh yeah. You cant get away from politics in America , no matter what you do. So oh yeah. Politics is the big thing in America. And with me, its like being vindicated because as pot get legal everywhere, I become more and more mainstream and the go-to guy because I was the guy whos been promoting pot for my life. Forty, 50 years, and now Im starting to reap the benefits.
Four states currently have it legalized recreationally( and more have medical marijuanas decriminalize ), others are putting it to a referendum within the next year or two, and its been a hot topic in the recent presidential debates. Do you think itll be legal everywhere in the U.S. in the foreseeable future?
Totally. And its likely an electoral year. When California votes legal, everybody’s gonna jump on board, including the rest of the world because America and the DEA have hijacked the rest of the world by creating a drug that is a medication. By stimulating it illegal, it opened the doors of all the prisons all over the world to persecute people for something thats not a crime.
Its pure racism. When racism vanishes like it has with gay wedding and lesbian rights, then thats whats gonna happen with marijuana. Because we fall under the same misguided, racist posture that people, the Republican Partyespecially Christie and Fiorina, they still have that thinkingthat the War on Drugs is to keep America safe. And the way they keep America safe is to kill black people for no reason and to demonize and put brown people in jail for taking medicine, basically. Because marijuana is medicine , no matter how you do it.
And that time is ending. Were coming into an age where you are going to have a hard time recollecting what it was like when marijuana was illegal because its going to be so normal, so common, everywhere, that all these stupid statutes that they have, racist statutes, will disappear. And I think thats part of the rehabilitation of everybody in countries around the world. If you take away that threat of going to jail for being high, you take that away, and you have a happy population.
You called yourself a stoners version of Jon Stewart in one of the press releases for the prove .
I was such a Jon Stewart fan, and where reference is shut his demonstrate I realise, Oh, Im sort of getting into that business now. Of course , not on a Jon Stewart level but definitely on a same mindset. The great thing about is that they called hypocrisy every timein fact, they made a living off hypocrisy. I had almost done the same thing. My approach will be a little bombastic, a little under. Because, the way I am, I like everybody.
Yeah , Hannibal Buress .
Of course, the first thing I did, I went right for the Cosby story. Well it turns out Hannibal truly didnt want to go there. So rather than do a Howard Stern on him I told, OK, and so we changed the subject and we just went on. Now I have both episodes in the can, so if we chose to show some of it or all of it we can. But Im more ready to accommodate my guest as opposed to catch them in off-guard moments. Thats not my approach, and I suppose my approach now is gonna be more welcome.
Because of the legalization we dont have to do that them and us where the Establishment is the enemy. We have to be the Establishment, so Im a gentler and kinder host.
The atmosphere of late-night Tv isnt just about having a good depict anymore. Its also about running viral on YouTube ; Jimmy Fallon has assortment sketches and Jimmy Kimmel does pranks. How are you looking to tackle that ?
The great thing about the Internet is that everythings on the table. Everythings viable. But were doing our best to stayI was gonna tell coherentto stay current so were not doing old things, you know?
When I was on Dancing With the Stars , the one thing I took away from that show is I became another person. I went into the prove as Tommy Chong of Cheech and Chong, and I came out of the reveal as Tommy Chong, the oldest dancer to make it that far on their prove. And that really is now the persona Im comfortable with. Because the old stoner guy, hes still on the screen with Up in Smoke and Still Smoking and all of the Cheech and Chong movies we did. That guy will always be there.
But this guy thats doing the talk indicate; hes the senior citizen now, and Im enjoying it. Im enjoying the present because Ive always preached that. If you want to be happy, youve got to live in the present.
Almost Legal With Tommy Chong premieres Oct. 23 at 8p m ET on FOTV( Dish Network and Charter ).
Photo courtesy of Almost Legal With Tommy Chong