This week’s edition of Into the Weeds (ITW) focuses on the first part of our two part interview with film, comedy, and cannabis icon, Tommy Chong. In this episode Tommy discusses his humble beginnings as a struggling musician, his rise to Motown and how he transitioned from musician to comedian. He also discusses his first time meeting Cheech Marin and shares the details of his first experience with cannabis.
Tommy Chong: Weed Christ
It’s not every day you get to work with a legend. It’s certainly rare to work with a legend more than once. My first time being in the presence of Tommy Chong was at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.
I was working for a black market dispensary called MMJ Canada doing PR and events for Cannabis advocate Clint Younge. I got the promoter to sneak our logo onto the poster in exchange for helping sell tickets to our audience with companion giveaways. I can’t imagine there were very many black market dispensaries who could have pulled that off at the time and I’m sure the University wouldn/t be thrilled if they ever found out.
Regardless, the event was a success and during the Q&A with students and the public alike, a student asked what Tommy’s favorite thing about cannabis was. Tommy’s response, “You don't have to do it” which is interesting considering Tommy’s views on freedom. Not just because he was incarcerated at one point (which we cover in part two), but as someone who has constantly challenged the status quo of the law and decades of social norms.
What Tommy was saying is the best thing about weed is that no one is forcing you to smoke weed. An example of his polite disdain for conformity can be identified at the beginning of the interview when he suggests being on a film is similar to being incarcerated. In his mind a comedic parable due to demanding schedules in both prison and on set. However, Tommy has a way of criticizing any situation with great humility and never seems to complain. He truly finds joy and comedy in every sentence he speaks.
Tommy’s gentle spirit and generosity allowed us to warm right up and made for one of the best conversations of our lives. A true saint, a true martyr, a true creator, a true icon, and to many, the one true Weed Christ.