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Cheech & Chong puff-puff-give

Again with the smokin'

Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong roll into the Emerald Queen Casino Nov. 8. Photo courtesy of Facebook

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Here are a few things you almost certainly already know about Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong: their giggly brand of stoner comedy was all the rage on screen and stage in the '70s and ‘80s. Their 1978 film debut, Up in Smoke, earned more than $44 million on a budget of $2 million - despite the fact that most sober observers agree it isn't good. In 2003, the "Chong's Glass" company was hit with six-digit penalties for selling "drug-related paraphernalia," meaning bongs, and Chong himself spent nine months in federal prison at age 65. After contentious decades apart, Cheech and Chong reunited for a 2008 tour. Now they're back on the road, gearing up for a possible movie under the direction of Jay Chandrasekhar (Super Troopers).

Here are some things you may not know about Cheech: he was, in fact, "Born in East L.A." (the title of his 1987 Springsteen parody and movie), but is not especially fluent in Spanish. His nickname's short for chicharrónes, fried pork rinds, a popular nosh among Chicano-Americans with the munchies. Despite his linguistic limitations, he produced and sang in English and Spanish on two bestselling children's albums. In 1992, he won the first celebrity tournament on Jeopardy! Then, in 2010, he beat Anderson Cooper and Aisha Tyler in a semifinal round, losing only to Michael McKean (David St. Hubbins!) in the finals. He's an internationally noted art collector, especially of Mexican-American painters. He's contributed voice work to at least five Disney features, plus Dora the Explorer and Kingdom Hearts II.

Here are things you may not know about Chong: first, he's Canadian. He and Cheech met in British Columbia after the latter fled north to escape the draft in 1967. In those days, Chong played guitar in a soul band called Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers; they reached #29 on the Billboard chart with a 1968 single, "Does Your Mama Know About Me." The band discovered a Chicago family act, The Jackson 5, and introduced the quintet to Berry Gordy. Chong's on the current season of Dancing with the Stars and, as of week seven, has yet to be eliminated. (He's 76 and beat prostate cancer two years ago!) While Chong was in prison, his cellmate was Jordan Belfort; Chong enjoyed Belfort's late-night anecdotes and encouraged him to write the memoir that became The Wolf of Wall Street. Chong's wife (of 39 years!) and manager, Shelby, is 66 but still looks like a centerfold. Also, she's a talented comedian herself. In fact, she'll be opening for the reunited Cheech & Chong this Saturday at Emerald Queen.

Which is also a good thing to know. So smoke 'em if you got 'em! ... just not on the premises, please.

CHEECH & CHONG, 8 p.m. Sat., Nov. 8, Emerald Queen Casino, 2024 E. 29th St., Tacoma, $45-$100, 888.831.7655

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