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Cheech & Chong at SF Sketchfest

By Amanda Ferron


I still enter random contests and giveaways I stumble across, because I figure one day, my luck’s gotta change. 

I was scrolling through Instagram Jan 29th of this year, and saw one of my favorite dispensaries in San Francisco, Urbana, had partnered with Sonoma Hills Farms and was giving away two tickets to see Cheech & Chong live at SF Sketchfest. I love Cheech & Chong, so I did what the post instructed me to do in order to enter the giveaway… 

And then, I almost immediately forgot about it. 

Surely this would be like the countless other giveaways I’d entered in the past, and would have no outcome. I still had to try though, because after all, this was Cheech and Chong we are talking about! 

If you are new to the cannabis world (or have been living under a rock), allow me to elaborate… Cheech & Chong are cannabis royalty. Crowned Princes of the Cannabis Community, who have been making us all laugh since the 70’s. I’ll get into more detail about who they are in a little bit.

The next time I logged in to my @canna_panda_ Instagram account, I had a message waiting for me from Urbana… 

I had won the tickets! 

This might seem like “no big deal”… but for me, it was a BIG deal. I was thrilled! Not only did I win 2 free tickets to see a couple of my favorite “stoner” idols, but I was going to get to take my husband out for an impromptu date night. Win/Win!

A big, big “Thank you!” to Sonoma Hills Farms, and Urbana of San Francisco for a wonderful evening. And an extra nod to Sonoma Hills Farms for the tasty pre-roll I enjoyed after the show.


Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong did not set out to become the cannabis legends that they’ve grown to be. 

Richard Anthony “Cheech” Marin was born July 13, 1946 in Los Angeles, CA. The son of a secretary and a Police Officer, Marin came from humble beginnings. He attended San Fernando Valley State College, graduating in 1968. Around that time, he made his way to Calgary, Alberta in order to avoid being drafted into the Vietnam War. There, he would meet his soon-to-be comedic partner, Tommy Chong.

Thomas “Tommy” B. Kin Chong was born May 24th, 1938 in Edmonton, Alberta. His mother was Scots-Irish, and his father was a Chinese Immigrant and World War 2 Veteran. Tommy grew up in the “Dog Patch” neighborhood of Calgary, Alberta, and dropped out of school at the age of 16. He learned to play the guitar, and even formed a couple different bands. Eventually, Tommy started working in his brothers club, where he would meet Cheech.

In my head, I hear Humphry Bogart saying “I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.”

(If you’re too young to understand that reference, go watch the classic film: “Casablanca”)

The duo would go on to write, produce, and star in multiple movies, comedy albums, and TV shows. Engraving themselves into cannabis history along the way.


Upon arriving in San Francisco, my Husband and I walked to a little bar called the Sugar Lounge to meet up with the Sonoma Hills Farms folks, who had our tickets. We met an awesome woman named Joyce, COO of Sonoma Hills Farms, who said I would be able to spot her inside the bar by her “I’m High Right Now” hat. We found each other, and I was immediately jealous of said hat.

We made our way from the Sugar Lounge, down Hayes Street to the Sydney Goldstein Theatre. A smaller venue, around the corner from San Francisco City Hall, The Opera House, and The Symphony Hall. Though not as large and grand as its neighbors, The Sydney Goldstein Theatre was charming, elegant, and had a very intimate feel.

We found our seats among the rows of red velvet fold-down chairs, and settled in for 90 minutes of Cheech & Chong stories, moderated by journalist Ben Fong-Torres

Some of my favorite stories were told in the first half hour. Their account of their first performance together was wonderful to listen to. Both Tommy Chong and Cheech Marin had been working on their comedy acts, but both still shared the ultimate goal of becoming Musicians. They had just been fired from Tommy’s brothers club, so they started a band, and booked their first gig… A Battle of The Bands. 

The pair thought they would do some stand-up first, and then their band would play. What happened that night would change their lives.

Tommy recalled “Once we started the comedy we got, ya know, like a junkie, we got hooked into it. And the laughs kept coming and they were coming big time too… And we never played a note.” Cheech added “And we won the battle of the bands!” The two friends giggled as they remembered this “rock-n-roll” crowd sauntering forward to the stage and sitting down on the floor to listen to their jokes. 

It was also interesting hearing about their early years performing at the Troubadour. The Troubadour, open since 1957, is a legendary nightclub in West Hollywood that welcomed big name performers such as Richard PryorJoni MitchellElton John, and many more. The club had a “Hootenanny” night every Monday, where comedians could come perform their acts. Every Monday night, you could find Cheech & Chong at the Troubadour.

They would show up at 9am to wait in line with other comedians, hoping to get a slot in that evening’s line-up. Cheech remembered “The deal was, the first 6 acts that were there when the Box Office opened @ 6pm could go on that night in reverse order. So the first ones in line, which was always us, could go on 6th. Which was a good spot because everyone had already come in and drank, said hi to everyone, so that’s when they were starting to listen.” Tommy added “Also, I had been in the business long enough to know that you have to show that you really, really, want the job. So much so that you would show up days early or hours early, or do whatever you had to do to make an impression.”

Not a bad lesson to apply to life in general, really!

These early performances led to them being signed by Lou Adner, who found them performing at the Troubadour one Monday night in 1970.

They starred in their first feature film in 1978, the timeless classic: “Up in Smoke”. The first time I ever watched this film, I was probably 7 or 8 years old. My Dad was a huge fan of Cheech & Chong, having been a bit of a stoner himself in the 60’s/70’s. Little did he know, this early love he helped me grow for Cheech & Chong would be a stepping stone on my path to becoming a cannabis advocate. (Thanks Dad!) 

The theater played a short clip from the movie, where Chong is telling Cheech the weed in their massive joint was “Mostly Maui Waui man, but it’s got some Labrador in it.” because his dog had gotten into his stash…

“I had it on the table and the little motherf***er ate it, man. Then I had to follow him around with a little baggie for three days, man, before I got it back. Really blew the dog’s mind, ya know?”

Classic Cheech & Chong…

I was surprised (and also, somehow, not surprised) to learn that they really didn’t make much money from that first movie. In a classic Hollywood move, the higher-ups took a large majority of the profits, forcing Cheech & Chong to start touring immediately after the movie was released. Luckily, they had great success on the tour, and didn’t have to scrape by on a small amount of funds for long.

Still, it’s always crazy to hear stories like these, where the big-wigs get all the money, and the people who made everything happen get the short end of the stick.


A “High” Five is just my way of giving a nod to those who’ve helped raise the cannabis community up, in some form or fashion. Cheech & Chong get a SOLID High Five from me. Just hearing their names conjures up images of a lowrider cruising down the streets of LA, billowing plumes of cannabis smoke pouring out of the windows… But to the cannabis community, they are much more than just “a couple of stoners”. They are friends we grew up laughing with. 

Their form of cannabis-themed comedy helped bring smoking weed to the forefront of everyday conversations, even if they were satirical. Those conversations help normalize cannabis use.

The names Cheech & Chong are forever etched into cannabis history. 

Even more so now, since they’ve launched their cannabis line. Their products include gummies, various forms of extracts, and of course, flowers. They also have a glass line. (Not the same line Tommy Chong famously served time for in 2003… But that’s a story for another post!)

Check out their products here: 

Cheech and Chong’s 

Cheech and Chong Glass

Cheech and Chong’s Cannabis Co.


One of my first thoughts was “Why are they doing this show in an enclosed theater?” No offense to the theater or SF Sketchfest…  But we are talking about an audience of cannabis connoisseurs here. I heard a few other people share this same thought as we all walked into the venue. It was a great show, but it would have been even more enjoyable if we were able to spark up a doobie as we listened to their stories.  

Also, I have to say, I left with a renewed love and appreciation for Tommy Chong in particular. Having grown up watching him, I was not disappointed hearing him speak in real life.  Not saying anything negative about Cheech Marin, who was great and made me laugh on multiple occasions… But real life Cheech Marin and the character he played in the classic “Cheech & Chong” duo seemed to be two very different people. 

With Tommy, I felt the character he had portrayed over the years was less of a “character” and was actually very similar to who he really is. Don’t get me wrong, he is obviously much smarter than his “Hey, man…” movie persona. But, much like his famous stoner character, he seemed so cool and laid back. Just the right amount of “Hey man…”

Randomly and effortlessly hilarious. Comfortably familiar…

The Tommy Chong I already knew and loved.

If I had to pick one person to smoke a joint with out of the two, it would be Tommy Chong. 

Hands down.