Since 1971, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong have cornered the market on using intelligent, often absurd comedy to throw more than a few incisive jabs at America’s just as absurd War on Drugs.
What began as humor aimed at those on the so-called “fringe” of society quickly became something much more tangible and subversive on the heels of 1973’s Grammy Award-winning album “Los Cochinos” and 1978’s “Up in Smoke,” which marked the duo’s feature film debut.
A vibrant counterculture was brewing in America, and Cheech and Chong came to symbolize everything that the mainstream didn’t want its subjects exposed to.
Taking into account the disillusionment surrounding Vietnam, Watergate, and the perils of the hippie generation, it’s not difficult to picture adolescents throughout the suburbs sneaking into the basement to listen to their friend’s copy of “Big Bambu” on vinyl.
The genius of Cheech and Chong’s shtick during that period was their ability to see straight through polarizing political issues and shine a light on just how clueless those in charge were about how to make effective drug policy.
Instead of talking down to their audience, they engaged fans on a level that suggested they were trying to navigate their way through the social morass just like everyone else.
After a falling-out in the 1980s, Cheech and Chong reunited in 2002, and have been touring on-and-off for the cause ever since.
Tomorrow night, they bring their no-holds-barred act to North Tonawanda’s Riviera Theatre for an evening that promises to be among the most memorable of 2013.
The show begins at 8:00 p.m. with Tommy Chong’s wife, Shelby, in the opening slot.
Tickets are $59 and $69 and can be purchased online at http://www.rivieratheatre.org or at the box office.
See http://www.cheechandchong.com for further details.