So Cheech and Chong are back, sort of. Well, they are back and on a reunion tour, with live dates continuing through the end of April 2010. And on March 1, Cheech and Chong will be the guest hosts of WWE's RAW in Oklahoma City.
And now they have a trailer for Cheech and Chong's Animated Movie, with no release date attached to it, and a web page that when I just checked it, was still parked and not yet active. What are these guys, too high to get it together? The trailer suggests all sorts of NSFW humor that's best enjoyed high, not that I know what that's like, but, you know. As well as some of their classic sketches, reinterpreted in toon form, as suggested when the project was first announced at the end of 2008. Roll the clip!
Any great documentary leaves you feeling a greater knowledge and fulfillment about the subject matter, and wanting to further share your newfound knowledge with even more people. Any good documentary gives you insight into a subject and leaves you wanting more. Judging from the first two hours of the six-hour PBS treatment from WNET, Make 'Em Laugh, which debuts tonight (and I just finished watching via screener), you'll get a good, almost-great examination of the past century of comedy performances.
Billy Crystal opens the series with a NSFW Civil War joke, letting audiences know that this is not going to be that kind of PBS documentary project. Crystal nominally hosts each hour with a comedy segment introducing that hour's topic, while Amy Sedaris provides voiceover narration. Another common thematic device for the narrative -- arrange comedians by an archetype, open with the most contemporary and popular example, then flashback a century and work your way chronologically back to the future, so to speak. "Hopefully, it's not hamfisted," Michael Kantor said at a preview panel at the 92Y last month. Kantor, the series producer, director and writer, said there's some rare footage of Woody Allen, and some early Paul Lynde that we'll get to see. "By and large, we tried to air footage that you couldn't find at the rental store," Kantor said. Rental store? Who goes to those anymore? Anyhow. This doc is must viewing for comedy fans to know that their generation wasn't the first or the funniest to get a joke. "I think Americans need to be reminded of our own history sometimes," Kantor said. That's as true about comedy, it turns out, as it is about politics.
The first hour, "Nerds, Jerks and Oddballs," examines the role of outsiders in comedy. So we start with the man who everyone in Hollywood was bowing to in the past year, Judd Apatow, who tells us: "I'm just trying to reflect the attitudes of me and my friends." To those who criticize Apatow for bringing immaturity to the forefront, he reminds us: "Really, there's no comedy that isn't about immaturity."
Word from the trades this morning that Big Vision and Chambers Bros. have acquired the rights to the Cheech and Chong music catalog and will recycle some classic routines into a new film, Cheech and Chong's Smokin' Animated Movie. The Hollywood Reporter acquired these quotes from the duo, currently reunited and on a nationwide live tour:
"It's great to be doing a movie where Cheech and I never have to get out of bed or be on camera," Tommy Chong said.
"It's about time that we got animated because we've been doing animation without the animation for years," Cheech Marin said. "Whether you watch it smokin' a fattie or stone-cold sober, it's just plain funny."
Before I get to my review of Cheech & Chong: Roasted, the TV show that'll air on TBS at 10 p.m. Sunday, Nov. 30 -- and the TV taping over the weekend at Caesars Palace was a mess from start to finish thanks to production snafus, delays, and some awful attempts at roasting -- let's meet our roast victims, Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, the pioneering stoner comics of the 1970s who have reunited after many years apart.
So yes, they're happy to be together again and touring with a live show. But what about the roast, which is sure to test the TBS editing crew?
Things I learned from watching the TV taping of Cheech & Chong: Roasted...