There’s A Good Reason Why Cheech And Chong Were Clear-Eyed While Filming The Stoner Classic ‘Up In Smoke’

It’s April 20th, so the internet is covered in pot leaves, weed playlists, and the news that Senator Chuck Schumer has introduced a bill to federally legalize marijuana on the most appropriate of days. It’s also when people indulge in the national cannabis holiday while more than likely watching Cheech and Chong’s 1978 stoner classic Up In Smoke.

During the festivities/Up In Smoke viewing party, you can be the person that blows minds by dropping some random Cheech and Chong knowledge that may or may not be well-received. First, the easy to digest: Cheech and Chong were mostly improv-ing their way through their debut film. In an enjoyable Rolling Stone feature on the 40th-anniversary edition of the film, Cheech Marin explains that the famous scene in which a hungry dog snatches his burrito was completely improvised, and the film was constantly changing. Kind of like Curb Your Enthusiasm, but three decades earlier.

“I personally wrote pages on a yellow pad,” Chong said. “I’ve still got ’em in my basement. It had a smattering of dialogue. But it was mostly a roadmap.”

The second revelation is something that will likely disappoint stoners everywhere, but it ties into the first bit of trivia: Cheech and Chong weren’t high on-set. The improv would’ve simply been too hard to pull off, and they were working to make a movie, not write one: “We maybe smoked after shooting,” Marin says, “but not when we’re working. We had to sustain a level of energy, especially making movies. We had long days on set. If we got stoned, we wouldn’t get it done.”

And if they never finished Up In Smoke, people never would’ve tried rolling those ridiculously huge joints, and the war on weed would’ve suffered a great blow.

(Via Rolling Stone/AV Club)