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Smoking With the Stars

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Like most other potheads I know, I’ve pretty much worshipped Cheech and Chong since I was old enough to cough. From Up in Smoke to Nice Dreams, they set the standard for stoner comedy that Hollywood is still trying to live up to today. So naturally, for an aspiring celeb stoner like myself, getting my photo taken with reefer royalty like them was pretty high on my bucket list.

Now, I’d met and gotten high with Tommy Chong on many occasions over the years: at the Marijuanalogues in NYC, at the 20th Cannabis Cup in Amsterdam … I even got to interview him on the green carpet at the 2007 Stony Awards in Hollywood. But Cheech? I’d never had the pleasure of meeting him, let alone blazing with him. So when I learned that the Stonys would be returning to Hollywood this past September, and that they would be hosting it, I immediately volunteered to go. But with the job of green carpet host already filled by fellow editor Natasha Lewin, I had to find some other way to ensure I’d have the opportunity to fulfill my pipe dream. Luckily, I managed to score myself the job of celebrity handler.

We couldn’t have asked for a better venue than The Music Box. Located smack dab on Hollywood Boulevard’s Walk of Fame, it’s the epitome of rock n’ roll elegance. The first celeb to arrive was Craig Robinson (Hot Tub Time Machine, The Office) and members of his band The Nasty Delicious. I showed them down to their dressing room, got them water, then brought them upstairs to the roof deck and got them high. Then, just around … let’s say 4:20 … they arrived: the dynamic duo of dank, Cheech and Chong—along with Tommy’s lovely wife Shelby and son Paris.

“Hello, welcome … its an honor to have you all here,” I gushed. “I’m Bobby Black from High Times, and if there’s anything you need, anything I can do for you, just let me know and I’ll take care of it.”

I showed them to a comfy VIP booth, got them some drinks and let our producer and stage manager know they’d arrived. But before I could even think of asking them for a photo, I was needed elsewhere. First, I had to head out on a food run. Next, I worked with the club staff to get our banners hung above the entranceway. Then, I headed outside to get the green carpet backdrop set up. Fortunately, I finished just in time—the MySpace Comedy video crew had just showed up. As they and Natasha began their interviews and more celebrities began to make the scene, I headed back in. Cheech and Chong were already onstage, so I headed upstairs for another smoke. There, I bumped into Miss HT 2010 Brittany and Miss HT 2007 Sarah, who were dutifully fulfilling their obligations as our smokesmodels. After our session, I led them back out to the green carpet for our four minutes and 20 seconds of fame. Then something happened that was totally unexpected: perhaps in need of a smoke, Natasha turned to me and asked:

“Hey… do you want to take over?”

“Are you sure?” I asked in disbelief.

“Yes I’m sure. Here,” she said handing me back the mic, “it’s all yours.”

No sooner than she’d walked away, the kings of cannabis comedy themselves stepped onto the carpet. Now, I not only got to have a picture taken with them—I had the entire pot-parazzi photo corps snapping away at us.

“What do you think about what’s going on here in California with Prop 19?” I asked.

“I think it’ll pass,” Cheech replied, “and soon after every other state will follow. It’ll be legal for any purpose within three years. That’s my prediction. It’s going to spread faster than casinos and Starbucks.”

I went on to interview a number of other celebrities, including Robinson and Doug Benson. When the Tinseltown tide had finally subsided, I packed up the backdrop and went back inside. As the Nasty Delicious wound down their cover of Rick James’ “Mary Jane,” I went in search of my permanent plus one Vegas Price. Lo and behold, I found her sitting on a step backstage sharing a bowl with none other than Mr. Marin himself. As our smoke session—and the event—drew to a close, we walked Cheech outside, where Tommy and their limo awaited, thanked them and bid them goodnight.

With my dream of chillin’ with Cheech fulfilled and my work as celebrity handler done for the night, I headed up to the roof for the after-party, where I proceeded to get baked beyond belief. Not quite as baked as MySpace correspondent Ben Gleib, however, who apparently got a bit too “immersed in the story” and ended up face-down on the carpet. Oh well … I guess that’s what happens when you send a MySpace reporter to do a HIGH TIMES reporter’s job.

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