Still Smokin’ in Denver

Cheech & Chong kick off the 4/20 festivities in Colorado.

With Ice Cube, Slightly Stoopid, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Kahlifa, I thought the entertainment for our Cannabis Cup weekend in Denver couldn’t be better—that is, until I learned that Cheech and Chong were appearing at the Fillmore Auditorium that Thursday night.

I’ve met Tommy Chong a bunch of times, and met Cheech Marin a couple of times as well. What I’d never done, however, was see them perform together live. So I reached out to Chris Chiari from King Of Quality (who was promoting the show), who generously gifted me 10 tickets for the High Times staff.

I arrived at the Fillmore around 8 p.m. with my wife on one arm and an honorary Cannabis Cup judges’ kit under the other. But when security wouldn’t let me in with it, I had to put my BBD to work. I tried calling and texting Chris, but got no response. Then, after waiting outside for around 10 minutes, I bumped into Uncle Stoner—a Cup regular and friend of Chiari’s—and explained my situation.

“Forget the front door, Bobby,” he told me. “Come around the side to the VIP entrance.”

A separate VIP entrance? Now we’re talking! I followed him down the block and, employing my best magickal misdirection skills, slid right past the club staff without them even noticing the kit. I also learned that not only did my tickets come with a private entrance, but entrance to a VIP balcony area as well. I grabbed a beer and made it to the balcony just as the “420 Comic” Jeffrey Peterson was ending his set. Also performing that night were ‘70s R&B group Sister Sledge, backed up by the Family Stone of Sly and the Family Stone—giving new meaning to their hit “We Are Family.”

The Danktanstic Duo started off with some reefer repartee with Tommy’s wife Shelby, then did a few songs and updated versions of some of their greatest hits—including the classic “Dave’s Not Here” and front-seat smoking scene “Cruising” from Up In Smoke. Sure, we’d heard the jokes before, and maybe their delivery wasn’t as tight as it once was, but when that crowd and I gave them a roaring ovation at the end, we weren’t just clapping for the performance that night—we were clapping for every performance they’d ever given. For all of the jokes and routines and movies, for all of the entertainment and activism they’ve so brilliantly and boldly bestowed upon us over the past half a century.

After the show, Chiari escorted me backstage to greet the comic legends. I congratulated them, thanked them, and then made my presentation.

“On behalf of High Times, I’d like to present you with this honorary Cannabis Cup Judges’ Kit,” I said as I handed them the box. Inside were three samples from each of our Cup categories. When they opened it, their eyes lit up … in fact, Cheech—who was leaving town the next day—was so stoked about it that I watched him write out his home address and hand it to our associate publisher Rick Cusick, who promised to send him his share. Before saying goodnight, I was able to snag a few photos and a quick video message from the guys.

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