presents... Interesting Motherfucker: (noun)
An individual exhibiting such uniqueness or individuality that he or she will cause a roomful of bar cronies to exclaim, "That's one interesting motherfucker!" Actual sexual relations with one's mother are not required.

Click here for more Interesting Motherfuckers.

By John Saleeby

One of the more amusing comedies on television these days is "That 70's Show." It's sort of a "Happy Days" for the decade so glum it actually took a sit com about the fifties to cheer people up. Although "Happy Days" was a huge hit in the seventies it was widely agreed that a realistic portrayal of life in a decade as complex as the fifties was completely beyond the grasp of the situation comedy format. And now we have "That 70's Show", a series about a decade so dead on its ass that when you make a sit com about it everyone who was actually there just looks at it and goes "Yeah, that's what it was like, all right. Yep, yep." But this season "That 70's Show" is enlivened with the addition of the man who went above and beyond the call of duty to make the actual seventies more fun than they ever would have been without him - Tommy Chong.

Everybody remembers Tommy Chong as the big four eyed oriental half of Cheech And Chong - The hippie comedy team who sold a zillion albums to millions of giggling stoner teens in the seventies and then starred in a few enormously successful feature films in the early eighties before finally going Splitsville over Cheech's desire to go Hollywood and Chong's desire to tell Hollywood to go piss up a rope.

Since then Chong has appeared in a few movies and become a headliner on the comedy club circuit with more or less the same act he used to do with Cheech - A lot of blues guitar playing, the kind of funny songs kids make up while listening to the radio, and a bunch of skits with his beautiful blonde wife Shelby (Who appeared as a beautiful blonde in several Cheech and Chong movies) as his beautiful blonde stooge. Not the most glamorous gig in the biz but, judging from how brilliantly funny Chong is on "That 70's Show", it's kept his comic skills sharp while other seventies comedians like Steve Martin and Chevy Chase have gone soft and flabby. (John Belushi is in better shape than those guys). As "Leo", the latest incarnation of the bewildered loser character he has been playing for more than thirty years, Chong -At age sixty two- isn't just one of the funniest people on television today, he also earns his place amongst the most talented comedians of his time.

Which is really throwing the cat amongst the pigeons, cause Tommy Chong gets about as much respect from other comedians as Pee Wee Frampton gets from other musicians. While I was doing stand up in New York I wasted God only knows how many evenings fighting to keep a straight face while other comics blathered their chatty admiration for screaming meemies like Paul Reiser and Richard Lewis (Feel free to step out for a little fresh air), but if I was ever dumb enough to say anything about Tommy Chong people just looked at me like I had told them the size, shape, and color of my most recent bowel movement.

I suspect what other comedians find so annoying about Chong - And what shines through so beautifully on "That 70's Show"- is the total absence of anger in his humor. He may look like one of the Hell's Angels that beat the crap out of those stupid kids at that Rolling Stone's concert, but deep down inside Tommy's an ol' softie. Shucks, not "deep down" even!

But Americans are angry people and we like our comedy with a maximum of sneerin', snarlin', and snortin'. Remember Jackie Gleason and his "BANG! Right to the moon, Alice!"? Or Sam Kinison screaming and yelling about how stupid those Ethiopians were to live in a desert? Man, that is our kinda cuttin' up! Or if you really want to be a vicious prick you can do "Political Satire". If it really is true that kids get most of their news these days from the late night comedy shows it might be because Tom Brokaw and Peter Jennings could never be as mean spirited as Bill Maher and Jon Stewart. Those nattering nabobs of negativity deliver the punchline to a Bob Jones University or National Rifle Association joke with all the grace and delicacy of Joe Strummer on the first Clash album. From the way most comedians carry on you'd think that any second now the fascist rednecks are gonna rise up and pack us off to the concentration camps.

The World According To Tommy Chong, on the other hand, is a happy, sunny, bouncy place full of love and fun for one and all. My God, what if everybody started to think like that? It would be the end of civilization as we would have known it if we had subscribed to the New York Times! What is the deal with this Tommy Chong doofus and all that silly goofin' around of his? Ain't he got no anger? Sure, he does! But unlike most comedians Tommy Chong's really got something to be angry about.

Forget about how tough Richard Pryor had it as a kid, just try to imagine what it was like for Tommy Chong growing up as a half Chinese kid in a frontier town way up in the Canadian Rockies called Dog Patch. You have to go all the way back to W.C. Fields for a boyhood saga as gaga as that. This is a guy who's earliest childhood memory is of boxing with homemade gloves made out of burlap sacks. Hell, yeah, Tommy Chong has a gripe with this world. So why isn't he pouting and sulking all over the place like Howard Stern or Chris Rock? Well, maybe I'm going out on a limb here, but just maybe Tommy Chong is one of the very few comedians who had the GUTS to put that stupid anger aside and GROW UP into a decent, well adjusted, adult MAN. Gosh, there sure aren't a lot of THOSE in Hollywood, no wonder Cheech had to scrape him off!

But Americans don't believe in overcoming anger because we think anger is "cool". Anger is "street". Anger gives you "attitude" and if there's one thing you can't do without in American culture it's "attitude". That's why you can't look at advertising for more than five seconds without getting smacked in the face with some slogan like "Pizza With Attitude", "Tube Socks With Attitude", "Decongestant With Atti-

Hey, man! I've just received notification from Acid Logic headquarters that Tommy Chong makes a guest appearance on the latest solo album by Dr. Dre from Niggaz With Attitude! Can this be an omen? A sign from God Above that we are now as a people putting our anger and hostility aside to move into a New Age of Peace, Love, and Under- What!?! One of our ships has been blown up by Arab terrorists and a bunch of sailors are dead!?! That's it! The gloves are off and it's time to kick ass! We are gonna cut out their living guts and use them to grease the treads of our tanks! We are going to grind their women and children into hamburger and feed them to the Japs on a sesame seed bun! We are -
My chest hurts.

John Saleeby wrote for The National Lampoon while he was in high school, was a stand up comic in New York, and has contributed to the net humor zines, Campaign Central, and the legendary American Jerk. He's on medication now so he's probably a little nicer now than he was when you met him earlier. Email -

View John Saleeby's crazy web log!

Meet some other Interesting Motherfuckers:

Ray Walston by John Saleeby
From My Favorite Martian to Mr. Hand.
Mitch Hedberg
by John Saleeby
The last of the comedy greats!
Al Jafee
by Wil Forbis
Mad Magazine's cartoon master.
GG Allin
by Wil Forbis
Even punks loathed the performer who pushed past the bouderies.
David Allan Coe by Wil Forbis
Country's obscene outlaw walks the line.
Bernie Casey by John Saleeby
The blaxploitation star who rose from the ghetto of professional football.
Bret Easton Ellis by Tom Waters
Peruse the critical overview and interview with the fiction superstar.
Phil Lynott by Wil Forbis
Thin Lizzy's frontman rose from the streets of Ireland to the heights of rock stardom and then descended into the pit of drug abuse.
Louis CK by Sean C Tarry
Marvel at this stand up's ability to phrase the opposite of every song.
Sho Kosugi by Wil Forbis
Fear the power of the Ninja! Fear it, Bitch!
Bill Hicks by Cody Wayne
The mind expanding comedian gets his due.
Warren Zevon by Xander Horlyk
A literary look at "a moralist in cynic's clothing."
Pam Grier by John Saleeby
Sweet Christmas! It's the queen of blaxploitation, Foxy Brown herself!
Jack Webb by John Saleeby
When he created the elite police unit of "Dragnet," Jack Webb laid the first blow against the scourge of America: Hippies!
Doris Wishman by Wil Forbis
The prolific adult film maker, whose work includes the classic Chesty Morgan movies, is probed and prodded.
Dave Thomas by John Saleeby
Wendy's Dave Thomas was all about Biggie Fries, Frosties and love.
Spike Milligan by John Saleeby
Read up on the life of the British comedy scribe.
Toshiro Mifune by Wil Forbis
The Japanese actor who slashed his way through a thousand samurai movies.
Nina Hagen by Wil Forbis
The Wagnerian Banshee who created the blueprint for punk/funk/opera.

Bob and Tommy Stinson by John Saleeby
Get to know the real talents of eighties punk sensations, The Replacements.

Tom Savini by John Saleeby
The king of latex gore.

And there's even more on our main page!

Additional Tommy Chong Material:
Nardwuar Interviews Tommy Chong:
Canadian radio host Nardwuar has a great Tommy Chong interview at his site.

Tommy Chong - Libertarian:
Ken Bush describes his attempt to force a political conviction out of Tommy.

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