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Comedy Festival goes up in smoke

Stewart Oksenhorn
Cinema legends Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong will reunite for the first time in 20 years at the upcoming Comedy Fest in Aspen.
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The U.S. Comedy Arts Festival has announced that the stoner comedy duo of Richard “Cheech” Marin and Tommy Chong will reunite for the first time in 20 years at the upcoming festival in Aspen.Marin and Chong will make an onstage appearance to talk about the pot-loving characters they created in a series of iconic movies, including 1978’s groundbreaking “Up in Smoke,” in which the two, in the roles of Pedro de Pacas and Anthony “Man” Stoner, smuggled a van made entirely of marijuana across the Mexican/U.S. border. The two followed with “Cheech & Chong’s Next Movie,” “Nice Dreams” and “Still Smokin.'”

“Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong are the embodiment of what we celebrate at the festival,” said John Moffitt, executive producer of the USCAF. “What began as a standup routine evolved into a cultural phenomenon.”The two met in the ’70s in Vancouver, where Chong was guitarist for the rock band Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers. The duo put together a stand-up act and released several comedy albums before bursting into film stardom. After parting ways in the ’80s, both continued to act.Chong was featured in such films as “After Hours” and “McHale’s Navy,” and plays Leo in the current TV series “That ’70s Show.” He is set to join the cast of the off-Broadway production of “The Marijuana-Logues.” Marin has appeared in the films “Born in East L.A.,” “Tin Cup” and “Masked and Anonymous,” and has a regular role as Ignacio Messina in the TV series “Judging Amy.”

Previously announced to appear at the 2005 USCAF are the makers and cast of the 1997 mockumentary “Waiting For Guffman,” including director Christopher Guest and actors Catherine O’Hara, Fred Willard, Eugene Levy, Bob Balaban and Parker Posey; “Doonesbury” creator Garry Trudeau, who will receive the Freedom of Speech Award; and Jim Carrey, who will be honored with the AFI Star Award in a ceremony hosted by Conan O’Brien.Also to be featured are The Rise of the Graphic Novel, with such comic-book artists as “Maus” creator Art Spiegelman; and a celebration of the Harvard Lampoon, with such alumni as “Simpsons” writer George Meyer and “The Critic” creator Mike Reiss.

Additional acts have yet to be announced. The USCAF regularly features stand-up acts, one-man shows, alternative comedy, industry programs and the Film Discovery Showcase, featuring new and vintage comedy features, documentaries and short films.Ticket packages for the 11th annual USCAF, scheduled for Feb. 9-13 at various Aspen venues, are available at 1-800-778-4633 or at http://www.hbocomedyfestival.com.Stewart Oksenhorn’s e-mail address is stewart@aspentimes.com


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