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Cheech and Chong: Still joking about toking

These days, stoner comedians Cheech Marin and Tommy Chong, a.k.a. Cheech and Chong, have the volatile dynamic of a married couple, each tiring of the other's company quickly.

"It's like we have this affinity together that comes along only once every couple of generations," Marin says from his home in Los Angeles. "My wife calls us 'Grumpy Old Stoners.' "

But the Grammy-winning duo behind eight cult films (including "Up in Smoke"), nine comedy albums ("Big Bambu") and classic sketches ("Sister Mary Elephant") seem to reunite with natural camaraderie and, of course, an enduring love of cannabis.

On Sunday, Dec. 15, the toker-jokers will perform at Hard Rock Live to benefit Broward House, a Fort Lauderdale-based AIDS organization.

Over the summer, Cheech and Chong toured with R&B stalwarts Tower of Power and funk-rockers War, bands whose 1970s rhythms are reminiscent of the duo's heyday, when they preached about counterculture, sang "Basketball Jones" and carved out now-classic sketches such as "Dave's Not Here," about a weed dealer showing up at a residence to deliver "the stuff."

"We were the new Latino mainstream. We made it cool to be a Mexican, man," Marin says. "Onstage, we still got it. It's like being athletes who can still play. Funny thing is, when we first reunited five years ago, we found a whole generation who only knew us from the movies and the records, so they were like, 'Uh, have you done this stage thing a lot?' "

Marin, 67, says he and Chong, 75, are working on a new live-action feature film, their first since 1984's "The Corsican Brothers." "Cheech and Chong's Animated Movie," released this year, features the pair voice-acting characters with darker hair, thinner waistlines and redder eyes.

"Definitely redder eyes. We don't toke up much anymore," Marin says. "Although I always wonder where Tommy disappears to backstage right before the show. People who say I quit — that's just vicious rumors, man. This whole pot legalization thing is inevitable, and I'm just gearing up so we can benefit the most from it. In the future, who wouldn't want a pack of Cheech and Chong 100 Menthol Lights?"

Cheech and Chong will perform at 7 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 15, at Hard Rock Live, 1 Seminole Way, in Hollywood. Tickets cost $49-$104.

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