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Cheech and Chong, July 18, Revolution

Up in smoke

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If you hear, "It's me Dave. Open up, man. I got the stuff," it's not a CIA agent waiting for the correct response before divulging the drop site for some microfilm. It is a kind of code, though, and fans of Grammy-winning duo Cheech and Chong know the reply.

Tommy Chong and Richard "Cheech" Marin hugely influenced pop culture, and made a name--and a living--perfecting stoner comedy. They started in stand-up, found a bigger audience with their 1971 self-titled album and an even bigger one after 1978's Up In Smoke. More albums and more films followed, but times and the duo's relationship change, which could have been harbingers of the end. Instead, both men continued with successful careers: Chong has done hundreds of cameos, often portraying a stoner hippie; Marin is known best to some as Don Johnson's Nash Bridges sidekick, Joe Dominguez; both have contributed their voices to a number of animated characters; and they continue to perform live, touring now with another '70s classic, the band WAR.

By the way, if anyone asks, "Dave's not here."