Living the High Life (Sort of) at Tommy Chong’s 80th Birthday Party

Bet you’ll never guess what the theme of the party was
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Many successful Hollywood comedies include some generational disconnect, middle-aged folks trying (and failing) to understand and acclimate to youth culture. My out-of-touch moment happened at a pot party. For an octogenarian.

Tommy Chong, of Cheech and Chong fame, just turned 80, so he decided to throw himself a party at the Deco Building in Hancock Park. And Tommy doesn’t just play a pothead on the big screen. He’s been called the “patron saint of stoners” and even has his own brand of weed and weed accoutrements.

The décor inside included balloon sculptures bearing an incredible likeness to the man of the hour and a piñata shaped like the herb of the hour. Amid the throngs of hip millennials—a young guy with cornrows and tight pants, an even younger lady with teased-out hair and a miniskirt—pot ambassadors displayed their products on tables throughout the space. I began to feel like a prude at a nudist colony. No thanks, none for me. I kindly refused their offerings. “Here, man,” a vendor said as he handed me a pipe. It was empty. What a relief, I thought to myself.

Upstairs was a grand three-layer cake, probably infused with a certain leafy additive. Yeah, I tasted it, all the while thinking about the pleasure Jeff Sessions would take in arresting the lot of us. Wild and carefree—that’s me.

Good times with my lovely wife for my 80th bday last night @funnyshelby

A post shared by Tommy Chong (@heytommychong) on

Across the way was a booth with Tommy’s signature Chong’s Choice goods. His chronic is potent, or so I’m told. I asked about prices and was told, “Oh, we’re not selling it here.” After explaining that I’d asked for journalistic purposes, the baby-faced spokeswoman walked me through the world of buds, THC, and concentrates. Then she handed me a joint. I nonchalantly took it and quickly squirreled it away in my back pocket. Rebel!

After a while, I started to feel a bit light-headed. Was it that mint one of the nice people downstairs gave me? Where had the clouds come from? Were people toking indoors? I sensed a surge of recklessness and looked for excuses to leave. Tommy had yet to arrive and I had no idea when he would, so I made my way to the exit.

I went home and tried on my black leather jacket. It still fits. Rebel.


RELATED: Revisiting the L.A. Locations From Cheech and Chong’s Up in Smoke 40 Years Later


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