What Cheech and Chong's Tommy Chong Says Smoking Marijuana With Arnold Schwarzenegger Was Like
"They got this big old bong, and then they would put an eighth of weed in the bowl, and then they would fire it up with like a blowtorch," Tommy Chong, now 84 years old, recalled in an interview with Inside Edition Digital.
At first glance, Arnold Schwarzenegger, former Governor of California and a seven-time Mr. Olympia, and Tommy Chong, a stoner and comedian of the duo “Cheech and Chong,” wouldn’t seem to have much in common. But Chong says he struck up an unlikely friendship with Schwarzenegger and other famous body builders from California’s Muscle Beach that began in the '70s – and included hanging out at pot parties.
“The only substance that any of them would do safely was marijuana,” Chong, famous for 1978's "Up in Smoke," along with other classic stoner comedies, told Inside Edition Digital. “Arnold would smoke after he won the sixth Mr. America, Mr. Universe, he’d have a celebratory joint, so I knew it was healthy.”
Chong, who is originally from Vancouver, Canada, said before he moved to Los Angeles, it was his dream to work out at Gold’s Gym in Venice Beach. It had been what many had called the golden era of body building, and many familiar with the industry still considers it a time when some of history’s best bodies were built.
When Chong got himself a membership, he said he quickly became part of the gang.
“I got to hang out with Arnold, with Zabo [Koszewski], all these great bodybuilders,” Chong recalled. “I learned so much about dedication, about seeing things to the end, not quitting and clearing the mind.”
It was also among the famous bodybuilders that he said started smoking marijuana as much as he does today.
“They get stoned and they would go to these all-you-can-eat buffets, after they were there the first time, the second time the owner would come, ‘No, no, we’re closed. We’re closed,'" he recalled. "When you get a stoned bodybuilder and turn them loose in a buffet, especially after the contest when they've been starving for the contest… But they were in great shape. They would work it off the next day anyway.”
Chong said he also had fond memories of the parties Zabo, the manager of Gold’s Gym at the time, threw at his home. “He would have pot parties and he would have all the bodybuilders, [Dave] Draper and Arnold, we'd all come over there,” he recalled.
At the time, Chong wasn't the household name he is today.
“They didn't really know who I was until I became Cheech and Chong. Up until then, I was that guy, ‘What's his name?’” Chong joked. “They would have a contest. They got this big old bong, and then they would put an eighth of weed in the bowl, and then they would fire it up with like a blowtorch and the whole exercise was to take such a pull that the thing would glow, it would just glow and then get sucked into the water and explode.”
Then, he explained, they would hand him the bong. “I took my little [puff] and they ignored me after that,” Chong laughed.
Chong said he and the crew stayed good friends after. And, like any friendship, Chong joked that there was give and take between him and Schwarzenegger. “He didn’t know English. We used to sit on the beach with him and teach him bad words and teach him the wrong word on what to say to a girl,” he recalled.
Neither Schwarzenegger nor Draper have responded to Inside Edition Digital's request for comment.
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