And then he went to prison. A documentary, "a/k/a Tommy Chong," on how he was jailed for his reputation, part of a nationwide sting aimed at sellers of pot paraphernalia, has won awards at film festivals. The movie comes out on DVD Tuesday.
Chong became a symbol for victims of the politicized Bush Justice Department, which followed up its "selective prosecution" of Chong by seizing 10,000 copies of the DVD last May, even though he doesn't profit from the film.
"The Justice Department? They're my best career boosters," Chong jokes. Chong's stand-up act was re-invigorated. His long-estranged partner, Cheech Marin, agreed to re-form their act and take it on the road.
But I'm their bad karma, by the way. They arrested a popular guy. And everybody wants to hear my story. Now I've got a DVD, Cheech and I are touring. I do interviews about the why and how of what they did all the time. I'm that headache that won't go away for them.