By Tommy Chong
This is the game-changer I so desperately needed.
On one hand I can’t believe that I made it this long without realizing what I had sitting right there in my own damn name, while on the other hand this could be the shot in the arm my stoner comedy career needed. Let’s face it; ever since Cheech and I got into that fistfight on the Ed Sullivan show, my career has been on a downward slide. So downward, in fact, that I spent 9 months in jail.
Getting sent to jail was a real kick in the teeth for a lot of reasons. Like for starters I had to live in jail. Celebrities don’t go to jail. At least not the ones that are worth a damn. That meant that not only was I going to spend the next 9 months in jail, but I was going to have to do it as a wash-up. A has-been. A used-to-be-but-isn’t-anymore-and-wishes-they-still-were. I just sat in that jail cell for 9 long months trying to figure out how I was gong to rise back to the top of the comedy food chain. If you were going to shoot it as a montage, first I’d make some graphs, do some jumping jacks, then eat two eggs cracked over a taco before finally giving up and crying myself to sleep. Ideas don’t just come to a guy like me. They have to be hammered in for my entire life.
When I got out of jail I had nothing. No comedy plans, no pot and only a few million dollars to my name. Oh, and my wife and kids. But other than that, my life was basically over. The world had changed in those 9 months. Things were different. people weren’t talking about Batman and Robin anymore, they were talking about Batman Begins. Nobody wanted to talk about Clooney anymore and Michael Keaton had been all but lost to time. That’s when I had a realization; If people couldn’t remember the single greatest Batman that ever donned the cape and cowl, then why in the world would they ever bother to remember me?
I knew I had to come up with a new angle and I had to do it within the next 10-15 years. I tried another montage but it once again achieved nothing. I tried buying some jokes from other pot-based comedians, still nothing. The people that remembered me still liked me, sure, but I needed to tap back into that mainstream audience. I had to connect with the kids or I’d just be left in the dust of the Doug Benson’s of the world. I may have been one of the first openly stoner comedians, but I certainly wasn’t the last, and when this all shakes out, I didn’t know if I’d have what it takes to survive. That’s when it happened.
One day while getting stoned, I realized that the popular clothing brand “Billabong” ended with what appeared to be the last three letters of my name. I of course gave the company a call and asked them to stop using part of my name to promote their clothing line. They scoffed at me and just as I was threatening to get my lawyers involved I said the name “Billabong” out loud again and it changed my life forever.
Think of the merchandise! The catch-phrases! And the songs practically write themselves. You’re going to see me everywhere from here on out, teaching kids that smoking yourself stupid is the coolest thing you can possibly do with your life. Look at me! I’m rich, successful, and I’ve barely even been to jail. A triple threat! And now I’m stepping back into the spotlight. Here I come, kids, I may look similar to some of your parents, but that wasn’t me. That was someone else.
Let me introduce you to Tommy “Billabong” Chong.