Cheech and Chong
The drugged out underground/counterculture antidotes of Richard "Cheech" Marin and Tommy Chong almost seem anachronistic in present day light, but before the 1980s unleashed Reagan's war on drugs, Cheech and Chong were the progenitors of stoner comedy. While some critics dismissed their edgy sketches as lowbrow, others compared their craft to W.C. Fields' boozy boutades. The two comics met while attempting to form a rock band. As musicians, they found that audiences reacted much more enthusiastically to their dopey onstage banter, so they ran with it. They built up a grass roots following the success of their recorded albums before taking their antics to the silver screen. But as the 1970s turned into the '80s and the nation's young people were advised to "Just Say No," Cheech and Chong's popularity inevitably waned enough to warrant a breakup. While Chong has largely remained an underground icon of pop culture (showing up as himself, more or less, in such appropriate sitcoms as That '70s Show, Cheech has worked hard to forge a bona fide Hollywood career for himself.