INTERVIEW: Tommy Chong Talks Bringing Leo Back For ‘That 90s Show’
When you watched That 70s Show and Tommy Chong appeared as Leo, a lot of parents sighed and explained who he was. Not me though, I grew up in a family who loved Cheech & Chong. So I, in turn, knew exactly who Tommy Chong was growing up. Now, those 90s kids are explaining to their kids who Tommy Chong is in That 90s Show. Man…I’m old.
Chong returned to the series (which just got a second season announcement) as Leo, the resident pot head in Wisconsin who the original kids loved. And he’s functioning in the same way in That 90s Show. Well, sort of. He shows up when Kelso and Jackie’s son Jay tells Eric and Donna’s daughter Leia that someone stole the movie store’s copy of Clerks. And who has it? Leo.
Getting to talk to Tommy Chong was a dream come true. Again, I grew up watching his stuff and he did make me cry while watching That 90s Show. Not because he’s doing something cry worthy but just because I knew my dad would have loved that Chong returned to the series. And getting to talk with Chong was a dream come true!
Heading back to the 90s
One of the things about the series is that the returning cast all seem to say the same thing: They were excited to go back to work with their friends. When I asked Chong about what brought him back to the series, he talked a lot about the original and when it ended.
“Oh, are you kidding?” he joked. “I mean, when we stopped That 70s Show, it wasn’t like, ‘oh, thank God it’s over.’ It was more like, ‘oh no, I guess we’re gonna get a long break.’ You knew everybody, everybody in the cast knew that, ‘no, this isn’t gonna end. It’s gonna start up again somehow, somewhere.’ You know, it’s almost like we got shut down for the pandemic. And now we’re starting up again. Only we’re starting up with the grandkids. When we did the last show, it was so touching and so sweet, but there wasn’t no final feeling behind it, it always felt like we’re gonna take a break and then we’re gonna come back and here we are.”
And coming back to Leo for Chong seemed like the easy and right movie. When I asked him about the joy in coming back, he praised the writing on the show. “The magic of the show is the writing,” he said. “It’s the writing. Think about it. They got kids that with no big experience in acting other than they can act. And now we got a new crop. And so it’s the writers, it’s the writers that are just like, when you go to school, it’s the teachers. It’s the teachers that and whether or not the kids grab it or not, that’s up to them. But it’s the teachers that set the tone and the pace and it gives you the product. And so That 70s Show, it was writing that was incredible and That 90s Show, we’re right back to writers. It’s incredible.”
You can see Tommy Chong back as Leo in That 90s Show on Netflix now!
(featured image: Netflix)
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