There are lots of things we love and remember about Half Baked. That Dave Chappelle was an effortless comedy star, that you don’t need to be high to enjoy the movie (though it doesn’t hurt), and that Jim Breuer can’t look not stoned. But as you revisit this cult classic on IFC this month, here are a few facts you may not have known about one of the best stoner comedies of all time.
10. Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan Didn’t Talk About the Film Before Pitching It
Dave Chappelle called his friend Neal Brennan and said, “If Universal calls, tell them we’re working on a weed movie.” Great news, except Brennan and Chappelle had never talked about pitching anything. Apparently, Dave Chappelle wanted to write with Brennan and offhandedly pitched the idea of a weed movie and the studio loved it.
9. The Film Went from Pitch to Production Incredibly Fast
Just because a studio likes a pitch, there’s no guarantee that a script will be written, let alone the movie will actually get made. It can take years of development for a film to go into production. Not Half Baked, however. Chappelle and Brennan pitched the film in February, with zero script written, and they were on set by July.
8. The Writers Had Never Worked Together
Though the two were friends, Dave and Neal had never worked on anything together before Half Baked. Neal had offered some joke punch-ups to Chappelle’s stand up, but that was it. Later, they went on to create Chappelle’s Show, so it’s lucky Dave wanted to do a weed movie on a whim.
7. The Film Was a Commercial Flop
Though Half Baked is now a fan favorite, it opened in sixth place at the box office and was considered a failure. After the release, CNN proclaimed that Dave Chappelle’s career was over. Luckily, CNN is not known for its expertise in comedy and Dave Chappelle went on to star in one of the most beloved sketch shows of all time.
6. Neal Brennan Doesn’t Like the Movie
In multiple interviews, Neal Brennan is grateful for the fan love, but doesn’t really care for the movie himself. Once Half Baked got into production, people stopped listening to Brennan and Chappelle’s ideas, resulting in a film that was not what they pictured. Neal said it now looks like a “weed movie for kids,” when they wanted it to be a weed version of Larry Clark’s Kids.
5. Jim Breuer and Dave Chappelle first appeared together on an episode of Home Improvement
Half Baked was not the first time Chappelle and Breuer worked together. In 1995, the duo appeared as bumbling buddies asking Tim “The Toolman” Taylor for love advice on an episode of the hit sitcom Home Improvement. This led to ABC giving Chappelle and Breuer their own sitcom, the short-lived series Buddies. Unfortunately, Breuer was replaced by actor Christopher Gartin before the show premiered. The series tanked, and when Chappelle needed someone to play the perpetually high Brian, he needed to look no further than his old friend.
4. Jim Breuer was Not High During Filming, Except One Time
Jim Breuer was a professional on the set of Half Baked, but one day he was dismissed from filming and decided to get high in his trailer after a hard day’s work. Suddenly, a PA knocks on his door and says he has to go back to set to shoot one more scene. Clarence Williams III (Samson Simpson) said he was quitting the movie unless they finished all his scenes that day. So, Jim dragged himself to set to say, “Sucks to be you, man.” Apparently, it took many takes.
3. Samson Simpson is a Tony Nominated Actor
Though he might not have loved his time playing Samson Simpson, Clarence Williams III is a legendary actor. Best known for playing Linc Hayes on The Mod Squad, he also worked extensively on Broadway. He once starred onstage with Maggie Smith and was nominated for a Tony Award for Slow Dance on the Killing Ground.
2. Some of the Cast Has Turned Against Weed
Stephen Baldwin has a cameo as “MacGayver Smoker,” but in the years since the film premiered the actor has become an evangelical Christian and is now violently opposed to weed use. Luckily Snoop Dogg’s cameo in the film has only enhanced his delight for the sticky icky.
1. Half Baked is the Director’s Follow Up to “MMMBop”
Tamra Davis directed many music videos and Adam Sandler’s first big hit, Billy Madison. But right before Half Baked, she was the visionary behind the music video of Hansen’s “MMMBop.” To go from the flaxen haired child group to Dave Chappelle’s ode to drugs takes a lot of range.