Half Baked is a dopey comedy that deserves a place in the stoner movie pantheon next to Up in Smoke and Reefer Madness. The film was released in 1998 and featured an interesting collection of diverse comedians: Dave Chappelle, Jim Breuer, Harland Williams, and Guillermo Diaz. The screenplay was written by Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan, a writing duo that would later collaborate to create the monumental Chappelle Show. Unfortunately upon release, Half Baked was a disappointment at the box office with Chappelle later lamenting, “Neal [Brennan] and I lost touch for a while after the release of Half Baked. It was like leaving a crime scene.” However over time, Half Baked has gained a significant reputation as a classic stoner cult film.
Half Baked Movie Scenes
The Half Baked movie begins by introducing four lifelong stoner friends (Thurgood, Brian, Kenny, and Scarface played by Chappelle, Breuer, Williams, and Diaz respectively) who currently live together in New York City. One night, this cannabis clique gets really high, and Kenny, the kindergarten teacher, is elected to leave the apartment to secure proper munchie food for the remainder of the evening. Unfortunately Kenny is arrested for accidentally killing a diabetic police horse by feeding it excessive junk food.
Eventually, the friends discover half baked Kenny is in jail and needs $1,000,000 to be bailed out before brutal prisoners take advantage of his innocence. At the prison, we meet Thurgood’s love interest, the aptly named Mary Jane Potman, played by Rachel True who you might remember from another 90’s cult movie, The Craft.
The next day at his custodial job in a medical laboratory, Thurgood is given some high potency weed by an unethical scientist for completing a small, but important errand: retrieving a pound of cannabis from another area of the lab. After toking on this incredible ganja, Scarface gets the idea to steal more weed from Thurgood’s workplace in order to raise funds for Kenny’s bail.
The friends eventually grow their pot business enough to attract the attention of local drug lord, Samson Simpson, played by none other than the inimitable Clarence Williams III. Simpson extorts them for $20,000 per week as they are encroaching on his drug territory. The main characters then find themselves in another predicament as their payments to Simpson interfere with their fund-raising for Kenny, while Thurgood and Mary Jane’s relationship is compromised due to her staunch anti-drug beliefs.
In an effort to increase their weed earnings, Thurgood and co. decide to rob the medical laboratory, but their hilariously inept antics get them arrested during the botched caper. The police make a deal with Thurgood in which he’ll wear a wire during a meeting with Simpson in exchange for freeing Kenny and dropping all charges against our half-baked heroes. After a hilarious scene at Simpson’s lair involving Jerry Garcia hallucinations, crossbows, and a small army of beautiful, militant women, the friends are reunited, and Thurgood repairs his relationship with Mary Jane by quitting weed for good.
Half Baked Characters
Half Baked’s main cast features a great collection of comedic actors, but the frequent cameo appearances provide viewers with endless comical surprises. Famous comedians and popular stoner celebrities emerge abundantly.
Tommy Chong plays the friendly prisoner, Squirrel Master, Willie Nelson portrays an old school pothead, and a half baked Snoop Dogg hilariously materializes as the “scavenger smoker.” Bob Saget has an unexpectedly dirty, uncredited appearance (he was directing Dirty Work at the same location Half Baked was being filmed), and John Stewart takes an uproarious turn as the “enhancement smoker” claiming weed reveals the paranoid secrets hidden in a $20 bill.
With regards to stoner culture, Steven Wright provides the most important cameo as the half baked Guy on the Couch. While the aforementioned cameos represented common archetypes to most cannabis enthusiasts, Wright’s character as the Guy actually created an original archetype in which stoners everywhere could project their various couchlocked comrades.
Half Baked is a riotous Dave Chappelle weed movie in which I will always fondly reflect because its release coincided with the early days of me and my friends falling in love with weed and cannabis culture. We enjoyed regular viewings of the film while getting as high as possible on whatever terrible, seed-laden brick weed we could acquire. Half Baked was so ingrained in our rural stoner cell that I would always signal my initial highness to my pals while smoking by saying, “What day is it, man?” in my best Jim Breuer, Half Baked voice.
Whether you’ve seen it or not, I strongly suggest grabbing your version of Billy Bong Thorton or Wesley Pipes to get fully baked while watching Half Baked. Just make sure to gather your munchies before the shenanigans begin.
Half Baked Movie FAQs:
Is Half Baked on Netflix?
No, Half Baked is not currently on Netflix.
Is there a Half Baked 2?
No, there is not a current plan in production for Half Baked 2.
Is Jerry Garcia in Half Baked?
No, he is not. Jeffy Garcia died 3 years prior to the release of Half Baked. However, Jerry Garcia is portrayed in the movie by Jerry Garcia impersonator, David Bluestein.
Who is the rapper in Half Baked?
The rapper, Sir Smoke-a-Lot, in Half Baked is played by Dave Chapelle.