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Half Baked is a 1998 stoner comedy film starring Dave Chappelle, Jim Breuer, Harland Williams and Guillermo Díaz. The movie was directed by Tamra Davis, and co-written by star Dave Chappelle and Neal Brennan (Brennan was later a writer on Chappelle's Comedy Central show Chappelle's Show). Cameo appearances include Steven Wright, Tommy Chong, Janeane Garofalo, Willie Nelson, Tracy Morgan, Snoop Dogg, Jon Stewart, Stephen Baldwin, Max Dolcelli and Bob Saget. Jerry Garcia was portrayed by actor David Bluestein, as Garcia had died three years before the film's release.

The film became a cult classic, heralded by many as Dave Chappelle's comic breakthrough. Chappelle's quote from the film, "I wanna talk to Samson!," has created a popular slang term for smoking marijuana with the term being used on J Dilla's track 'Crushin' (Yeeeeah!).


Thurgood (Chappelle) and his friends Brian (Breuer) and Scarface (Diaz) are forced into selling marijuana stolen from the lab where Thurgood works as a "master of the custodial arts" (janitor) in order to bail their friend Kenny (Williams) out of jail, after he accidentally kills a diabetic police horse by feeding it junk food. Their business, named Mr. Nice Guy in honor of their good-natured incarcerated friend, becomes immensely popular, even attracting famous clientèle. However, Thurgood's personal life is ruined once his adamantly anti-drug girlfriend, ironically named Mary Jane Potman (Rachel True), discovers that he works for Mr. Nice Guy. Soon, all of their lives are in danger once Samson Simpson, a local drug lord, learns that Mr. Nice Guy is costing him business, including his former client rapper Sir Smoka Lot. He threatens to kill them if they do not pay him 20 grand every week. Brian also buys a pouch that is supposed to contain the ashes of Jerry Garcia with some of the money they are making, and Scarface buys a rottweiler named Killer.

However, Thurgood tells police about a future meeting he has with Samson Simpson after they arrest him for stealing marijuana from the laboratory. The police agree to drop the charges if Thurgood wears a wire, that way they can get the proof they need to arrest the drug lord. Before the guys go into Samson's home they smoke a joint in the police van. The cops get high from the second hand smoke. The cops tell them to say abracadabra when they have purchased the drugs. During the interview, Samson discovers that Thurgood is wearing a wire and is about to kill them. They scream abracadabra into the wire to try and get the cops to save them. But the cops are high from second-hand smoke and busy mocking a letter Thurgood wrote to Mary Jane. A fight breaks out with Samson and his army of women. Brian throws the pouch he bought earlier on the ground. The ghost of Jerry Garcia emerges and hits Samson with a guitar, knocking him out. The police then rush in and recover all of the drugs, and arrest Samson after he wakes up. Thurgood, Brian, and Scarface's deal with the police works to get Kenny a pardon from jail. Thurgood gives up smoking and is able to win back Mary Jane.


Much of Half Baked was shot in Torontomarker, Ontariomarker. Some shooting locations included the R.marker C.marker Harris Water Treatment Plantmarker and Yonge Street.

On Inside the Actors Studio in 2006, Chappelle lamented that his original Half Baked script was actually much better than the film turned out to be, specifically that he had intended for the film to be more adult-oriented, and thought that his script had been turned into "a weed movie for kids".


Half Baked hit U.S. theaters on January 16, 1998, grossing $7,722,540 in its opening weekend (#6; #1 at that weekend was Titanic), and grossed in total over $17,000,000. Given the movie's $8,000,000 budget, it can be considered a commercial success as well as a cult favorite.

It holds a 26% on Rotten Tomatoes.

Despite its positive success in America, Half Baked was never shown in Australian cinemas, most likely because of the movie's indiscreet drug topic. The film however did make it to DVD and then eventually to television airings. Half Baked is #81 on Bravo's "100 Funniest Movies."

DVD features

In an alternate ending available on the "Fully Baked Edition" DVD release as a deleted scene, it is revealed that after Kenny returns home from jail, all of the roommates sit down to smoke from "Billy Bong Thornton," an act that was thwarted earlier in the movie due to Kenny still being in jail. This scene also implies that it is Thurgood's last time smoking.

The next scene is an extended version of the theatrical ending, in which Thurgood meets Mary Jane on the bridge, and after a short talk with his "joint" he throws it over the side of the bridge, then walks off with Mary Jane. In this version, he has a longer talk with his "joint," throws it off the side of the bridge, and slowly walks away with Mary Jane until they almost disappear on the horizon, but then Thurgood comes running back yelling, "Hold on, weed, I'm coming!" as he hops over the side of the bridge at the spot where he threw the joint over.

In the same alternate ending, it is also revealed that Jan may not really be "a big dyke" as she is caught on the couch with Steven Wright's the "guy on the couch" character, when Kenny and the roommates return home from bailing Kenny out of jail.
Brian, Thurgood, Scarface

The "Fully Baked Edition" also includes a segment called "Five Minutes with the Guy on the Couch." The five minute clip depicts a stationary camera filming a man who resembles Steven Wright, as he sleeps on the couch. As clouds of smoke waft in and out of the scene, he turns over several times, farts, scratches his head, removes his socks, and at the end of the scene, he rolls over and falls off of the couch. This feature is reminiscent of the Yule Log, in which a stationary camera films a burning log in a fireplace which is intended for people who do not have a fireplace.

Cultural references

  • During the robbery scene, Scarface wears black clothing and paints his face in a fashion similar to that of the characters in the film Dead Presidents.

  • When Brian is fired from his job, he "flips out" and asks "Who's comin' with me?", just as Tom Cruise does in the movie Jerry Maguire.

  • Thurgood makes a comment to a scientist at his place of employment that his "grandfather was in the Tuskegee experiments." This is a reference to the infamous Tuskegee Study of Untreated Syphilis in the Negro Male, where hundreds of poor black men were denied treatment of syphilis to study the effects of the disease.

  • The group named their hookah "Billy Bong Thornton", which is a reference to actor Billy Bob Thornton. The pipe used to smoke the medical marijuana was named "Wesley Pipes", a reference to actor Wesley Snipes. Both actors have appeared in films with drug use as story plots, with Billy Bob Thornton in the successful stoner movie Homegrown. In Spanish dubbed versions, the bowl was named "Scotty Pipas" a reference to Scottie Pippen (pipas translates as pipes).

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