Cheech & Chong were determined to hire local talent for their film, which led Paul Reubens to his fortunate break. They wanted to work with people who were able to keep up their own improvisational skills. The American Film Institute Catalog, quoting the AMPAS library file for “Cheech and Chong’s Next Movie,” Tommy Chong attended five separate Groundlings shows before deciding who he’d cast in the movie. In addition, he scoured Los Angeles for improv shows and picked the most suitable supporting players. That resulted in Reubens and fellow Groundlings (and future stars) Edie McClurg and Cassandra Peterson and many other members of the troupe being cast in the film in minor or supporting roles. Reubens, Peterson and other members of the troupe were cast in minor or supporting roles.
Reubens resurfaced later in “Cheech & Chong’s Nice Dreams” where he played the drug-addled Howie Hamburger Dude who stole Cheech and Chong’s money. He wore pajamas underneath a blazer and spoke in an uncommon voice. Reubens laughed as a group of leering and unusually dressed individuals carried the comedy duo away. Reubens’ introduction of a new character is a memorable one.