It's been 20 years since we first met potheads Craig and Smokey in the get-high comedyFriday
, and ET was on the 1995 set with Ice Cube
and Chris Tucker
"A lot of everyday things that happen to us are funny whether we realize they're funny or not," Ice Cube told ET. "I just took a lot of those life experiences, those natural things that feel good and put them together in a script."
The film marked the rapper-turned-actor's first foray into screenwriting-- he co-wrote the screenplay with hip-hop producer DJ Pooh-- about what life was really like growing up in South Central, Los Angeles.
"I've been writing rap lyrics since I was 14," he said. "Being able to rap lyrics together is just taking my mind and putting it on paper and I didn't think it would be too different than screenwriting. It came natural."
At the time, films like Boyz N the Hood and Menace II Society, had a more horrific depiction of life in South Central, Ice Cube hoped to shed a different light on his hometown.
"There's a thousand stories to tell in our neighborhood and this is just one of them," he said. "Comedy is a big part of our neighborhood. It keeps us going because if we weren't laughing, we'd be crying."
The comedy also launched the career of a then 23-year-old Chris Tucker, who told ET his scene-stealing role as Smokey was a major blessing. "I could be doing a million other things [like] working at UPS, McDonald's flipping fries," he said. "But God blessed me to do this so I'm happy."
Friday was made for an estimated $3.5 million and went on to gross $28 million. The sleeper hit spawned two sequels and perhaps more astonishing, it provided America with the catchphrase "Bye Felicia!" just in the last year.
"It's real strange how this little kind of throwaway line in the movie has become this phenomenon," Cube said at a special 4/20 anniversary screening of the movie. "Whenever somebody is annoying you... Hit them with a 'Bye Felicia,' they'll know what you're talking about."
Ice Cube reunited with the film's director F. Gary Gray
for his next project, Straight Outta Compton
, about his days in N.W.A.
But 20 years later, their first collaboration is an enduring hit. "I think that the love that the people have for this movie in their heart... you can't put a dollar amount on that," he said.
Watch the full video for more on the 1995 set.