Its very rare to find somebody, especially in southern California, who doesn’t know who Cheech Marin is. With his snap wit and easily identifiable exaggerated accent he’s a main stay of stoner cinema and comedy. He co-wrote and acted in all eight of the Cheech and Chong movies with partner Tommy Chong. He’s is a very prolific actor and artist, more so than most people even know. From Beverly Hills Chihuahua to From Dusk Til Dawn it seems there is no genre he is unwilling to experiment with. He has even done some video game voice over work, reprising his role of Benzai the Hyena from Lion King in Kingdom Hearts 2. He has acted in over 70 movies on his long standing successful career and at least 36 television shows. Cheech is also a big mover and shaker in the Chicano Art scene and at one point owned one of the largest, if not the largest Chicano Art collection known to man. His collection has been shown in various museums of the years, it’s become the one thing that in the art community he is well known for. He’s donated a lot work himself to various Chicano organizations, giving back to a community that has embraced him since the very start. On top of that he’s recorded eight records with Chong. As versatile as funny this year marked a new chapter in Cheech’s eclectic life of art, he wrote a book.
On March 14th “Cheech Is Not My Name…But Don’t Call Me Chong!” was released. His autobiography that’s covers Cheech and Chongs early days in Vancouver where they met, to the eventual split up and reunion. He also talks about what it was like being such a prolific actor performing in so many different films and shows, insightful looks at his youth spent in South Central Los Angeles he also explores his love and the development of his passion in the Chicano Art Movement. “Cheech is Not My Name..” is an insightful and frankly a delightful look at an artist’s life, a treatise on stoner humor and at the same time a bit of a coming of age story, how the boy became a man and how he made us all laugh.
Cheech is a rare person, softly spoken but, passionate. Intelligent. A deep well of knowledge about the industry, there’s very few people in film as grounded as he is and remains to be. Do yourself a favor and read his new book, you will be a better person because of it and maybe you’ll learn a little about an art scene you may not have been to aware of. He also has a show July 21st with Tommy Chong, a reunion of two friends who started their paths together, something you absolutely do not want to miss.