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Guest Name
Tommy Chong
Guest Biography

Tommy Chong is a Canadian-born actor and musician who is well-known for his stereotypical portrayals of hippie-era stoners. He is most widely known for his role as Chong in the marijuana-themed Cheech and Chong comedy movies with Cheech Marin.

In the late 1980s, Chong became a naturalized citizen of the United States.  Before branching out into film, Chong was a guitarist and songwriter for Motown band Bobby Taylor & the Vancouvers, briefly featuring a very young Jimi Hendrix.  Chong was a recurring character and later a regular character as the hippie "Leo" during the second, third, fourth, seventh, and eighth seasons of That '70s Show.

In 2003, Chong was one of those targeted by two American investigations code-named Operation Pipe Dreams and Operation Headhunter, which sought out businesses selling drug paraphernalia, mostly marijuana pipes. He was charged for his part in financing and promoting Chong Glass/Nice Dreams, a company started by his son Paris. Chong agreed to plead guilty to one count of conspiracy to distribute drug paraphernalia in exchange for non-prosecution of his wife, Shelby, and his son.

While most of the approximately 55 individuals charged as a result of the operations were sentenced to fines and home detentions, Chong was sentenced on September 11, 2003, to 9 months in a federal prison, forfeiture of $103,000, and a year of probation.

While government officials denied that Chong was treated any differently from the other defendants, many felt that he was made an example of by the government. Soon afterwards, marijuana advocates started the Free Tommy Chong! movement that called for his release.  Chong served his sentence from October 8, 2003 to July 7, 2004, and in December 2004 was to appear off-Broadway in a one-man show entitled "The Marijuana-Logues", a parody of Eve Ensler's The Vagina Monologues. His legal concerns, including that audiences were actually smoking marijuana in some of the shows early in its tour ultimately caused him to quit the show.

In 2005, Chong returned to his role as Leo on That '70s Show. In September of 2005 a/k/a Tommy Chong premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. The documentary, directed by Josh Gilbert, chronicles Chong's recent legal troubles and features interviews with Cheech Marin, Bill Maher, Lou Adler, Eric Schlosser and Jay Leno. 

Tommy's book, The I Chong : The Tell-all Prison Diaries of a Comedian Behind Bars by Simon and Schuster is due out later in 2006.

The I Chong

By Tommy Chong
Beloved stoner comedian TOMMY CHONG is now older, wiser, and officially an EX-CON.

On the morning of February 24, 2003, agents of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration launched a sting called Operation Pipe Dreams and forced themselves through the door of Tommy's California home, with automatic weapons drawn. As a result of the raid on his home; the simultaneous ransacking of his son's company, Chong Glass; and the Bush administration's determination to make an example out of the "Pope of Pot;" he was sentenced to nine months in prison because his company shipped bongs to a head shop in Pennsylvania that was a front for the DEA.

Well . . . now it's Tommy Chong's turn to fight back and tell his side of the story.

Beginning with Tommy's experiences growing up in Canada in the forties and fifties as a mixed-race kid and going on to become a comedy legend, The I Chong is at once a memoir, a spiritual exploration of his time in prison, and a political indictment of the eroding civil liberties in post-9/11 American society. He tells the unbelievable story of his trip down the rabbit hole of America's war on drugs and of his experiences in the federal prison system, and he offers up timely observations on combating the conservative political forces at work in this country. Introspective, inspiring, and incendiary, The I Chong is a unique chronicle of one man's life and how his humorous and spiritual point of view saved him during his wrongful incarceration at the hands of an administration without boundaries.