I just read Cheech & Chong: The Unauthorized Autobiography by Tommy Chong. Published in 2008, it's mostly Chong's life up until he and Cheech split up in the 1980s. It's written in just the style you'd expect from an elder hippie--free-flowing, somewhat nostalgic, and still full of wonder (not to mention poorly edited--lots of repetition, and names spelled wrong: Ned Tanen is "Tanin," James Komack is "Komax"--but hey, it's the spirit of things that count, not the exactitude, dude.)
Chong is known as the second half of the biggest comedy team of the 70s, but he had a lengthy career before teaming up with Richard "Cheech" Marin. Born in 1938, of Scots-Irish/Chinese stock, he was raised in Calgary. Like many in his generation, he was excited about rock and roll and R&B, and in the late 50s started working as a guitarist.
He traveled around, eventually back to Vancouver, where he started an improv troupe. He'd seen Second City and The Committee and loved comedy--often doing their bits, since he felt humor was meant to be shared. That's where he met Cheech, who was American-born but living in Canada to avoid the draft.
They worked well together and became a comedy team. Chong was the hippie stoner and Cheech the Chicano lowrider. Cheech at first resisted the character, considering it demeaning, but it was so popular he had little choice.
They came to the studio to make up material (they used improv to develop their act). Cheech went outside to come back in for a bit, but the door was locked. He asked to come back in and Chong pretended he didn't know who he was, and thus their first famous routine, "Dave," was born.
Sister Mary Elephant," "Basketball Jones," "Earache My Eye" and so on.
On the way to stardom, we learn about the women Chong loved, married, had kids with. And, of course, he talks about his other love affair--with drugs, mainly pot. Chong is still a big proponent, but he also believes in eating healthfully and is a body builder.
From now on, Chong would direct their films. They made one a year in the first half of the 1980s. The films made money, but with diminishing returns. On top of that Cheech was getting restless--he wanted to prove he was a real actor. The team split up and Cheech has since played numerous roles in TV and movies, but Chong believes he's "acting" now whereas he was authentic in the duo.
They've done a few things here and there since they split up, but the two (according to Chong) don't seem to get along any more. Just as well--they were a team of the 70s that conjured up the spirit of the 60s. That should be enough for anyone.