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Jim Belushi & Cigars

J. Bennett Alexander Alexander's picture

J. Bennett Alexander

If there is one celebrity who is a true lover of cigars, Jim Belushi might be that guy. He really began smoking cigars in the late 1980s, though he had tried a few during his days at Second City, the improv comedy troupe in Chicago. Jim, born in the Chicago suburbs, had seen his brother, John Belushi, perform with Second City and decided, at the age of 16, that was what he wanted to do. It took another six years before the dream came true and it launched a successful career in show business.

Jim Belushi’s Favorite Cigar

These days, Belushi, 68, favors the La Aroma de Cuba Mi Amor. He smokes two or three a day and enjoys the fuller flavor of the Nicaraguan cigar.

“As I get older, I like a fuller draw,” Belushi said. “It’s also very flavorful, with no bitterness. It’s right on this side of the line of being bitter – maybe the last half-inch. I tend to smoke them down so that, if I had a cigar roach-clip, I’d use it.”

Belushi’s Arnold Moment

In 1988, Belushi co-starred with Arnold Schwarzenegger in a movie called Red Heat. Schwarzenegger played a Russian cop working with Belushi’s cocky Chicago detective to catch a drug lord who had killed Schwarzenegger’s partner back home. In one scene, the two are riding in a police car.

“The f*cker smoked a Montecristo No. 2 in a cop car with the windows closed,” Belushi, referring to Schwarzenegger, recalled. “The car filled with smoke, and I got sick to my stomach. Arnold says, ‘What’s the matter, Jim? Does a little cigar smoke bother you? Here – try one.'”

Schwarzenegger told Belushi perhaps that’s not the best cigar to start with, but Belushi smoked it.

“I was green after I smoked that,” Belushi remembered. “But I started smoking cigars on the set, and I was off and running. There’s something that allows you to sit and be in the moment. It makes me feel like, hey, you know what? I’m doing alright. As opposed to the struggling in your mind to do better or with what you’ve done in the past. You can forget that; it’s a respite where you feel, ‘I’m doing alright.'”

Belushi’s Cuban Phase

Belushi told the story to Cigar Aficionado of the time he appeared at a celebrity roast of Billy Crystal. Belushi was seated between the actor, Harvey Keitel, and the movie critic, Roger Ebert. Davidoff cigars were placed at the table for each guest.

"You don't smoke cigars, do you?" Belushi asked Ebert. "Would you mind?"

As Belushi took Ebert's cigar and began to smoke, Keitel leaned over. "Do you smoke cigars?"

 Keitel asked. This struck Belushi as an odd question since he was, at that moment, smoking a cigar. "Yeah," he said, slightly puzzled. "I do."

"No," Keitel continued. "Do you smoke cigars?"

"Yes. I smoke cigars."

"And you enjoy cigars?"

"Well, sure, I enjoy them."

Keitel reached into his pocket. "Then you owe me one," he said, handing Belushi a Cohiba Robusto.

"That's what I like about cigars and cigar smokers," Belushi says, finishing the story. "It's a bonding, a wonderful bonding among gentlemen. When you light a good cigar, men notice it."

Belushi began smoking Cubans, including Hoyo de Monterrey Double Coronas, Partagas Serie P No. 2’s, Por Larrañaga Nacionales, and Cohiba Robustos. As he explained, he has largely moved on to something with fuller flavor.

Belushi Goes to Cuba

In 2012, Belushi attended the Festival de Habanos, Cuba’s annual celebration of its cigar industry. He had been prodded not only to attend, but also to perform at the multi-day affair. Having taken over his late brother’s role as part of the Blues Brothers, Belushi belted out American blues songs. Belushi asked after each number if the crowd wanted more. Each time the gathered screamed, “Yes!” Belushi finished the set with his trademark back flip. After the singing was done, Belushi set about enjoying the cigars.

The Other Smoke

Belushi, in addition to acting, is something of a gentleman farmer in Oregon where he grows cannabis. This was part of a Discovery Channel reality series called Growing Belushi. And he enjoys smoking weed and cigars together.

“Cigars and cannabis,” Belushi explained, “are like brother and sister.”

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