“Tommy” is such a common name, so naturally, there are a few iconic characters in pop culture who have been given the moniker. There’s Tommy Pickles (EG Daily, Alexis Tomassian), Tommy Egan (Joseph Sikora), Tommy Carcetti (Aiden Gillen), and of course, Tommy Strawn (Thomas Mikal Ford), the brother from Martin who may or may not had a job.
Tommy’s addition to Martin rounded out the cast of zany characters who completed Martin Payne’s wild world of shenanigans. Each of his friends brought something unique to balance out the show and Martin’s sometimes overbearing ego. Ford, who played Tommy Strawn, one of Martin’s best friends, was the one who kept a level head and often acted as the voice of reason. However, the actor, who coincidentally has the same first name, was a veteran comedian so he was able to hang with Martin when it came to being hilarious and improvisational.
With the 30 year anniversary of Martin around the corner, Thomas Mikal Ford’s presence and distinct laugh are sorely missed. His passing in 2016 left an immeasurable hole in our hearts and without him next to his comedy family, we are reminded of how much we were blessed to experience his talents. For that reason, we are here to celebrate the late, great Thomas Mikal Ford by remembering his most memorable moments as Tommy on the classic sitcom.
The No Job Running Joke
The biggest joke about Tommy was that no one knew where he worked even though he insisted that he had a job. He would always vaguely reference his job and people would always reply, “You ain’t got no job, man!” One time, Cole was at the DMV with Martin, and when he was asked what his employment was, he replied, “I was working with Tommy Strawn for a while,” to which the teller replied and wrote down, “No job.”
There was even an episode where Gina begged Pam, who by this point, was actually in a relationship with Tommy, to tell her what Tommy did for a living and Pam still didn’t know. It was the one thing we were never going to get but the funniest part to all of this was when Tommy would get so fed up with people saying that he didn’t have a job that he’d end up snapping, “I GOT A JOB!”
His Great Storytelling
Tommy was an excellent orator. There are two moments in particular where he shined using only his storytelling skills. One is from the episode where they thought the plumber died and Tommy ended up delivering a fiery sermon in his best impression of a Baptist minister, which was immaculately hilarious.
The second moment of note is from a Halloween episode where he told a scary story about “Old Man Ackerman,” and eventually gave us his best impression of a comedian possessed by a ghost.
He Wasn’t Scared to Check His Friend
There are a lot of sitcoms where the title character is always the lead and never seems to do anything wrong.
But on Martin, his friends checked him from time to time and there’s an episode where Tommy got to shine by putting Martin in his place about losing a suitcase he let him borrow.
When Martin started talking crazy to Tommy, the 6’4” comedy behemoth wasn’t having it. It was a rare moment where Tommy wasn’t feeling his friend and straight up told him about himself.
Tommy’s Soft Side
While Martin centered around Martin and Gina’s relationship, the rest of the cast wasn’t devoid of love at all during the series’ five seasons on the air. Cole often tried to get Pam’s digits, but he and Big Shirley never seemed to get enough of one another.
Tommy, who also had a few memorable dates, eventually laid in wait until he was sure about his feelings for Pam and successfully laid his game down. With some encouragement from the “Love Doctor,” Martin Payne, who didn’t realize who the subject of the crush was, Tommy shot his shot and the rest was history.
Tommy and Pam eventually broke up, but it was sweet to watch Tommy tap into his soft and pink side.
Tommy vs. His Pops
Every now and then on Martin, we got some insight into each of these characters’ backstories. And when it came to Tommy, we found out that he had a contentious relationship with his dad, an army general played by John Amos.
It was another moment where Thomas Mikal Ford got to shine comedically, especially during the moments where he and his father were acting a fool while competing for the love of a woman who wasn’t all that interested in either of them.
Starr Rocque is a Brooklyn, New York-based writer, and author, whose book, Bloggers Can't Be Trusted, is available for you to enjoy here!