by Andrew Wantuck
This week I spoke with the hilarious Tom Wilson. Most people remember his role as "Biff" in the Back to the Future Trilogy, but Tom has had a long, successful career in Hollywood. He has more than 50 films and television shows to his credit that include Freaks and Geeks, Johnny Carson's Tonight Show, and even SpongeBob SquarePants.
In this interview we discussed doing a movie with Matt Damon, his giant son, and beautiful Pacific Ocean.
Andrew: What are you working on currently?
Tom: I'm basking in the glow of having a movie actually in theatres right now. "The Informant," starring Matt Damon, as well as just finishing up a role on the HBO series "Big Love." That, and raising four kids.
Andrew: Any new family stories?
Tom: Two in college at the same time, and two others in the on-deck circle. After the show, I accept non-perishable food items as a gratuity. And my son is thirteen but people think he's a special needs lumberjack. He is big.
Andrew: How does a comedian go from good to great in your opinion?
Tom: The knowledge of yourself is vital. The process of being a comedian begins with "What will the audience laugh at?" and with experience, grows to "What is it about me that people find funny? What is it that brings my unique personality to the things that we all have in common?"
Andrew: What are you currently reading? What did you learn?
Tom: I've just finished two books by Leif Enger and recommend them highly. "Peace Like A River" is an epic masterpiece, and "So Brave, Young, and Handsome" is a wonderful western yarn. Those books taught me that I, unfortunately, can't write like that. I also went to a friends house deep in the desert near Tucson and read the book "Everything Belongs" by Richard Rohr. A book on contemplation and spirituality that matched a silent few days in the desert perfectly. Of course, until I hit the 405 again.
Andrew: [Laughs] What is the best /worst thing about the South Bay?
Tom: The best and worst aspects of the south bay are so obvious to me, and have remained the same since my first visit so long ago.
Best? Friendly people, sunshine, cool breezes, and the beautiful Pacific.
Worst? Carrying enough quarters to park a few miles away from the friendly people, sunshine, cool breezes, and beautiful Pacific.
Tom Wilson will be headlining The Comedy & Magic Club on Friday, October 9th & Saturday, October 10th 2009. Reservations Required. (310) 372-1193 or comedyandmagicclub.com.