Thomas Mikal Ford may have appeared to be perpetually unemployed on Martin, but in real life, that image was the source of endless anguish.
Interviewed on Rodney Perry Live, the actor who played Martin Lawrence‘s BFF Tommy Strawn on the hit ’90s sitcom recounts how his trademark schtick came about.
“We got back for our second season, and we hadn’t been back for several months, and we’re sittin’ around doin’ a table read [of the script] and the idea comes up: Maybe Martin meets Tommy after work,” Tommy tells host Rodney Perry.
“And then Martin stops reading and goes, ‘Wait a minute. Tommy, what the hell do you do?’
“He wasn’t in character; he was being Martin. He says, ‘You have a job?’
“I said, ‘Of course I have a job!’ And I’m startin’ to explain but everybody’s like ‘No no no no no! Don’t explain. We love it!’
“But I’m like, ‘No, we don’t love that. I got to have a job,'” Tommy continues.
“My dad was an MP in the Navy. His motto was ‘Nothin’ comes to a sleeper but a dream. Get off your butt and do somethin’!’
“For me, the biggest insult I could imagine was a man who had no job.”
To hear Tommy’s full interview, click here.