Thomas Mikal Ford: How ‘Tommy With No Job’ Came About
“You don’t have no job, Tommy!” was a common phrase you heard on the hit ’90’s TV sitcom, “Martin” with Martin Lawrence, Tisha Campbell-Martin, Tichina Arnold and Carl Anthony Payne. The late Thomas Mikal Ford who played Tommy Strawn, Martin’s main man on the show may have appeared to be perpetually unemployed on Martin, but in real life, that image was the source of endless anguish.
“We got back for our second season, and we hadn’t been back for several months,” explains Ford. “And we’re sitting around doing a table read [of the script] and the idea comes up: Maybe Martin meets Tommy after work.”
“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, Military Police, 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.”
On the show, Tommy did everything from dating Pam and moving in with her, to getting jumped by…