Tom Wilson

March 24-27 Tom Wilson The Funny Bone, 17305 Davenport St., Suite 201 Thurs. at 7:30 p.m., Fri. 7:30 and 9:45 p.m., Sat. 7 and 9:30 p.m., Sun. 7 p.m. $15 Thurs. and Sun., $17 for all other shows, funnyboneomaha.com Tom Wilson, who you probably associate mostly with his Biff Tannen character from the Back to the Future trilogy, was kind enough to answer questions for us this week in advance of his weekend of dates at the Funny Bone. Tickets are available at funnyboneomaha.com, and we suggest getting out there to see him if you can — you might leave associating him with stand-up comedy, too. It’s interesting that you did stand-up way before you did any of the Back to the Future stuff, even working with names like Richard Pryor and Robin Williams, etc. I assume stand-up is your first love. What makes stand-up better for you and what’s the difference between delivering comedy live on stage as opposed to a camera? Standup comedy is the most immediate art form there is, because the reaction is instantaneous and can lead to wonderful chaos. I was a young acting student, and I just wasn’t getting cast in enough shows, so I figured I’d write my own “show” and put it on. A few friends did standup, and they made 10 bucks most nights, with free food. I made nothing doing small parts in Shakespeare plays and had to buy my own snacks. Case closed, hello standup. It’s been an amazing adventure, and the good news is, the food is still free. Doing comedy for a live audience is exciting and fun, doing comedy for a camera is mostly waiting for fat guys to set up lights… It seems like you’re not huge on talking about Back to the Future, but I know your stand-up routine often includes “The Question Song,” a satire of the questions and requests you get from “Back to the Future” fans. I know a few actors that are in the unusual position that I’m in — smokin’ hot, yet unassuming pop cultural icon — and it just seemed like nobody knew how to deal with the human challenge of having the same set of questions asked over and over for a matter of decades. I’ve been asked questions about the movies for 25 years now, so I thought that writing a song about it would be a fun way to frame the situation for people. It’s worked great, has millions and millions of YouTube hits, and it’s been a lot of fun to do in the show. A musical version of saying “yeah ... I’ve heard that one before.” That’s my approach to the movies, and I don’t talk about them much more than that because, I mean, what else is there to say? I said a whole bunch of stuff for a really long time and I’m out of ideas. If you were on the 6th grade volleyball team in 1985, can you imagine if, wherever you went, people would go, “Whoo! 6th grade volleyball! Spike! Side out!” It’s not mean, or torturous or anything, but it would get you thinking up new ways to answer, don’t you think? Finally, you seem to get to Omaha at least once a year … what are some of your favorite things about coming here and what keeps you coming back? This really will sound self-serving, but I really do love Omaha. The food is great everywhere you go, the people are very friendly, and I'll tell you what — the audiences in Omaha are smart, hip, mannerly and really out to have a great time. No kidding. People often ask me my favorite cities to perform in and I swear to you I always include Omaha. “Omaha?” they ask, and then I either explain the whole hip/smart thing, or just remain silent and wait for them to ask me a Back To The Future question. Also, I want to remain close with the people of Omaha because my son is a pitcher in 9th grade, and we’re planning on watching him in the College World Series in a few years. Or, if he doesn’t get a scholarship, sending him to Boys Town to see what they can do with him. As many times as I’ve been here, I always look forward to coming back. It’s so good, in fact, that this trip I might even pay for some of my food.

posted at 11:54 am
on Thursday, March 24th, 2011

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