You know him, I know him, just about everybody knows him, and that’s precisely the problem for the thousands of people who share his name. I’m talking about comedian and actor Tom Arnold, who rose to fame in the late 1980s and early 1990s thanks to his appearances on the sitcom Roseanne, where he was also a writer. He also, of course, was married to the show’s star, Roseanne Barr.
Later on, he and Barr would get divorced and Arnold would be a part of movies like True Lies, The Stupids, McHale’s Navy and others. He also hosted The Best Damn Sports Show Period for four years. Most recently, he’s attracted some attention for his dogged quest to locate incriminating tapes of Donald Trump, which is in direct contrast to his ex-wife’s devotion to the disgraced ex-president.
In other words, for the last 35 years or so, Tom Arnold has just kept on being famous, and, because he has one of the most normal names ever, thousands of other Tom Arnolds have had to live in his shadow. In an effort to allow these other Tom Arnolds to air their grievances, I reached out to a few of them to ask what it’s like to share a name with actor Tom Arnold. And, just to be thorough, I then hit up Tom Arnold himself on Cameo, to get his replies to how those other Tom Arnolds feel about him.
On What’s It Like to Share a Name With Tom Arnold
Thomas Arnold, health and robotics researcher: I’m of an age where I remember him being married to Roseanne. I go by Thomas, yet I’ve still had people make the connection and ask me about Roseanne sometimes.
Tom Arnold, party bus driver: I mean, I don’t hate him or anything, I just don’t really like him because of the whole “How’s Roseanne?” thing. In the early days, it was always, “How’s Roseanne?” As soon as anyone would see my name, they’d ask me that. It got to the point where I’d say “Roseanne’s fine” before they’d even ask. Recently, a resurgence came back with the Donald Trump pee tape he was looking for. People would see “Tom Arnold” on my ID, and they’d ask me, “Did you find the pee tapes yet?”
Thomas K. Arnold, publisher and editorial director of Media Play News: Tom Arnold has affected my life for 30 years. It dates back to when I got married. I married a girl from Alabama, a baptist, and we got married in a baptist church in San Diego. I had to get baptized and my wife had to get special dispensation to marry a non-Catholic. It was a very conservative church. Yet, in the middle of the ceremony, this super-conservative Catholic priest blurts out, in front of everybody, “It’s a good thing the new Mrs. Tom Arnold isn’t anything like the old Mrs. Tom Arnold!”
That just shows you how pervasive this was. Everybody knew who he was and people used to ask me, “How’s Roseanne?” all the time. Sometimes though, I’d use it to my advantage. Like, one night, I had some important friends in town and I was in Los Angeles and I wanted a good table at The Ivy, so I called up and said, “I want a table for four, the name is Tom Arnold.” I did that several times.
On Their True Feelings About Tom Arnold
Tom Arnold, party bus driver: When I heard him on the Adam Carolla podcast recently, I thought his views were pretty far left. Roseanne, on the other hand, seems a bit misunderstood to me. I was listening to her on Joe Rogan and she’s crazy, but I don’t think she’s as crazy as the media has portrayed her to be.
Thomas K. Arnold, publisher: In 2004, I actually met him. Back then, the home video industry was big and I was at this event where Tom Arnold was invited to do a presentation because he was promoting a movie. So, people thought it’d be fun to get me up on stage with him. On stage, we had a great conversation where he said to me, “I remember reading your name and I wondered, ‘Why is that guy Thomas K. Arnold? Why isn’t he Tom Arnold?’” And I told him, “Well, part of it was because you married Roseanne!” He said, “Hey, it was no picnic being married to her! How’d you like to have your wife go on national TV and tell the whole world you’ve got a small penis?” So everybody laughed and then he went on, saying, “But, I got back at her, the next week I was on Letterman and I said, ‘Even a 747 looks small when you’re flying over the grand canyon.’”
Thomas Arnold, health and robotics researcher: I don’t really have any strong feelings about him. I know he had a sports show on Fox and I think of him as the kind of guy who was on King of Queens or something, but I don’t really think about him very much. [Editor’s Note: Tom Arnold never appeared on The King of Queens.]
On If They Could Say One Thing to Tom Arnold, What It Would Be
Thomas Arnold, health and robotics researcher: I don’t know. I mean, I have no ill will toward him, but I prefer to pretend he doesn’t really exist.
Tom Arnold, the actor and comedian, replies: I’m happy that you exist, just in general. I understand. I’m sure you all want to be the Tom Arnold, but of all the Tom Arnolds on planet Earth or in the universe, I am the most famous Tom Arnold. So, no matter what you guys do, you’ll always be a lesser known Tom Arnold than me. I’ll die, but you guys will die too and maybe, a couple of generations away, there will be a new Tom Arnold. So, in the future, when we’re all dead, perhaps there will be another Tom Arnold and they’ll forget about all of us.
There’s a lot of fucking Tom Arnolds out there, by the way. There’s a lot, and it always makes me smile when someone is named Tom Arnold.
Tom Arnold, party bus driver: Well, since I got it for so many years, I guess I’d ask Tom Arnold, “How’s Roseanne doing?”
Tom Arnold, the actor and comedian, replies: You can probably answer that question better than I can. In the last 27 years, I’ve really only talked to her once and that was at her roast in 2013. It was briefly backstage — after I roasted her — and she came backstage and said, “Thank you for doing this, maybe we can put the past behind us.”
[Someone] said, “Let’s get a picture of you two,” but she said she had to go look in a mirror and I thought that meant she didn’t want to take the picture, so I just left. Later on, a friend told me that she really did have to look at a mirror, so I felt bad that maybe I should have stayed. I also was glad to get out of there because the roast went very well — it was sweet — and I thought, “Let’s keep it that way.” It’d been 18 years since we’d spoken like that, and I thought, in 18 more years, perhaps I’d do that again.
So, there’s a good chance that any of you know how Roseanne is better than I would. Maybe you’ve run into her or maybe you had sex with her, because it’s been a long time.
From what I can tell, things don’t look good. She went all in on Donald Trump and that’s just not a good decision. I know she lost her comeback on Roseanne, but when she got fired, I think that was a good decision. She would’ve definitely gotten fired now because she would have been at the insurrection — or, her character, at least, would have been inside the Capitol and then the show would have gotten cancelled then. I’m surprised that the real Roseanne wasn’t there, though I think we may find out that she was. [Editor’s Note: Arnold’s joke aside, there is no evidence to suggest that the real Roseanne was at the insurrection.]
I don’t know where she is. I was going to say “I wish her well,” but she was up to such no-good that I wish her good health and mental health, as I do everyone.
Thomas K. Arnold, publisher: Thanks for fucking up my name!
Tom Arnold, the actor and comedian, replies: Well, I did not name myself. My parents, or my grandfather, Tom Graham, and my other grandfather, Duane Arnold — you can blame them, or their parents. But you can’t blame me.
On What Actor and Comedian Tom Arnold Would Say to All the Other Tom Arnolds Out There
Tom Arnold, the actor and comedian: I think it’s funny to have some name like other people. I’ve always found it funny when I hear other people are named Tom Arnold. But it would be annoying — I can see why you guys would be annoyed a little bit. It’s like anything else, you can either be annoyed by shit you can’t control, or you can laugh about it.
Life’s too short to let things fucking bug you. That’s why I just did this Cameo. I’m also hiding out from my 5-year-old and 7-year-old. I just saw them running with Nerf guns — they want to shoot me in the face.
Anyway, I think you’re blessed to be named Tom Arnold. It’s been good luck for me.