Earlier this week, we lost someone near and dear to our culture. Tommy Ford, best known for his role as Tommy Strawn on Martin, passed away at the age of 52. He was recovering from knee replacement surgery that he underwent a few weeks back when he fell unconscious. An aneurysm ruptured in his abdomen and on Wednesday, Tommy died at a hospital in Atlanta.
If you grew up in the 90s like I did, then I’m sure you sat in front of your TV awaiting the FOX lineup that was Martin, Living Single, and New York Undercover every Thursday night. To this day, reruns of Martin air and if you’re a true fan like I am, you still watch them as if you’ve never seen them before. Tommy, Martin’s right-hand man, was one of the most memorable character on the show. For years we’ve wondered what he did for a living, we laughed every time he called Cole stupid, and we always knew there was a lie following his infamous stutter, “Uh ruh…”
Fun fact: Tommy is the only character to appear in all 132 episodes of the show. So, in memory of Tommy, we take a trip down memory lane and relive his best moments on Martin.
Tommy and Sheneneh Argue
When it’s Tommy’s turn to drive the gang’s car, he brings Sheneneh and her hoodrat friends Bonquisa and Keylolo (played by Yo Yo) to the club. The two start arguing and Sheneneh calls Tommy “MC No Hair” in season 1’s “Baby You Can Drive My Car.”
Tommy Ain’t Got No Job
Okay, let’s be honest: These moments happened throughout the entire show’s history. “You ain’t got no job, man!” Martin would scream as he swings on Tommy. For five seasons, the gang wondered where their best friend worked, but no one ever got an answer. It wasn’t until 20 years later that Tisha Campbell-Martin (Gina) revealed Tommy’s job in an interview.
“Tommy really did have a job, I’ll give you a hint. The woman I was gonna fight, she was Martin’s teacher; Beverly Johnson, in that episode that’s the first time you hear about Tommy’s job. So Tommy talks about him being in the Boys & Girls Club. He was a counselor at the Boys & Girls Club. That’s what he did for a living,” Tisha revealed in a March interview with Bossip podcast Don’t Be Scared.
Cole, You Stupid
Dimwitted Cole Brown was always the butt of everyone’s jokes. He was always saying something idiotic and Tommy never missed a chance to call him stupid. One of my favorite lines that Tommy would always say is, “Cole… You stupid.” That line became one of the funniest lines in the show’s history.