Tom Riles on chilling out at home, freaking out at work, and learning how to be a man by watching The Brady Bunch.
Tom Riles is a lucky man. Not only does he get to be funny for a living, but he gets to be funny and hang out with Ellen DeGeneres, one of our favorite women in the world. For the past five years, he’s been the warm-up act on her show. When he’s not hanging out with Ellen, he’s hanging out with his wife and daughter and working on his blog and web show, Life of Dad. Become a fan of Life of Dad on facebook.
1) Who taught you about manhood?
The usual suspects. My dad, and Mike Brady. My dad taught me the emotional, spiritual, and physical aspects, while Mike Brady was the architect. When Mike got trapped in the building that he designed during “A Very Brady Christmas,” I almost lost it.
2) Has romantic love shaped you as a man?
Yeah I’ve put on about ten pounds since getting married and having a daughter, so I have become a bit curvier. Oh, do you mean emotionally? I would say I’ve never been more of a man since becoming a husband and a father to the two ladies that I love the most.
3) What two words describe your dad?
Compassionate and Botox. Wait, let’s replace Botox with awesome.
4) How are you most unlike him?
My dad tears up often due to joy. His love for our family brings him much happiness, and in turn tears. I hide my emotions much more. This I learned from Mike Brady.
5) From which of your mistakes did you learn the most?
When I was really young, and we were moving into a new house, my parents asked me to bring some towels to the bathroom. I associated bathroom with toilet, so I flushed some down the toilet. I’ve learned from this experience, and have not flushed any towels since then. Also, in grade school, I saw how badly it hurt somebody that I was mean to. I never wanted to feel that again, so I try to be nice to everybody.
6) What word would the women in your life use to describe you, and is it accurate?
Chill. It is accurate when I am at home, but when I’m at work, I’m far from chill. I am the warm-up guy, and chill doesn’t cut it.
7) Who is the best dad you know, and how does he earn that distinction?
I will divide this into sub-categories. Best Celebrity Dad: Jon Gosselin. Best Almighty Father: God. Best Dad with eleven children or less: My Dad. Best Dad with twelve children or more: My father-in law. My dad earns it because I cannot imagine a man showing more unconditional love to his children over the years. My father-in-law earns it because he has twelve children, fifty grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and worked two jobs throughout life to support and love them all. Wait, I guess I was a few seasons behind on “Jon & Kate Plus 8.” Let me take back the Jon Gosselin pick.
8 ) Have you been more successful in public or private life?
I want to say both. I have a beautiful wife and an amazing daughter, who is the strongest person that I know. And she’s only 11 weeks old. I helped to create her. That is success. I can see her crying in the video monitor now, so I’ll be right back. Okay, back. In my professional/public life, I’m proud to have become a top-warm-up comic, and now have launched a fun “Life of Dad” website and webshow, but I always want more!
9) When was the last time you cried?
When my baby daughter had open-heart surgery at three days old. It was the most devastating experience anybody could go through. She was home two weeks later and is doing just fine now.
10) What advice would you give teenage boys trying to figure out what it means to be a good man?
Be kind, above all else. Add kindness to working really hard, and you’ll accomplish some great things.
For Bonus Points: What is the your most cherished ritual as a guy?
I wake up early every morning, and love the quiet time. This is when I can think about the day, read the newspaper, drink coffee, and watch a little bit of SportsCenter.
Watch Tom talk about his daughter on the Ellen Show here.