The first time I became acquainted with the man who calls himself Nephew Tommy, I was riding the Metro bus to work.
I thought I would give my CD player a break and listen to a talking head. After a few minutes of good music, I heard this sexy voice say, “Oh, oh. Ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies, ladies. How my ladies doing out there?”
Then, a sexy female voice said, “We fine Tommy.”
He said, “Cool. Nephew Tommy gots a tip for you.”
And then, this loudmouth said the funniest thing. It was a while ago, so I don’t exactly remember what he said, but I do remember tuning in to the radio station, 103.5 The Beat, every morning thereafter.
Nephew Tommy became my favorite talking head for every day on the nationally broadcast Steve Harvey Morning Show. Harvey, the standup comedian-turned actor-turned radio show host, is in fact, Miles’ uncle.
At this time, I would like to thank Nephew Tommy for getting me into trouble numerous times at my job. I would stand outside for a while listening to his skits on the radio. I ended up being late for work almost every day. I got reprimanded continuously. But it was worth it.
In all seriousness, Nephew Tommy wants to be taken seriously. So, for the rest of this column, I’ll call him “Miles,” like a good reporter should.
“People have to get past the foolery on the radio and realize that it’s a talent,” Miles said about his role on the show. “I’m just acting out on the radio.”
His uncle agreed.
“Thomas Miles (aka Nephew Tommy) is truly an underground comedy star,’’ Harvey said in an email. “When he steps on stage, he stands and delivers!"
Miles got his start as a classically trained theatre actor. He attended Texas A & M University from 1985 to 1995, on a theatre scholarship, where he majored in Theatre Arts. He was the first African American to major in and graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in that concentration at Texas A & M.
While at the university, Miles was mentored by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Charles Gordone. He then went on to participate with The Royal Shakespeare Company of London. His accomplishments on the screen and on the stage are attributed to his experience with the university and the Shakespeare Company.
“Stand up is fun,” said Miles, 40, of Houston. “But my passion is Theatre.”
One summer, years ago, Miles decided to try his hand at stand-up comedy. He did an amateur night at a Houston club. He liked it and ended up spending his summers doing just that. During the rest of the year, he acted in various plays.
That was until Luther Vandross’ manager contacted Miles and asked him to open up for Vandross on tour. It was supposed to be a one-week stint, but Vandross liked his new protégé and decided to keep Miles.
They worked together for three years before parting ways so Vandross could work on his last album.
Sadly, Vandross took ill shortly afterward and never recovered. Meanwhile, Miles had moved to Hollywood and was making an effort in the acting genre. He appeared in episodes of The Parkers and Sister/Sister.
After a few months in Hollywood, Harvey asked Miles to “hang out’ with him on his new radio show. This, too, was supposed to be a short-lived stint. But after Vandross’ illness and subsequent death, he ended up staying with Harvey on his morning radio show.
In his stand-up routine, Miles touches on racism and this past presidential election. He also addresses the Vatican and his signature skit called “The A** Whooppin’ Factory” about a place where bad people go who haven’t committed an actual crime.
In the skit, Miles has a small office in a warehouse where he spanks people like O. J. Simpson and former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. He tells the audience why the person in his office is getting a spanking while he’s spanking them.
His only worker is a secretary. They don’t even have an intercom. They just scream across the room each time they have a visitor.
“I’m not graphic. I’m not into talking about body parts,” Miles said, adding that he likes to keep his comedy routines more about funny situations than sexual content.
'He maintains that he doesn’t need it to further his career or enhance his ability. He’s also planning on eight to ten appearances with his uncle in 2009.
“Last year, when I was opening up for (my Uncle Steve), I opened for fifteen minutes,” he said. “But, I had so much more to say.”
Photo: Thomas Miles