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Episode 125: Nerdist Podcast
Tom Wilson
Nerdist PodcastNerdist Podcast

Nerdist Podcast #125: TOM WILSON

Tom Wilson talks about performing at the Comedy Store in the early 80s, creating his gorgeous pop art, and the audition process for Back to the Future. Tom is such a terrific guy and we absolutely LOVED recording this episode with him! Like, this will go down as one of our faves. For realsies.

Tom’s website is here! And his podcast, Big Pop Fun, will be launching soon on the Nerdist Network.

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  1. Christine says:

    Awesome episode. I think this is my favorite so far. Had BttF on VHS when I was younger and watched it weekly. Haven’t seen it in years, but I think I’m going to have to fix that this weekend.

  2. Michael S says:

    I have listened to almost every Nerdist podcast… usually on my way to work. Every time I think: “eh… I guess I’ll listen to this… whatever” and every time I am blown away. This was no exception and is my favorite so far. Incredibly interesting and delightful to listen to!

  3. Matt says:

    The Tom Wilson podcast was so good that I listened to it twice!!! I can’t wait until we can listen to his podcast. Great job Nerdist team!!

  4. Aaron says:

    Please, please, please have Tom on again. I have heard other interviews with him before but never this in depth. I was completely enthralled by all his stories, even the one’s he thought were long and uninteresting.

  5. A huge “ditto” to every nice thing that’s been said about Tom Wilson and this episode. Freakin’ fantastic. I’ll hit the subscribe button as soon as his podcast goes live. Thanks to Chris and everyone at Nerdist Command Central for the whole family of terrific podcasts — I especially like Making It and the Nerdist Writer’s Panel.

  6. Awesome Joe says:

    My new favorite episode. Looking forward to Tom’s podcast.

  7. DerekB says:

    5:56 in and I am already subscribing to Tom Wilsons podcast now

  8. Patrick says:

    Insta-classic episode!

  9. Brad says:


    Same here. I went into it not knowing who Tom was, so for the first 20 minutes with all the art talk I just assumed “Oh, this is just some comedian who probably makes crappy paintings… I’ll go google his art.” Then, the dumbo painting popped up and I was really impressed. His artwork is really great, and then my eyes shifted over to the artist standing next to it. What the what?! Is that… it is! Very nice surprise.

  10. Arieh says:

    This show was fantastic. I think Chris keeps his title as the nerdiest ( or nerdist) guy on the show, but I never thought Biff would be anywhere close to being second in a million years. Thanks guys, great podcast

  11. gladly says:

    Honestly, I started this podcast without knowing who Tom Wilson was (I would know his face, obviously, just not his name), and although his voice was so familiar. I didn’t place it until you started talking about Back to the Future. He was still a fascinating storyteller even before I knew who he was. The stories about his painting were amazing, thanks for including a link to them.

    What a great show this was, great guest! I’ll be watching on Saturday!

  12. Todd Hoyer says:

    Fantastic Podcast. Wow, I couldn’t believe how interesting and awesome Tom Wilson was.

    And yeah, that’s totally Eric Stoltz punching him. You can even tell by the height of “Marty’s” shoulder in relation to Biff.

  13. Nathan George says:

    Best Podcast ever?…….Potentially~
    I must now Hunt down Tom Wilson to get one of those pieces of paper 😛

  14. BarbiesLeftPump says:

    This podcast was by far my fave so far. I have been listening since Comic- Con this year and this was definitely a gem. Keep up the good work!

  15. Nando Rossi says:

    HOLY. SHIT. This was possibly the best episode I’ve heard so far. Who would’ve thought Biff was such an awesome human being. I’m super stoked to know he’s such a multifaceted artist too, hope one day I bump into him to get that card.
    Excellent job, nerdists.

  16. Ray P says:

    Great show guys. Hey Big C any plans in the pipeline to get the whole of Nerdist Industries on East Coast tour. It would be great to see an Inside Kids and a Sex Nerd Sandra on the East coast.

  17. Loved the podcast. Really enjoyed getting to ‘meet’ Tom, and found about about his fantastic art. This one really blew me away. Great job all round!

  18. Andy Derer says:

    You guys never cease to amaze me. GREAT GUEST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  19. Seames says:

    A really great podcast. Endlessly interesting. You were right, Mr. Hardwick, this might be my favorite, too. Eric Stoltz certainly was a jerk to Tom, but was also probably a young kid who thought that’s you BE an ACTOR. Either way, kinda an ass. Loved the Pryor stories. Nobody can touch Pryor in his ability to be so raw, honest. Maybe Louis CK. By the way, googled Vic Dunlop. I remember him seeing him all over TV in the ’80s. Unfortunately, he died last month. Obviously you recorded this some time ago. R.I.P., Vic.

  20. Clara says:

    Great podcast! Very much enjoyed hearing Tom, his life, and all that he’s done since those movies. Also, way more impressed that the bully is actually a nerd! (and became choked up doing those scenes). Will definitely check out his podcast too.

  21. Jeff P says:

    I love Tom Wilson, and I’m super excited for his new podcast. He was on Never Not Funny recently, and that was a fantastic appearance as well. Check out his stand-up set on Netflix “Bigger Than You”.

  22. Lindsey D says:

    Made it to minute 7:13 before my will power gave out and I HAD to comment. WOW what a sweet and wonderful guy Tom is. And SOO smart. Love!

  23. MadGecko says:

    For fuck’s sakes will somebody buy these guys a HDD to record to so they don’t have to cut off the awesome anymore?! Other than that, I loved this episode!

  24. MadGecko says:

    For fuck’s sakes will somebody by these guys a HDD to record to so they don’t have to cut off the awesome anymore?! Other than that, I loved this episode!

  25. Travis says:

    Thanks for the fantastic episode.

    I by no means consider myself to be a comedy buff but after listening to this I feel like I’ve had a thoroughly entertaining history lesson. Tom Wilson seems like a fantastic person and I’m really looking forward to his podcast

  26. Patrick says:

    One of the best Nerdist podcasts yet! I had to rewatch the scene with Biff getting punched in the diner, and the guy that punches him is too tall to be Michael J. Fox. Awesome BTTF trivia!

  27. Sarah says:

    Greatest. Episode. Ever. *

    *even though there were no noodle stories (cut to Matt and Jonah in unison: “It’s not a thing!”).

  28. Billy says:

    This might be the best episode you’ve ever made. Biff is seriously awesome.

  29. Matt says:

    Yeah, but what’s Billy Zane like?

  30. Vincent S says:

    What a suprisingly great episode. Tom Wilson in Back to the Future was always been that boogie man on the back of my head (I’m not a fan of BttF but it’s great). Damn, this guy is more interesting to me as himself than that big bully in Back to the Future (admittedly the only part I know him in). lols on the awesome info sheet on Tom Wilson. Thanks Nerdcast.

    Is the new podcast going to be a nerdist sponsored endevour or it just gets updates from whatever his main base site is (I don’t know how the internet works)?

    :/ kind of a tiny bummer when you realise this was done in Matt’s NASA days then again I’m still listening to old episodes still. No more updates on the Fatstronaut twitter acc. Matt?

  31. Stile4aly says:

    I hope there’s some discussion about his role in Wing Commander 3 and 4. He was hysterical as Maniac.

  32. Gabriel says:

    What an interesting man. I knew basically nothing about him before this podcast. His performance of the bully in Back to the Future was so convincing that he has always been the bully to me. He is impressive.

  33. Magnoliafan says:

    What an awesome, awesome, interview guys! Easily one of your best episodes ever.

  34. Tim says:

    I was so happy to hear Tom say he did Forensics in his youth for I did the very same. I always held it as a very very important part of my early development into nerdy-ness and a way to surround myself with like minded folks in high school. NFL members for life!


  35. brywhit says:

    I was a Latin Honor Society Prez, went to Latin State -where we won AND also went to Latin Nation!!! Take that Hardwick.

  36. Brian E. says:

    ‘Latin Convention’ with whatever year Chris attended it needs to be a new t-shirt sold here.

    What a delightful podacast! Tom Wilson was just a genuine and funny and nice guy. The postcard is GENIUS.

  37. Jason C. / @the2scoops says:

    That podcast with Tom was so good, just so many facets to a guy who expresses himself so well, and has a solid sense of who he is. It reminds me of the 1st Nerdist episode I listened to, the Billy West interview that had both me and The Nerdist boys going “holy shit, what a life!” It hooked me in Nerdist, as I hope this one will gain you new followers.

    Definitely a candidate for a Best Of Nerdist playlist. Kudos guys, and I can’t wait to tune in to Tom’s podcast.

  38. eileen says:

    Latin Convention. I just wanted to type that.

  39. Mandy W. says:

    Not even ten minutes in and I can tell this is going to be one my favorite episodes. Holy crap Tom Wilson is awesome. I bow to his nerdom.


  40. Ray P says:

    Excellent podcast. Have to say Tom Wilson is a hell of interesting man, well done Nerdists.

  41. Ward says:

    This is amazing and definitely one of my favorite episodes that you have done. I didn’t know much about Tom Wilson other then Biff but this was a great conversation with a very interesting person.

    Back to the Future belongs in what I call my “childhood happy-time”(along with movies like Ghostbusters, Who Frames Roger Rabbit, Jurassic Park , Aladdin and The Lion King.) that are part of the core pop culture that helped to shape my young interests and future sense of humor and likes, so it is great to hear stories from someone who is part of that.

    Thanks for a great podcast and keep doing great work

  42. Zak R. says:

    Second podcast needed: there was so much more to talk about! But I guess that’s why he has his own podcast. Which (by the way) Chris and/or Matt and/or Jonah should guest-visit.

  43. ehwhosthisguy says:

    Great Scott. Whoa this heavy! Complete nerdgasm. Seriously. Clean up on aisle pants. Tom Wilson always seems so utterly nice. And it was always very cool whenever he showed up on freaks & geeks. I can’t wait to start listening to his podcast as well. Awesome job Nerdist!

    p.s. everyone should watch the Nerdist tv show on BBC America this Saturday after Dr. Who.
    “Be there or be square.”

  44. rhzunam says:

    I really hope they talk about Freaks and Geeks.

  45. Vincent says:

    My wife and I met Tom after a show of his at the Brea Improv. Such a nice, warm person, on top of being funny as hell.

  46. miliano says:

    Wow, Chris, this is heavy stuff!

  47. Matt Blackwood says:

    I LOVE Thomas F. Wilson! Good get!

  48. TheDemko says:

    Tom really seems like one of the real ‘nice guys of Hollywood’. Everything I’ve ever seen him in (including some of his standup stuff on YouTube – seriously, check out “Biff’s Question Song”… hilarious stuff), he’s always seemed like a really genuine guy. Very cool that he and the other genuine nice-guy Michael J. Fox got to make those movies together. Couldn’t have happened to two nicer guys.

  49. Nick Bungay says:

    Tom’s getting is own podcast! Let’s see that butthead and his flying car beat that!