People often ask comedians if they got started as the Class Clown. Usually the answer is "no." However in the case of Tom Ryan it turns out to be true. When he was in eighth grade, his classmates actually voted him the class clown. "I would have preferred the term 'class comedian'."
At the time, his favorite comedians were Bill Cosby, David Brenner, Woody Allen and George Carlin. He listened to Carlin's "FM & AM" album over and over again until he had it completely memorized. One day during recess he recited the entire album for a crowd of about 40 classmates. It was at that moment that he realized that he wanted to be a stand-up comedian.
At 26, he left an insurance job in his hometown of Philadelphia to move to Florida where he got a job at a local golf course. The job lasted only 3 weeks. Ryan says, "Losing that job was the best thing that ever happened to me because it forced me to confront exactly what I wanted to do with my life." He took a job as a doorman at the newly opened Comedy Corner in West Palm Beach. It was the lowest paying but most valuable job he ever had.
It was not long before Tom made his stage debut. Within two years he was working full time as a comedian. Since then Tom Ryan has worked steadily at comedy clubs, concert venues, corporate functions and colleges across the U.S.. He has also made national television appearances on Showtime, A&E and Comedy Central. He has performed as the opening act in concert for B.B. King, Tim Allen, Steven Wright, Natalie Cole and Dennis Miller just to name a few. His original style makes it easy for him to write for special events. He has contributed monologue jokes to the award winning "Politically Incorrect with Bill Maher" and regularly headlines corporate events for companies ranging from Coca-Cola to Church and Dwight.
Tom believes that the best comedy comes from the most unlikely sources. Here is an example from his act: "I was driving around the other day and my oil light came on. But that little symbol looks nothing like an oil can. When it first came on I thought well, apparently my car is low on gravy."