I recently had the chance to see actor and comedian Tom Arnold perform. Unlike some stand-up comics who just tell one one-liner after another, Arnold’s humor comes from stories of his life. He talked about losing, gaining and losing weight again, his three previous marriages (including his first, to Roseanne Barr), his new wife and two kids, and his relationship with his late father.
But for me, an entertainment guy, the most appealing and fascinating stories, by far, were Arnold’s tales about the industry. He’s now made 130 movies – so he’s clearly got plenty of material. Arnold reminisced on auditioning for, and working with, the intimidating James Cameron and the other Arnold (former Governor Schwarzenegger) on 1994’s “True Lies”. He also described being with Robin Williams (they briefly went on a diet together) and Hugh Grant on ’95’s “Nine Months”.
Arnold co-starred with Steven Seagal and Anthony Anderson in 2001’s “Exit Wounds”. A story about a Seagal stunt gone wrong (Arnold stressed that Seagal does NOT like to prep before he films his stunts) was a highlight. More name dropping during the night: from working with Jet Li on 2003’s “Cradle 2 the Grave” to living next door to Shaq and going on Howard Stern’s radio show. As for Roseanne references (both the sitcom and Barr), there were plenty of those as well.
Arnold appears on this week’s premiere of ABC’s “Battle of the Network Stars” revival (Thursday, 9pmET). He joins “Full House”‘s Dave Coulier and AJ Michalka from “The Goldbergs” on the TV Sitcoms team. Their competitors: TV Kids – including Joey Lawrence, Nolan Gould (“Modern Family”) and “High School Musical” alum Corbin Bleu.
When got to meet Arnold after the show (and he couldn’t have been nicer), I asked him about “Battle”. He gave me the “inside scoop” of his episode, and I can’t divulge most of it. But I can reveal that he gets into quite the confrontation with Lawrence – all in good fun, of course. Arnold had a blast on the show. “What an honor!”, he exclaimed, though he admitted the star-power isn’t exactly at the level it was with the original version.