(This episode originally aired on Dec 12th, 2016 and was rebroadcast and updated on September 30th, 2019)
Tom Shadyac has probably made you laugh. He was the youngest ever staff joke writer for Bob Hope and he directed some of the biggest comedy films in recent memory, including Ace Ventura: Pet Detective and The Nutty Professor. A lot of people would say Tom has “made it.” Tom would disagree.
Tom joins Ben and Bob for a conversation about his life and the path that led him to abandon the pursuit of fame and material abundance to focus on helping others. He tells of his 11 year period of unemployment as he struggled to find success in the Los Angeles comedy scene, his relationship with Jim Carrey and how following his own passions led him to take a risk with Ace Ventura. Tom also talks of his approach to teaching film, and explains why he defines success as a state of mind. Other topics of conversation include the LA comedy scene, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, and Tom’s deep commitment to the people of Memphis.
You can find out more about Tom's story and philosophy in his book Life's Operating Manual and his documentary film I Am (which we highly recommend!).
September 2019 Updates
Tom’s climbing center, Memphis Rox, opened in Memphis on April 3, 2018. Shortly thereafter, he began work on his new film, Brian Banks, which premiered in theaters in August 2019.