Tom Arnold is a funny guy, but not when it comes to philanthropy. The comedian who rose to fame on the sitcom “Roseanne” (as well as for his short-lived marriage to co-star Roseanne Barr) was in town Sunday to emcee an event at Nobu Miami benefiting the South Florida chapter of After-School All-Stars. Founded by Arnold’s buddy/onetime “True Lies” co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2002, ASAS is a nonprofit that helps expand learning for low-income kids.
How did you get involved with this organization?
Arnold started this amazing organization awhile back and I learned a lot of my service stuff from him. He’s genuinely good-hearted. I like to make fun of him and bust his chops, but he’s a great dude. Very charismatic. He came here with $5 in his pocket, not $5 million: The true American Dream, an incredible success story and believes in giving back.
You two had amazing chemistry in 1994’s “True Lies.” What about a sequel?
We have the same chemistry in real life. Whenever we get together it just devolves into two people arguing [laughs]. There was a script for the sequel. We were going to do a film that ended with a submarine coming onto the base of the Twin Towers. Then 9/11 happened and [director] Jim Cameron said terrorism just could not be made funny and he was right. There’s talk of a pilot now.
You shot a lot of scenes in Florida. How was that experience?
Boy, we had fun. It was my first real movie and I assumed all were like that. I was wrong! But yeah, we were here a long time, in all different parts of the state. We got to blow up the old Seven Mile Bridge twice. Arnold and I definitely bonded during that experience.
What do you do when you’re back in town?
I like to eat. There are great restaurants and great sports to watch. For a kid who grew up in a small town in Iowa there’s a lot here. It’s not just Pitbull and Flo Rida. As a kid, Jackie Gleason was my idol. I remember him moving here and thinking, Oh my gosh, what would that be like? It’s a great, unique American city. People from all over the world come here. Walk through the airport end to end and you kind of see what America is all about.