There is definitely more than just one side to Thomas Miles. If you want proof, ask the 7 million listeners who wake up with him every morning.
Miles is "Nephew Tommy," the outrageous sidekick, masterful prank caller and radio personality opposite host/ comedian (and Miles' uncle) Steve Harvey on The Steve Harvey Morning Show, one of the most popular syndicated morning radio shows in the country.
Fans of the show, heard in Central Kentucky on WBTF-107.9 FM The Beat, love Nephew Tommy and other characters he embodies in his prank calls and on the air, but Miles said one of the reasons the show works is its loose, fun attitude and the dynamic with Harvey.
"I'm Barney Fife. He's the sheriff," Miles said referencing The Andy Griffith Show. "I know my role."
And knowing a role is something Miles, 44, is very familiar with. Before he was cracking people up, he was a theater arts major at Texas A&M University and later joined the Royal Shakespeare Company. After hitting the stage in plays for a decade, he decided to try stand-up to fill his pockets during the summer between theatrical seasons.
Miles said it came effortlessly because he played the role of a comedian onstage. Well, that turned out to be the role that paid off big when he was offered an opening spot on crooner Luther Vandross's tour during the late '90s — a spot he held for three years.
Miles said that while his comedy can be on the wild side, he has learned to win over many types of crowds by adapting to the venue and the audience.
"As a comic, I'm a true believer that you have to be versatile," Miles said. "You've got to be prepared across the board."
Miles went on to make TV appearances in shows such as Sister Sister and The Parkers, and had minor film roles while hitting such notable stand-up stages as Showtime at the Apollo and BET's Comic View.
Of course, it was The Original Kings of Comedy star Harvey who gave Miles his biggest audience and a resulting loyal following. It's that type of following that's helped Miles sell out comedy clubs and stages with regularity.
It certainly was the case the last time Nephew Tommy appeared in Lexington at Comedy Off Broadway. But that was more of a typical stand-up comedy show. The comic's three-night stand this week at Comedy Off Broadway will be a bit different.
While Miles will deliver a 30-minute stand-up set covering topics like President Barack Obama and his own struggles with aging (and at least one recounting of a sexual encounter — with a lesbian), Nephew Tommy plans to take the many characters he portrays on the radio and bring them to life onstage.
"Every time I come back, I'll be a different character until the end of the show," Miles said. "I've got people inside my head, and when I come onstage, I'm going to let them all out."