Founders of the popular comedic group The Skit Guys, Eddie James and Tommy Woodard’s 30-year friendship didn’t start out as one might expect. Eddie and Tommy met in high school when Tommy stole Eddie’s girlfriend, and the Lord worked from there to spark in both of the men a love for friendship and Jesus! They describe the importance of friendships among men, transparency and vulnerability in relationships, working through conflict, and when marriages come into the mix. This is a fun conversation that you won’t want to miss!
I spent my whole life grilling food, never smoking food. It was too much work right? Until I finally got a smoker and I went, oh my goodness, I’ve been missing out. And it takes a lot more work to smoke something than it does to grill it. But like it’s the same thing with friendship. You spend your, you can spend your whole life doing the easy thing and but but if you’ll take the chance, you’ll realize there’s something much greater out there for you. Welcome to the focus on the family broadcast, helping families thrive, john you know, there’s a sign on my desk that says, laugh, you’ve seen it and I love it. And I think humor is such an important ingredient in the tools that God gives us to kind of get through life and to enjoy life and to have fun. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you might want to just turn it off right now because we are gonna have fun today. And I think humor comes directly from the heart of God. I think jesus demonstrated humor in a number of ways. In fact studies show it can help your immune system, it can help you sleep better, it can help your memory and not just the physical attributes, it helps you spiritually, it helps you emotionally and I’m excited to introduce our listeners and viewers to two great guests. We’ve got the skit guys and their husbands fathers and founders of the comedic duo the skit guys, they’ve been lifelong friends and they’ve written a book called smells like bacon guy’s guide to lifelong friendships and will encourage you to stop by our website to check out the details. And the link is in the show notes. Eddie and Tommy Welcome to focus. Looking forward to it Now. It’s interesting as I was reading through the book and the prep that the team put together your guys relationship started from a funny origin. I mean one of you stole the other one’s girlfriend. That usually doesn’t mean a lifetime relationship between two guys. So what happened? Uh, he was dating a cute girl and he was a year older. Yeah, yeah. That’s just so funny that not many relationships start in that environment. It was crazy. I don’t have a single one that started that way, but I had a big fight in ninth grade with the guy who stole my girlfriend marty if you’re listening right now repent. Well, that’s kind of fun. I mean right there. But I mean, how seriously? How did that spawn into a relationship between the two of you? How do you turn that tide and Eddie? You must have a lot of patients. Well, you know, um, I, I can remember even in the ninth grade hallway when Jill said to me, um, I think I like somebody else and I literally said no exaggeration. I said, well, there’s nothing I can do if you don’t like me anymore. But please tell me it’s not that sophomore in the musical that you’re in that Tommy Guy That Tommy Woodard, that’s exactly what I said. And she says it is and, and I don’t know, somewhere in that year. And like after about two weeks of dating me, she was gone. So it didn’t, it didn’t last and then, right, yeah. And then, you know, I think misery loves company were to jilted guys and you know, so, so you stay in touch with, um, I started our 30 year reunion, but no, okay, so in the book, you talk about these four circles of friendship who wants to describe them? We would call them the concentric circles, you know, the first is, hey, you wanna go have coffee, You wanna you just wanna go do something the coffee friend. It’s, I think it’s very hard for uh, you know, especially in today’s world, just guys just trying to go, you know, do something, you know? And so it’s at least it’s at least uh break a barrier down to, hey, you wanna go do this, You wanna go have coffee, you know, and just, you know, talk or just go do something that just seems, you know what we both have in common to do type, but pretty light touches the point. Exactly. Yeah. There’s no pressure when you’re having coffee with someone, you know, you don’t you don’t have to, I mean, and if it doesn’t work out, you don’t go get coffee with him again, You know, it’s not complicated. It’s like, yeah, yeah, you’ll see him at church. Okay. We need to, yeah, we did. We do need to get some, yeah, yeah. Yeah. But at that coffee or whatever it may be. That’s when as you’re talking all of a sudden you figure out, do we have more to talk about? Is there, is there something here or not, You know? Yeah. Yeah. Okay. So that’s, that’s the hangout or the okay. What about the acquaintance? That is when it’s like, there’s some good coin mania as we, as we call it. The christian circles, there’s some good coin mania here. You know, it’s like, okay, this could, this could become something. And, and I know like for, for couples that usually pairs them off a little bit too, like our wives get together. You know, I mean they’re doing well. Um, we seem to be hanging out well, like I like this guy’s company. We’re having a good time. So you start with the acquaintance and then you’re laughing, You’re having a good time. And it kind of builds from there. Yeah, that’s where, you know, at the coffee, if you’re talking about stuff and hey, I like this, you like this. Hey, you wanna go to the game together. You know, I got an extra ticket. You know, that kind of turns into the acquaintance and you’re looking for kind of those opportunities to hang out man. Have you given it that much thought, john that may be one of the problems here. Is that, you know, I don’t think guys think about this that much. And often times people will say that men are kind of loners, you like to do things on our own. We don’t necessarily gravitate towards group. Is that true? Do you think that? I think it takes work. So you gotta think about, I mean, I think, yeah, I mean, I think you have to, but it’s anything that is worthwhile, takes work, you know? And so you’ve got to put some thought to it. Eddie always quotes. I don’t know who it is about quiet desperation. I think it’s walt Whitman, but you know, most of that sounds good. Even even if it’s not, most men lead lives of quiet desperation. And I, and I think that’s, I think there’s a lot of truth to that, you know? Um um the women will talk, the women will try, you know, there’s a bonding there, there’s, but we can just sit back and look at our now, we have phones, we can just sit back and kind of look and at our phones and we could maybe make a little bit of small talk. But for whatever reason it is that quiet desperation just kind of sits in there and we’d rather just sit with that than really try to exert ourselves and just give a little bit, it’s so true. I mean Gene and I jeans, you know, she, she’s got three or four bible studies going every week and she’s got girlfriend coffee time and I’m so busy. I’m like, well just say no, Just stop doing it. I can’t do that. I don’t even register that. What do you mean? There’s, there’s a bit, I think we wouldn’t admit it. There’s a bit of social anxiety like I’m afraid of how it’s gonna go. It’s not gonna work out and it’s gonna take some work. But the truth of the matter is if you’ll take that chance, I think nine times out of 10 you leave going. That was great. Okay, so we got acquaintance. What are the other two uh circle of honor? Those would be the people that you go, I want to do life with these people. These these are these are good people. So these are close friends. These are close friends. You’ve you’ve done some wars together. You’ve done some hurts together. You’ve dealt with some things together. These are the people and honor is such a beautiful word too because you were when you see them, you just love them, you want to honor their life. You want you want to be a part of the world. Their kids world. Um You go to their kids games. I mean there is an honoring that happens of I will, you know, um I will go out of my way to be a part of their world just as there being a part of my world um with my, with my teenagers. Um like I love watching their friendships and, and I love just kind of watch to go, is this a seesaw friendship because sometimes uh they can meet somebody and it’s not a seesaw friendship, it doesn’t go back forth, back forth. Somebody just sits and they’re like up and they’re going, are you ever going to give me a balance? You know? And then those friendships don’t last right? But when you have honor friendships, there’s a good seesaw friendship going back and forth. It’s reciprocated in such a way to go. We love doing life together. And I know that’s a cliche word doing like, together, but there really is something beautiful when you, when you see that in action and that sounds pretty tight, that circle of honor. But yet you go to the garden friendship. Yeah. So, so there’s like in that circle of honor, like that’s who you would say, hey, we’re out of town this weekend. You might keep an eye on the house. Like, I trust him that much. But do you give him a key? Yeah, I think so. Yeah. Hey, would you watch the dogs? You know, don’t worry about the cat. But yeah, that’s, yeah, Okay. But then the garden friendships, that’s another level and, and that is gonna be, you’re not gonna have very many of those because it’s David and Jonathan. It’s, it’s the, it’s, it’s that depth. It’s, I love you more than I love my soul. You know, I I’m there for you. No matter what, you know, there are limits to that circle of honor. You know, you may not call that circle of honor at two am and go, hey, I gotta talk. It’s the garden friend you’re gonna call. Yeah, it’s jesus, ushering peter James, john further into the garden, you know, come come over here even even though they fell asleep and you know, but there was an ushering of of three other people to come closer to my pain. So it’s closest of the close. Yeah, it’s the it’s the funnel, everything that we just described. I mean, that’s a funnel and it does get smaller. No, it does get smaller when you go. I love you so much that I want that if there is pain, if there is hurt, if there is habits that there’s hang ups in my life, I want to usher you into my garden of pain to just be their prey with me, help me through this. Whatever those things are you describe in the book, the example of the paralyzed man in the in the new testament, how does that fit to friendship? Oh, because it’s one of the, I mean, it’s a beautiful thing like here’s these guys, right? And and you know the guy, we don’t know his name, We call him matt because he’s on a mat, but so matt can’t, he can’t get anywhere and his buddies take him to jesus right of all the things we can do, the best thing. We just take our friends to jesus and when they can’t get in, you know? No, no, you should’ve got here earlier, you know, and these guys there’s they don’t take no for an answer, they go to whatever extreme it takes and then what I love and there’s always that one guy, oh there’s always that one guy. Yeah, I got an idea. I mean, you know, they didn’t think this through, I think they got on the roof and everyone what do we do now, I don’t know, I just thought this would be better, you know? And so down below, you know, it was, you know jesus is talking and and and sharing and all of a sudden, you know, there’s just little dirt pebbles that are just falling, falling down. Yeah, yeah, yeah. And and they’re like man bad squirrels, you know, something’s going on, but like they lower him down and this is what’s beautiful is the scripture says seeing their faith right? Not seeing his faith, seeing their faith, Jesus says your sins are forgiven, you know, and so that this intimate friendship like we don’t understand the effect that our faith has on our closest of friends, you know, that is really cool to think of it that way. And again, I think for us man, we gotta break out of that loner mentality kind of convicting me here modern day situations. Why does social media make it so difficult for us to to have deeper friendships. I mean, I think I know the answer here, but you wrote the book. I think we compare a lot. I mean I think I I think men and women both, we we look at pictures and we can get in just this just stupor of of paralyzed fear and almost comparing contrast to go, oh my goodness, they have it better than us or they would never want to be my friend. And and we create we we extrapolate these stories of what one picture looks like and we will create a whole story for it. And I think it immobilizes us and and just paralyzes us in such ways to go and they’d never be my friend or that looks so fake or I don’t know about them. We we construct our own stories or thoughts our own ways on these things. I was just gonna say I hadn’t thought about this, but you know, I think of it typically for women, but men have a real well of inadequacy. So I hadn’t thought about it like that. But when we are comparing ourselves were inadequate were not good, husbands were not good are our bodies don’t you know when you see a picture of family on the beach and everything and they look so happy and you’re like, I didn’t take my family to the beach and and look at look at look at that, look at that dad throwing his kid up in the air like that and how that photographer, you know, you don’t, you don’t know if you don’t know if the foul there, but but we we create so many stories in our heads and we are men, men were fixers. We’re doers, we want, we want to make great. Um, and then we look at these things, we don’t have the kind of money they have, we don’t, we can’t do it. They look at their house, you know, and so I think a lot of place apart. Yeah. I think there’s comparing, I think there’s also just the convenience. I mean social media is fast food friendship, right? I mean, and that’s what we do our diet of fast food. If you don’t stop and eat a good steak, you don’t know what good food is, Right? And you’re going, man, we love Jack in the box, man, that’s the best. You know, it’s really good. I’m going with the not good food, right? You know, my favorite tacos are from Jack in the box. You’re like, then you’ve never been to a real mexican restaurant, right? And I mean that’s the thing social media is this counterfeit can convenient friendship, you know, and you’re just missing out. Yeah, that’s so true. You describe, uh, illustration in your book that caught my attention about going to the movies together. And this is really funny what happened? Yeah, we we we we love movies. We we’ve always loved movies. Um, I don’t know what year it was. Um, but but we, we were, we watched, we watched everything in high school, you know, I mean, you know, I mean that’s when PG 13 came out and everything. Um, but we went and saw beaches and with Bette Midler. Yeah, but, but I think it was nominated for some academy awards, at least the song was or something. Okay, so beaches and you decide, hey, let’s go. It sounds like fun. Let’s let’s go see. And it was about friendships, you know, so we watched this movie, it was, it was the two of us, maybe an elderly couple and maybe three women in the theater. Yeah. And so we watched speeches and, and spoiler. You know, one of the best friend dies, right? And and so, so, but you and I, I mean we’re buddies and we’re crying like we’re and one of us looks over at the other as the credits and go, should should we walk out the next, let’s go out the back exit and nobody sees us. But it was one of those defining moments in friendship though because he’s the guy that invited me to church september 17th 1987. He invited me to church. He said there was pizza. I came for jesus. I’ve got jesus and it changed my life and so, so, you know then to watch a movie about best friends and and coming from the background of a home life that I came back from, I mean we we got in your truck and it was like, it was this moment of like you’re my best friend, you’re my best friend and we’re saying these things as dudes going, I love you, you’re my best friend. And and when, when that when that just is infused with jesus, it’s it’s a beautiful thing. I will never forget. I will never forget that night. It was like to be that vulnerable and to go, you are my best friend, I love you and I’m so thankful that you’re in my life. That was a huge moment. You have cried in front of your wife at a movie, right? My wife doesn’t cry, but Eddie James and Tommy Woodard, our our guest today on focus on the family with jim daly. And uh we’re gonna encourage you to get a copy of their book smells like bacon. This kid guy’s guide to lifelong friendships, stopped by the show notes for your copy or give us a call 800 the letter A and the word family. You know, I can so relate to this next question because my son Trent. He kind of struggled a little bit in hugging when he was little. So I had to kind of teach him how to hug you guys had a similar conversation observing each other. I don’t know which one of you was the non hugger, but what was going on? I’m the hunger. Yeah. Yeah. I mean and gosh this was in college. Yeah. Yeah. This was in college is now a great hugger just to set the record straight. It’s like, yeah. I mean I like I come from a family of huggers. You know, I mean that’s what you do. You know I mean it’s a it was a great time. Good to see you. Let’s hug. We hug when we see each other. We hugged and we leave. You know that’s the way it works. Covid was rough on us because you can’t hug, you know? But we’re we’re somewhere it was outside of the why? Yeah. We were working right? Yeah. And we were getting ready to go to California I think like we had to. Exactly. And I think I’ve given you a hug and then I was like, what was it something we’re sitting in the car, right? Yeah. Yeah. And then and I was like, something’s bothering me and you you identified it And I and I came from a very sarcastic home. Not not a not a touchy feely home and I’m like what is wrong with you? What is and and and like weird guys. It’s like I don’t know how to say it. I don’t know how to say it. Just say it, will you just say it? And then here I am college age guys saying to my buddy, you don’t hug me back. Why don’t you? Why don’t you, huh? Yeah, It doesn’t even come out of your mouth, right? You know, and I’m like, what, what, what, what I hug you was like a cold fish. Yeah, it was just, you know, I mean hugging a big deal of jell o Yeah. You know, and but so what was happening in that moment? We didn’t realize it at all was I was voicing a felt need. You know, I mean, I, I had a felt need that I needed to know that you care about me and that you’ll give me a hug back, you know, and when you think about friendships, what’s so amazing. You know, if if you were willing to learn through a friendship, I, I think back to that moment to going, Yeah, I was pretty closed off. I was pretty defensive. I had walls. I, I could use humor to escape any intimacy. I could use humor to never really give of myself but make everyone like me. Um, I can people please my way through this. I can, you know, do a little song and dance and make people laugh, but I don’t ever have to give of myself and to be confronted that. But from a buddy. Um, you know, still a teenager to go, I guess I don’t hug, I guess I am afraid of what that early early age to start realizing those things. 100% I’m so thankful. Let me ask you, you mentioned the book how important conflict is in a relationship. So most people and some guys would be conflict averse, right? It’s good to avoid Tommy, good for you raising your hand. Okay, so you didn’t hug, but he didn’t like conflict. So why is why is conflict a positive ingredient in a relationship? And how do you make it positive? I mean we’ve been friends for over 30, 30 years. Um, and we have in our book, it’s a chapter in a book and, and it’s something that we say um to each other, it’s called going through the Tunnel Chaos. Um, no one likes to go through the Tunnel Chaos. The Tunnel of Love is a beautiful swan. You sit in the swan. The Tunnel of Chaos is, yeah, it’s an ugly with splinters on the seat. I mean it’s a horrible ride you don’t want to get on. I avoid it at all costs. It’s really great that confrontation and and one of the things that helps us is being able to say, hey, we need to go through the Tunnel of Chaos together, you know, because you start the conversation. Yeah, because you know what’s coming, you know too many times we try to ease into confrontation, You passively aggressively say something or kind of merely toast your way through it, but you’re not saying it. And so when you go, hey, I need to go through the tunnel of chaos with you, you both might be like, okay, let’s do it. Tell me. In fact, um an illustration you see mentioned in the book is a time, a period of time where you’re struggling with drinking I think and Eddie kind of came to your rescue. So that’s a great if you don’t mind sharing it, that’s a great illustration of how good friend will help. Yeah, I grew up baptist and you didn’t drink, you know, I mean? And and I was in my thirties before I started, you know, and it was, it was a very quick but all of a sudden, oh, you know, I’m in trouble here, you know, and my buddy would, would be the guy like once I had this, this moment of where the Lord really came in and was like, you gotta, you gotta stop this, you know? Uh it was, I went straight to him and said, hey, I, we need to talk about this because I can’t do this. It’s exactly right. I picked up the phone the morning I drove, I drove home from the airport drunk and I went to bed. I woke up the next morning and I promise you what was in my head was let the morning bring me joy of your unfailing love and God just broke me with that and I went to my wife and I said, I’ve been dishonest with you about this because I was hiding it. And then the next thing I did was I picked up my phone and I called Eddie and I said, hey, I had a problem. I don’t ever get to do this again. And there’s much more to my story. You know, I didn’t, it doesn’t just stop right there. If you have a struggle with addiction of any kind, you know, it’s, it’s not, it’s not one prayer and you’re done. You know, there’s more to the process, but he’s the guy that I went to immediately and said, I need that, you know, and he’s been there, you know, and you know, focuses here for people that are struggling any type of addiction. And we got counselors. So we’ll give details of always moving from that seriousness to bacon and another addiction, your friendship addiction to bacon. Bacon weave into your relationship. My buddy moved in. My wife and I lived in a parsonage, right? Which is pastor. So it’s the parsonage. The pastor didn’t want that. Okay, so it’s desperate. Yes, we had a continent cat. And so it smelled like old pastor and cat urine. Why in the world did you go, why would you move there? I moved from California back and I and I needed a place to stay and I didn’t know what to do and I was a little burnout. I was, I worked, you know, from 18 years old to probably 25 at that point. Um I was at a big church and I was I was tired. I didn’t know what was next. And so hey, and there was the mother in law room in the back of the the evangelist evangelist. Okay. I was in the back behind the garage in this little evangelist room and that’s where I stayed. Um I was also on the Atkins diet in the mid nineties dr Atkins came out with a thing of don’t do any carbs and just eat protein. And so God, God bless Tommy and angie. Um and she would go to work and you would go across the street to the church and I would make bacon, what you need to know is I was losing weight. Bacon was making me lose weight. Oh, well covered and just permeated in the wall. Bacon was all in this house with all the other smells. And so your dear wife, Sweet sweet wife was like, Tommy, help me understand? Why does her house smell like bacon and all I can say is that the smell of friendship? I mean, what am I gonna say? You know the smell of friendship? So, I mean, the whole title of the book smells like bacon. Is that’s what friendship smells like to us. You’re kidding. There’s a whole thing. There were right at the end, but for people to get the rest of the story, get the book because you do talk about how friendship and marriage needs to work harmoniously and sometimes it doesn’t. Yes, I will say this a 30 year friendship. It’s hard to find uh men or women who have 30 year friendships. Like the only thing you can compare it to is a marriage that lasts that long. And so the the secret behind this book is, yeah, it’s a great book for guys. It’s a great marriage book like that. If you practice these things in your marriage, it’s fantastic. You know? And again, I mentioned, we’re at the end. So I gotta ask this question for that guy who feels like that lone wolf. I mean, what are some ways they can break that habit and and find that coffee friend and then move that to something, you know deeper and trust. I think a lot of guys lose hope and and trust in other men because, you know, they don’t find that relationship that works for them. So, speak to that guy. I would encourage you to uh to say yes, just to say yes to the opportunities. Um I don’t know if we’re supposed to uh do everything alone. Um, but that may sound so simple, but to just say yes to an opportunity of friendship, whether it’s at church and you see somebody like, maybe this could work. I know it feels awkward. I know we’re not in high school anymore, but to just go, you know, even if you’re in a small group and there’s just someone you feel like you connect with to just you wanna go get some coffee, you know? Um I know it’s an awkward thing because women can go, let’s go have coffee and then it just works right? But for a guy to say to another guy, you wanna you wanna go have coffee, but you know, whatever those things are, find those opportunities just to say yes, because you you may be in the midst of a a wonderful, beautiful friendship that happens. Yeah, I would say this, I spent my whole life grilling food, never smoking food. It was too much work, right until I finally got a smoker and I went, oh my goodness, I’ve been missing out and it takes a lot more work to smoke something than it does to grill it. But like it’s the same thing of friendship. You spend your you can spend your whole life doing the easy thing and but but if you’ll take the chance, you’ll realize there’s something much greater out there for you. Great analogy and this has been so good and I hope people, men particularly, but their wives and girlfriends as well are kind of sparked here to look into this in a deeper way smells like bacon. The skit guys guide to lifelong friendships. Uh you can pick that up right here, focus on the family, help us do ministry, if you can make a gift of any amount, we’ll send it as our way of saying thank you. If you can make that monthly, that’s great because it helps us do ministry here. We’re ministry based and supporter base. So it all works and you get a great resource to strengthen your relationships in your sphere of influence. It’s been great. Thanks for being with us. This is super fun. Thank you so much and follow up by getting a copy of smells like bacon. The skit guys, guide to lifelong friendships written by Eddie James and Tommy Woodard. We’ve got details in the show notes or give us a call 800 the letter A and the word family. 802 326459 on behalf of Jim Daly and the entire team. Thanks for joining us today For Focus on the family. I’m john fuller inviting you back as we once more help you and your family thrive in christ