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How American Values Shaped Fox Funnyman's Life

Fox News Host and comedian Tom Shillue shares childhood stories and how his parents' simple American values shaped his life. Read Transcript


[MUSIC PLAYING]

Tom Shillue says his dad was like Darth

Vader with the Boston accent.

His mother drove a Volkswagen bus with a Nixon Agnew sticker.

Tom says his parents raised him in the 70s

with the 50s mentality and that their simple values

have shaped his life.

Take a look.

Comedian and Fox News host Tom Shillue

says good ole respect has gone the way of the dinosaur.

Raised in Norwood, Massachusetts in a large Irish Catholic

family, Tom says his parents kept

him grounded with love for God, country, and family.

In his book, Mean Dads for a Better America,

Tom shares funny childhood stories

while addressing serious issues at the forefront

of every parent's mind today.

TERRY MEEUWSEN: Tom Shillue is here with us now.

And Tom, welcome to the 700 Club.

Thank you.

What a video.

I love it.

You need to take that home to your kids.

Oh, they're going to love it.

It's amazing.

Endless pictures of my parents.

You just mentioned that your dad was a little bit

like Darth Vader.

A little bit.

That you wouldn't mind if your kids had a healthy bit of fear

in them toward you.

What do you mean by that?

I mean I wish I could be a mean dad like my dad was.

I want to drag a little bit of his philosophy

into the present.

But he would wake us up with his breathing.

[BREATHING NOISE]

He'd say, get in the car.

And we would run.

We'd run down, and we'd get in that car.

Here you were, a young kid.

And you got into a lot of scuffles, a lot of fights

as a kid.

Maybe not a lot, but some.

Well everywhere.

The interesting thing was I grew up in a good home.

My parents were disciplinarians.

But when you think about it, we had

a lot of freedom back then, because most of our life

was spent outside of the watchful eye of parents.

Well that is the truth, isn't it.

We had the freedom to do that.

It was freedom.

And it was freedom to be bad.

Kids were bad, and kids were mean.

So when I got bullied, I would come home and say to my mother,

oh, Chris was pushing me around.

And she said, punch him back.

So I went back, and I punched him back.

I did.

So she taught me how to fight back.

She was tough too.

I was going to call the book Mean Dads And Cheap Moms,

because my mom--

she was a real money saver.

Was she?

She did not like to spend money.

Well families didn't have the option then.

I remember my mom--

probably yours too-- went to the grocery store

with a certain amount of cash in her hand

and sometimes put stuff back if she had to.

Well she had two hands full.

She had the cash, and then she had

an envelope full of coupons.

The green book.

Yes.

My mother was a member of what I call the Militant Couponing

Community.

Everything in our house had holes in it.

She cut everything out of the newspapers and magazines.

I've tried to follow that but they get stuck

at the bottom of my purse.

They're never with me when I need them.

You say that God, country, and family really saved your life.

In what way?

I didn't even know it was saving my life.

But growing up, I had this very ordered world.

And when I started writing the book,

I wanted to write about the 1970s,

because when you see it in movies or on TV,

everybody has the long hair and the beads.

And they look like they just got out of a Woodstock concert.

But for me, it looked more like the 1950s.

If you see those old photos of me as a kid,

we had a great small town.

It was like Leave it to Beaver.

It was.

And we would watch Leave it to Beaver.

We'd watch the old reruns.

And so our life was a lot more traditional back then.

And I think young people today don't realize that.

But so I started writing about the 70s.

And it ended up being kind of a tribute to my parents.

Every chapter I wrote I was trying to tell funny stories.

And I think they're funny.

And I think you're going to look back,

and you're going to laugh at the way that I was raised.

But in the end, the message was--

it always came down to gratitude.

about how grateful I was about the way I was raised.

And I was trying to think, how can I give my own kids

a little bit of that?

Because it's such a different world today.

But how can we take the past and learn from it?

You know Mean Dads for a Better America

is the name of the book, but you described your parents

as strong disciplinarians until you were about 12.

Yeah.

And then-- and I love this--

they kind of gave you a freedom to go figure it out.

They did.

I used to horse around.

And I confess in the book I would skip church

with my friends.

Shocking.

I dyed my hair.

You're trying to be a rebel.

And my parents let me, because I think

they understood that they gave me a good upbringing.

And then they gave me that freedom.

It's interesting.

I don't know if they intended to do that.

Or if they just we're sick and tired of me.

But the thing was--

They got over it.

I had friends who their parents were in their face.

You had the disciplinarian parents.

And then you had the parents who just didn't

raise their kids right at all.

But then I had my parents who--

they weren't in my face all the time.

And they kind of let me figure it out.

And look, I mean I feel like I turned out OK.

How'd I do?

How'd I do?

We're going to take a group vote when this is done.

Are you trying to raise your kids the same way?

I am.

I want to be a mean dad.

But I can't be Darth Vader.

But I want a little bit of that.

Oh there's my kids.

I mean look.

How fun.

All right I let them have ice cream.

But the thing is--

But you do let them just kind of work it out, don't you?

I try to be my dad on the playground

with these modern parents.

I'm raising my kids in New York.

And so I think I'm doing a good job.

I went down to the playground.

And my daughter started going bang bang.

And then there was another boy bang bang.

And they're back and forth.

Bang, bang, bang, bang.

And then the New York dad next to me runs over to his son,

he says, no guns.

And my daughter went like this.

She just said, it's not real.

[LAUGHING]

It's not real.

And I looked at the guy and said,

you know what, that's common sense right there.

Well, some of it is what we're facing even today in the news.

I think people are so terrified by what's going on.

And the world has changed a lot it

since you grew up, since I grew up.

I like to turn off the TV.

I don't like to say that when I'm on a TV show.

It's OK.

Turn off the media.

And turn off the devices.

Because sometimes we're bombarded with messages.

And so I like to have that family time with the media off.

And we tell stories.

A lot of these stories are stories

I tell my kids before bedtime.

They say, Dad, tell me about that time your mom said,

punch him back.

I think one of the things that's so fun about your book

is in a world that's gone a little bit mad today, we have

an opportunity to go back and remember what it was like when

we all cared about each other, despite our differences

and when we took time to invest in our kids

and in each other as family.

And I think you're going to really love the book.

It's called Mean Dads for a Better World.

It will make you smile as you read it and kind of long

for a little bit of what we had years ago.

You can get it in stores nationwide.

Tom Shillue, great.

Thank you so much.

Wonderful to have you with us.

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