Tom was recently writer/director/producer for SpongeBob Appreciation Day, a live action special starring Tom Kenny, Jon Heder, Rob Riggle, Meghan Trainor and Anthony Davis which aired on Nickelodeon in Jan 2020. Currently Tom is writing a soon to be announced feature film in the SpongeBob universe. Tom was also recently showrunner/director on two Netflix shows: Kevin Hart’s Guide to Black History and The Toys That Made Us. Tom’s short film Adams ,which he produced, directed and adapted from the George Saunders story, stars Patton Oswalt and Fred Armisen, and has won 7 awards at various festivals so far, including Best Comedy at  HollyShorts, where the jury included Anthony Russo and Matthew Modine. Other recent shows directed by Tom include Comedy Central’s rebooted Crankyankers, Fox’s What Just Happened with Fred Savage, and the Jim Henson Company’s upcoming animatronic alien show for Disney + Earth to Ned.

In 1987, while at NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Tom collaborated with underground rock legends Butthole Surfers on the short film Cherub. Also while at NYU he began a partnership with Alex Winter which lasted eight years – their college film Squeal of Death caught the attention of Sam Raimi who then developed a feature comedy script with them. After graduating, the pair went to Hollywood and directed IMPACT Video Magazine, which featured cutting edge artists and performers such as Bill Hicks, Survival Research Labs, Public Enemy, Robert Williams, Janes Addiction, and another short film with Butthole Surfers. Tom got his first mainstream show business job writing for the Jim Henson Hour on NBC. After that he collaborated with Alex Winter on the MTV Sketch Comedy show The Idiot Box, which he co-wrote, co-directed, and co-starred in. The Idiot Box was listed as one of the 40 best sketch comedy shows of all time by Rolling Stone magazine.

Stern and Winter then shared writing and directing duties on their cult favorite feature film Freaked for 20th Century Fox, starring Randy Quaid, Mr T, Keanu Reeves, Brooke Shields, Bobcat Goldtwaith, and Larry “Bud” Melman.

Tom went on to co-write the feature An American Werewolf in Paris with Tim Burns. Tom and Tim then co-created The Chimp Channel, a comedy series for TBS. Tom went on to co-create Wanderlust (with Josh Gardner), a comedy travel show for Comedy Central, which he also co-wrote, directed, and executive produced. He was a showrunner for Comedy Central’s Crank Yankers, and for MTV’s The Andy Milonakis Show, both of which he also directed. Along the way Tom directed for The Man Show on Comedy Central, Jimmy Kimmel Live on ABC, and was a staff writer for Trey Parker and Matt Stone’s Comedy Central show That’s My Bush.

Tom was the director and executive producer for Adult Swim’s series Saul of the Molemen. He co-wrote, co-created and directed an innovative photo animated pilot for MTV called Hardin High and has directed music videos for such artists as Red Hot Chili Peppers, Ice Cube, Butthole Surfers and Marilyn Manson.

Tom was the showrunner and director for an MTV pilot starring artist Marc Horowitz called Marc Saves America, directed season three of Joe Schmo for creators Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick (Zombieland, Deadpool) , and was co-EP/director for two seasons of the VH1 sketch comedy show Stevie TV, starring the young Youtube comedy star Stevie Ryan. Tom also directed episodes of 2 Broke Girls (CBS).

Tom and Josh Gardner recently created a genre they call "Petsploitation" with a serialized comedy series  called Golden Revenge. It’s a cross between Homeward Bound and Death Wish – and tells the story of three pets on a cross-country trek for bloody revenge, grind house style. It was produced by Conoco and Warner Brothers Blue Ribbon Content. Distribution plans will be announced soon.

Tom is married to architect Barbara Bestor and lives with their blended family of four kids  in Silver Lake, Los Angeles.

How I got here

Pre-History

Childhood

Adolescence

Film School

Stern Winter in LA

The Spork Years

The Chimp Years

Kimmelot & Beyond

Recent History