how we roll

Pete Holmes on The Late Late Show with James Corden in May 2021

Photo credit: Terence Patrick/CBS via Getty Images

By Katey Clifford

In the CBS comedy How We Roll, Tom Smallwood has been laid off from his job at the car assembly line. Not sure what to do next, this small-town dad decides to follow his passion and become a professional bowler, with encouragement from his wife.

Actor and comedian Pete Holmes plays the show's likable protagonist—based on the real life Tom Smallwood—but where else have you seen him? Get to know the man behind the character!

Watch the CBS comedy How We Roll on Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. ET/PT and stream it on Paramount+.

Read more Show less

Pete Holmes as Tom and Katie Lowes as Jen

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

By Katey Clifford

What would you do if you were laid off from your job? Probably look for a new job. Unless you're a risk-taker, you likely wouldn't take your hobby—bowling, for example—and try to turn it into your professional career. But that's exactly what happens in the based-on-a-true-story comedy How We Roll: Given the ultimate second chance, Tom Smallwood (played by Pete Holmes) rolls those bowling balls straight into a new career.

Stream episodes of your favorite shows on Paramount+.

The Real Tom Smallwood

Professional bowler Tom Smallwood standing with legs crossed as he throws a bowling ball down a lane

Tom Smallwood prepares for the Dick Weber Open at Fountain Valley Bowl in Fountain Valley, California.

Photo: Allen J. Schaben/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

On How We Roll, Pete Holmes plays Tom Smallwood (pictured above), of Saginaw, Michigan. (The real-life Tom abandoned his dream of bowling professionally in order to settle down with his wife, Jennifer.) Tom ended up working for General Motors, but just two days before Christmas in 2008, he was laid off. When his job search proved unsuccessful, Tom joined the PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) tour and eventually became a three-time tour winner!

Supportive Wife Jen

Pete Holmes as Tom holding a black bowling ball and Katie Lowes as Jen looking at each other

Pete Holmes as Tom and Katie Lowes as Jen

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Tom's wife, Jen (Katie Lowes), stands behind his new career as a professional bowler. He also receives support from his mother, Helen (Julie White), and son Sam (Mason Wells).

Rolling Right Along

Pete Holmes as Tom Smallwood throwing a black bowling ball with tournament onlookers in the background

Pete Holmes as professional bowler Tom Smallwood

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

While Tom ultimately ended up achieving success, it was a long road—think hours of practice and nail-biting bowling tournaments—to get there.

At The Lanes

Pete Holmes as Tom and Chi McBride as Archie at a bowling alley with a red bowling ball between them

Pete Holmes as Tom and Chi McBride as Archie in How We Roll

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

And where will Tom be working on his six pack (aka six consecutive strikes)? At none other than Archie’s Lanes: Home of the Curly Fry. Archie (Chi McBride) isn't just the owner of the joint; he's also Tom's mentor.

A Supportive Team

Chi McBride as Archie sitting and Malcolm Barrett as Lowell holding a drink and Pete Holmes as Tom standing

Chi McBride as Archie, Malcolm Barrett as Lowell, and Pete Holmes as Tom

Photo: Cliff Lipson/CBS

Tom has a long way to go before he becomes the pro bowler we know him to be. But this new career path is just what Tom needs to get back on his feet.

Here's the really special thing about bowling: You throw your ball once. But you always get a chance to throw another if the first doesn't land how you expected.

Watch all your favorite shows on CBS and streaming on Paramount+!

Stream episodes of your favorite shows on Paramount+.


By viewing our video content you are accepting the terms of our Video Services Policy.
© 2019 CBS Interactive. All rights reserved.