Black Mountain vlogger attracting bigger audience and guests
TommyNC2010 keeps attracting big names as YouTube channel goes over 100,000 subscribers
On any given day, you can spot Tommy Finton walking around Black Mountain in his signature fedora, suit and sunglasses.
Outside of town, however, he's known by a growing number of people on the internet, the platform that has helped his colorful YouTube persona TommyNC2010 land appearances on networks such as MTV and Comedy Central.
Finton’s seven years on YouTube were to come full circle May 5 when he planned to chat, via Skype, with a personality who inspired TommyNC2010 - Doug Walker, known by his nearly one million subscribers as The Nostalgia Critic.
“The Nostalgia Critic is the reason why I am a YouTuber today,” Finton said. “I started watching his videos back when I didn’t exist on the internet.”
Finton was inspired by Walker’s ability to be "on stage” in the role of a critic who looks at movies and television shows from his childhood. It helped him understand how to develop TommyNC2010.
“His videos would make me laugh for hours and hours,” Finton said. “My mom told me to make videos, so I started making videos using things I liked from The Nostalgia Critic and another YouTuber named ‘coolduder'," a YouTube vlogger named Shawn C. Phillips..
Finton described the opportunity to interview Walker as a “dream come true.”
“I had a guy I met who told me his friend worked for Doug Walker,” Finton said. “I asked him to ask Doug if he would be willing to do an interview. (Walker) sent me an email, and my heart fell into my stomach, I almost cried.”
But the Walker "get" is just the most recent brush with fame in a long line for Finton, who appeared on MTV’s long-running reality show "Made," which offers teenagers a glimpse into their dream careers. The episode featuring Finton aired in 2010 and was the show’s 200th. Much of it was filmed at Owen High School, where Finton was attending school at the time.
That same year Finton launched TommyNC2010, his YouTube channel that has more than 115,000 subscribers. The video blog, or vlog, which features Finton doing interviews, reviews, characters and sometimes just walking around town, offers an outlet to express himself creatively.
“I do it because (the videos) put a skip in my step,” said Finton. “I do it for the fans who watch them. It gives me a chance to inspire millions of people.”
TommyNC2010 is, in ways, an extension of Finton, who said he hopes to inspire people who watch his vlog be themselves and not allow the opinions of others to dictate their creative endeavors. He also spreads other messages of positivity. One a few years ago led to yet another encounter with fame.
In 2014 Finton was walking through the parking lot of a Black Mountain business when he stopped a car from driving off because the occupants left a carton of eggs on the roof. A year later, that video landed him an appearance on Comedy Central’s Tosh.0, an internet clip show that has amassed millions of viewers in its nine-year run on the network.
Comedian Daniel Tosh, the host of the show known for his often controversial and biting comedy, shared the TommyNC2010 video and interviewed Finton, asking him about things like his choice of hats and his least favorite professional wrestler.
“I was so nervous,” Finton said of the experience. But it drew a significant number of subscribers to TommyNC2010's YouTube channel.
The channel saw another boost in subscribers after a fellow YouTube user relentlessly made fun of Finton while watching the Finton video on Tosh.0. The user later apologized and removed the video after getting heavy blow back from TommyNC2010 supporters.
“We need to stop bullying,” Finton said. “We need to really focus on this. (It) is something I think we’ve really forgotten about. So it’s important to me to focus on positivity and stopping the bullying.”
Finton didn’t let the incident slow him down. He said 2017 has been “an amazing year” for his channel. In addition to landing an interview with The Nostalgia Critic, he also welcomed New Radio 570 WWNC’s drive-time host Pete Kaliner.
Finton called the radio show several years ago and was struck by the host’s kindness. He was a bit more ambitious when he called in more recently.
“I try to give nothing but love when I contact people in the public eye,” Finton said. “I basically just went on the air and asked him if he’d be interested in doing my show, and he said ‘yea.’ So I got his email address, sent him an email and didn’t really expect to hear anything then back. Then one day, I got an email from Pete Kaliner.”