Metro Weekly

Tommy McFly is NBC4’s Irresistible Scene Stealer

NBC4's Tommy McFly dishes from the other side of the mic on coming out, getting married, and making moves in TV news.

Tommy McFly -- Photo: Courtesy Tommy McFly
Tommy McFly — Photo: Courtesy Tommy McFly

“A lot of people have a rough first year in D.C., I feel, and I had one of those, too,” says Tommy McFly, describing his bumpy entry to the Capital as a 20-year-old fresh from Scranton, Pennsylvania. Enlisted to produce a morning radio show, the go-getter arrived in 2006, full of pep and purpose, but uncertain perhaps of how to best channel that energy. So he took the time to further hone his talents.

“I took an improv class at the DC Improv, and that really focused my skills of being in the moment, being present, taking what someone tells you, and then building off of that,” says McFly, currently the chipper on-air scene reporter at Washington, D.C.’s NBC4, as well as an in-demand host of live events around town.

Every bit as cheerful and quick with a quip during our chat as he is on the air, McFly (born Thomas Pavlick) still counts on those improv skills. “I would recommend it not just for interviewers, but any human who wants to just be a better communicator,” he says. “[Improv class] saved my life. Everyone should do it.”

Improv, it seems, is just one among many reliable tools McFly has picked up in the course of a career that started in radio in his hometown of Scranton. He was just 15 when they put him on the air.

“It should not have happened,” he says. “The station was called Froggy 101. I started off as the mascot. I literally was Mr. Froggy, low-budget Disney World, bit by dogs, kicked by kids at the county fair, and got on the air at 15. It was when radio still was not automated and so they had to have a live person all the time. I was Saturday and Sunday, midnight to five a.m. at 15 years old. Probably illegal.”

McFly — so named, because everyone at the station was given a frog moniker, like “Ann Phibian,” “Jimmy Hoppa,” and “Ali Gator” — played music and took calls. “I would have these conversations with drunks and truckers that were up at three in the morning on a Saturday,” he recalls.

“And it really made you quick, and able to steer conversation. What radio used to be really is that. It was back-and-forth conversation, you had to be on, people would call you, it was almost like running a bar. You wouldn’t know who would come in, you’d have your regulars, you’d have some people who would come in once in a while and you had to be ready to talk to them and have a real conversation.”

In D.C., McFly kept the conversation going at a succession of radio jobs. “I came to town in 2006 to work for MIX 107.3, which was a legendary radio station, which has now been sold and it’s a Christian broadcaster,” he says. “I left MIX while it was still MIX to go launch 94.7 Fresh, a pop station sister of WPGC and WJFK Sports Radio, and that is now an oldies station. So, tells you how radio’s going.”

For nearly ten years, McFly hosted the morning show on 94.7, alongside Kelly Collis and Jen Richer. “I worked with two of my best friends, Kelly and Jen, and we were at the station that wasn’t supposed to do anything because we worked with PGC and JFK and El Zol [WLZL]. And they were like, ‘Whatever, that pop station, have fun.’ And they let us be creative and do all kinds of fun stuff.”

The trio’s run ended when the company was sold in 2018. But, again, McFly kept the conversation flowing, this time with Collis, who, he says, “besides my husband, she’s my ICE contact, best woman at my wedding, she’s my person.”

Collis and McFly started a small business in her basement where they built a broadcast app and launched a digital radio station. “And 2019 was our first year with it, and 2019 was amazing,” says McFly. “And then we were a casualty of the pandemic, as a lot of small businesses were.”

Yet, throughout his time on radio, McFly was also gaining his footing on television, starting as a guest with Barbara Harrison on NBC4’s Midday Show. “Even before that, there was a really cool two o’clock show called Daily Connection, which was very much like de-formalized news,” he recalls.

“And I was a guest once a week as a radio guy talking about celebrities. Then I went with Barbara, and that turned into me going on an eight-year odyssey to some other stations in town. But, finally, in 2017, I came back to Channel 4 as a team member, got my badge to get in the door. And Channel 4 has been just the best adventure, and it keeps getting better.”

Better includes earning a Capitals Emmy in 2019 for his coverage of the Nationals’ World Series, and an Edward R. Murrow Award for NBC4’s Pride special. Better also likely includes life with husband Chrysovalantis Kefalas, a brand strategy executive who McFly met at an impromptu dinner with friends in D.C.

McFly had planned that night on meeting just one friend for drinks, recalling that he arrived late from another event, under-dressed and probably sweaty. But, of course, he knew how to improvise. And the rest is a romance that’s still unfolding.

Tommy McFly -- Photo: Jonathan Thorpe
Tommy McFly — Photo: Jonathan Thorpe

METRO WEEKLY: I have a bunch of NBC4 questions, but first, how old are you?


MW: Okay. Because, obviously, you still look like 15-year-old Tommy.

MCFLY: It’s weapons-grade eye cream.

MW: So now I’m going to take it back a few years, because you and I met briefly at National Theatre during the press junket for Beetlejuice the Musical. You were the one press person in the room who, as we were all packing up and leaving was like, “Hi, I’m Tommy. Who are you covering for?” Really outgoing, and it stuck with me. Did you always have that icebreaker energy since you were a kid, or did it come later?

MCFLY: Yeah. I’m an only child, millennial Gemini. I am as outgoing as you could be. I think being an only child, you make friends, that’s what you do. And then, when you move to a new city like Washington, I experienced, I think, what a lot of people experience, “Where are you from? What do you do? Where do you go to college?” And I was from Scranton, I went to community college and I don’t come from money, or my dad’s not a senator. So I think I had to be extra friendly, as I’ve always been, to meet people. And I truly just love people. They charge me up.

MW: So I’m also going to get you on the record, did you see Beetlejuice at that point? What did you think of the show?

MCFLY: I didn’t see Beetlejuice, because… I don’t know if you remember this. When you said, “I saw you at Beetlejuice,” I was like, “Oh no,” because that was one of the few tantrums I’ve thrown in an interview. [Laughs.]

MW: Wait, that day?

MCFLY: Oh, the Beetlejuice guy was just such a monster —

Tommy McFly -- Photo: Jonathan Thorpe
Tommy McFly — Photo: Jonathan Thorpe

MW: He was tough.

MCFLY: He wouldn’t play along, and “Lydia” was from the area, and she was amazing. And he wouldn’t let Lydia talk. And I’m like, “Dude, you, sir, are not Lin-Manuel Miranda, knock it off.” And so I did not go to see Beetlejuice.

MW: As a kid, were you a pop culture fan or a sports fan? What were you into?

MCFLY: I was a pop culture fan. I went to Catholic school, very much played sports, was on the newspaper. Speech and debate was also another thing. I did forensic speech and debate from fifth grade to my senior year of high school. And so I was always really into that. It was as I was growing up that I learned my mouth and my personality was kind of my thing. I was never going to be a good sports player of anything, ever.

And so I realized that communication and being in conversation with people was kind of my jam. My mom reminded me, my first emcee gig was my kindergarten graduation. I was that kid, and gotta love Ms. Bonnie Biros, my kindergarten teacher, because I was that kid who was just so talkative, and she could have very well squashed that and she didn’t. I actually ended up sitting at her desk with her, which I think she thought initially was a punishment, but I was like, “This is great. I get to talk and hang out with the teacher.”

MW: You co-anchored class.

MCFLY: Basically, yeah. And so for our graduation, I got to be the emcee of the ceremony. Basically, it was a talent show-esque kind of thing where kids got to do a part of the presentation for our graduation. I had a little tuxedo. They say that if you let kids do what they want to do, it really helps them through the rest of their life. And that was one thing, my parents were awesome. I figure-skated, I played guitar, soccer, volleyball, baseball. They gave me every opportunity. And, like I said, we didn’t come from money. So I know that it was tough for my parents to do that, but they wanted me to try everything and commit to it. I wasn’t able to quit baseball, which really sucked. But I learned that from them. And I think throughout the whole process, communication and speaking, that was where that came from.

MW: You mentioned growing up Catholic in Scranton, which, like a lot of people, I hear Scranton and I think of the Bidens. What else can you tell me about growing up there, and what it meant to you? Also, have you ever run into any Bidens?

MCFLY: It’s funny, when you mention Scranton, people either go to The Office or Joe Biden, and then I know how the conversation’s going to go after that.

MW: I’m not an Office guy.

MCFLY: So, yeah, growing up, I had a very blessed childhood. I was very lucky in where I grew up. The small town outside of Scranton where I grew up, Mountain Top, is a great place to have been raised. I lived on my street with friends. We had woods that we’d go play in. There was a pond, we swam, we boated. It was really fun. I always joke that it’s gritty positivity. There is a grit to growing up in an area like Scranton, but it’s also a very positive.

Maybe it’s a little less positive than it has been, but it’s a positive area and people there, for sure, come together and help each other. I think growing up in that environment set me up so well for success. Then I left Catholic school after eighth grade, went to public high school, community college, was supposed to finish my degree in broadcast and marketing. And then I got the opportunity to come to Washington at 20 to produce a morning show, so I took it.

MW: At what point, as you were growing up there, did you realize that you were gay?

MCFLY: To go back to your earlier question, too. Bidens, yes, I’ve run into them a bunch of times. Not in Scranton, but throughout the years here in D.C., and whenever I would see the Senator, now President, I’m always like, “Mr. President. I’m from Scranton.” He’s like, “No way!” I had been asked in the Obama administration for six years there, and now for two years with the Bidens, to host the White House Easter Egg Roll. It’s the coolest thing ever. I’m the first person in American history to do it, which will be, hopefully, a Jeopardy question someday.

When Michelle Obama’s office called and asked me to emcee the Easter Egg Roll, which was wild, because when they took it over, they made it like kiddie Lollapalooza. They actually had the production company that does Lollapalooza do the Easter Egg Roll. So there was a music stage, a reading stage, and all this different stuff. The second or third year in, they brought an emcee in, which was me, to help them ringmaster, traffic cop. So people knew what was going on when they got there.

And so, the first year of the Biden administration, they brought me back. We got to see him and the First Lady in the photo line. I said, “Dr. Biden, I’m a community college grad.” And she’s like, “Oh my gosh, amazing.” And I was like, “Mr. President, I’m from Scranton.” And literally, record scratch. He’s like, “Oh, well, hey, what part of Scranton?” And I told him I’m from Mountain Top, which is just below Scranton. He looks at me and goes, “Ah.” He looks at her, “He’s from the high-rent district.” And I was like, “I’m not sure it was the higher rent district of Scranton….” It was this really witty, fun moment and it was cool. Just two guys from Scranton hanging out in the White House, wild.

MW: Now I have to ask — I’m going to get back to that other question, but —

MCFLY: Yes, we’ll get back to the gay stuff, I promise.

MW: But during the Trump years, what were they doing? I mean they did the Easter Egg Roll. They didn’t call you?

MCFLY: They didn’t call me.

MW: Who did they call? Who was there, other than Melania, scaring kids?

MCFLY: It was interesting, I don’t know what happened. I know that an Easter Egg Roll occurred at least two of the years. There was also the COVID times, you know, 2020 was off.

MW: All right. Now the other question.

MCFLY: So you were asking when did I realize I was gay? I think in hindsight at 13 or 14. But living it, really 27 is when I came out. Came to town, even before then, you kind of know, but you’re not sure. And also, I was in a — I don’t want to say very public job, because I’m not Hoda.

MW: It is a public-facing job.

MCFLY: Not that public a job. I definitely knew or was pretty sure. But it’s the discovery that we all go through, right? You’re like, “Am I gay? Am I bi? Where do I fall in this world? And when am I sure enough with myself that that’s what I’m figuratively and literally broadcasting,” right? So there was always that extra layer for me needing to be really sure about this before I come out on the air.

Was it the right decision? I don’t know. I’m very blessed in how my life has unfolded. I didn’t come out on the air until I was with my husband, then partner, for a while. And I don’t think I trusted the audience that we had on the show as much as I should have. Because the radio show was, it was a very honest conversation with our people every day. We shared our lives, we shared triumphs and tragedies. It was very much more than “We just play Beyoncé and Taylor Swift here.” The morning show was a meeting place and a convening place of people coming together, and that was awesome, from phone topics and interviews and all the stuff we did.

But that was always the one part of my life that I was not honest about for a while. And it was unfair to my co-host Kelly, who went through her divorce basically live on the radio. And I would always shy away from those topics of dating and that sort of thing. So should I have done it earlier? Probably. But I also didn’t want to go on the air and be like, “Hey, y’all, I’m figuring it out, I’ll get back to you. Interested parties apply below.”

Tommy McFly -- Photo: Courtesy Tommy McFly
Tommy McFly — Photo: Courtesy Tommy McFly

MW: That actually would have gone over pretty well in D.C.

MCFLY: It would have. But when you’re in a corporate radio environment, you’re not really sure how it’ll be received from management, that sort of thing. So that was it. And when I came out, I didn’t want to have a gender reveal kind of coming out. We shared our lives, and I just told a story about getting a new puppy, because we got a puppy and the puppy, Troy, peed on the couch. And I then was peeling back the layers of the drama of the dog peeing on this beautiful couch, and then weaved in just that my partner and I were not really pleased about it. Which I think was probably a good way to get people’s attention, the ones that were really listening, because I knew that I never wanted to be like, “Hey, coming up at 7:05, announcement of who I’m sleeping with!” That was not what we were going to do.

MW: As far as management is concerned, whenever Metro Weekly has been in the Pride Parade, I’ve always taken notice of the NBC4 crew on some bus or float or something. The late Wendy Rieger was a great friend of Metro Weekly. I’ve seen Doug Kammerer on the float. I’ve seen Moisés Linares on the float, and I appreciate seeing those on-air faces out supporting and really giving it.

MCFLY: You probably can’t see it on my watch. [Holding his watch up to the camera.] There it is, a photo of Wendy Rieger and me. So Wendy was my friend before we were co-workers, and she was one of the most loving pillars of all the things. Just amazing. Amazing. And you brought her up. You brought her up.

MW: I brought her up. Just the people that I’ve seen representing the station seem like cool people. So is it as LGBTQ-friendly a work environment always, or just during Pride?

MCFLY: Oh, crazy. Absolutely. Yeah. I brought up Rieger because whenever anyone does, I feel that the more you talk about somebody, you keep their memory and their spirit alive. And not to get woo-woo with you, but she’s with me all the time. She’s North Star. But yeah, the entire place is amazing and so welcoming, so loving. I mean, you have the members of our team who are LGBTQ, but you also have allies who come along, and I had not felt that before, which was really, really cool.

When I worked at CBS, then Entercom, iHeart Radio was always in the Pride Parade, but we never were. To then go to a place like NBC where there’s literally a double-decker bus and people are throwing beads and partying, it’s really cool.

Not to sound like a big commercial, and “You should go to careers at NBC and apply,” but it is an incredibly inclusive and loving environment, and it’s a walking of the walk. We have our out group. Rick Yarborough, our producer on our I-Team, and also our Pride Special producer who does that special with me, he runs our out group. And we have a BEN group, which is Black Employee Network Group, and Telemundo, we’re sister stations and they’re in our newsroom with us, so there’s a big push to learn Spanish. And just everyone needs to be working and thinking about Discovering Black Heritage stories and AAPI stories and Hispanic Heritage Month stories, Pride Month stories.

So it is not like we’re doing it because we have to do it because it’s the thing that’s the best thing to do. We’re doing it because it matters. The people at NBC are the best thing. There’s something so legendary about that place. Truly, it’s one of the best local newsrooms in America, top three, I think it’s the best. It’s because of the people. And that’s from the legacy of Jim Vance, and even before him, and all the way through to today, the crew that we have there now.

Tommy McFly -- Photo: Jonathan Thorpe
Tommy McFly — Photo: Jonathan Thorpe

And that’s what, I think, makes us different and makes us better, is because there’s such a care for the people. Pride is one of the big examples, but Pride is just one of the examples of why that is.

MW: And whenever you’ve worked in a place that didn’t feel as accepting, or beyond accepting, encouraging, what did that feel like?

MCFLY: It’s isolating. I don’t think any place I worked at was actively anti-LGBTQ, I wouldn’t say that. But I think that there are just places in town where I’ve worked that have not been as human-centric and caring about you more than caring about the job you need to get done. And don’t get me wrong, at Channel 4, the standard of performance is high. It is high, we all know that. There’s also — work hard, play hard is so cliche — but it’s work hard, be good humans to each other as well, I think. And of the places I’ve worked in town, be it 107 or 94.7 or Channel 7 or Channel 9, not that any of them were anti-LGBTQ, there just wasn’t that vibe. And that comes from our general manager, Jackie Bradford, who sets that tone, but it’s everyone all the way down. We are all bought in on that. Knowing that we bring it every day, but we get to work in a place that is as special as Channel 4, and I think that’s known.

MW: I watch Channel 4 a lot. I also watch the FOX 5 morning show. I’m pretty much a local news junkie. I think a lot of people in D.C. like to keep up with the local news. But then of course there are people who, for whatever reasons, absolutely don’t want to see local news. Either they think that it’s all rigged, and you’re only going to be showing us some really specific point of view, or people find it depressing. Why do you think people should be plugged into local news?

MCFLY: “Because every day on The Scene, we cover the people, events, and ideas that are shaping our culture.” [Laughs.] I think it’s really important to know what’s going on in your neighborhood — your street, your neighborhood, your community, your town, your city, your state. Because when we stop being good neighbors, when we stop being a community to each other and we don’t know who lives down the block or through your wall, that’s when some real weird shit happens in our country, in our community. When we stop trusting each other, when we stop knowing each other. I think local news is a really good way to be plugged into that community.

Of course, we’ve got to tell you the news of the day, and some really bad stuff happens every day, a lot of times. But that’s where I’m really fortunate in my role and my franchise on The Scene — NBC4 gives me a lot of time to find the people, the ideas, the events that shape our culture, that bring us together. You’ll notice we never do politics on The Scene. We never get too deep into issues that are divisive. And I don’t mean that we shy away from stuff, but that’s just not our role. The hard news folks do that stuff and they do it really well, and they do a great job of presenting both points of view, or they’re very balanced in the choices of stories and the way stories are covered, even the most broad issues. But I get to be the guy who finds the things that bring us together.

I tell everyone it’s the best job in town. I’ve had a lot of jobs in town — it is the best job in town to be on the stage that is Channel 4, getting to shine a spotlight onto people and events, and ideas that shape our culture. It is awesome, and it’s something that I take very seriously. My husband jokes, “You never actually work.” And I’m like, “What do you mean?” He’s like, “Well, Monday you’re playing laser tag and Tuesday you’re at a cupcake shop, and Wednesday you’re trying out Olympic events.” And I’m like, “Yeah, but it is work.” And so that’s my whole thing. If I can present something to you that you think looks easy and you think looks fun, then I’m doing my job.

Tommy McFly -- Photo: Jonathan Thorpe
Tommy McFly — Photo: Jonathan Thorpe

MW: And what if, for whatever reason, they throw you into some breaking, serious story? What’s your interest in hard news or doing hard news at some point or not?

MCFLY: If there is a horrific, full live coverage, things-have-gone-sideways story, and you see me live, you need to know two things: either it happened across the street from where I was standing, or there’s been a horrible stomach flu in the newsroom and everyone’s sick. [Laughs.] If you see me with the red banners, everyone’s sick. You should just know that ahead of time.

I think as my career moves on, I’m definitely interested in hosting shows and that sort of thing. And every night we have a 7:30 newscast called The Rundown, which is for the cord cutters. It goes to Roku, it goes to our app, it goes to Amazon Fire, and people with TV and Zumo, Yuvio — there’s a million new platforms every day. And so that’s a show specifically for that audience, and I anchor that every night. That is the hard news, and I can present it, but we present it in a way, I think, that’s more conversational. Someone has said it’s like de-formalizing. We’re still doing the news, NBC4’s brand is on it, so it needs to be factual, it needs to be accurate, it needs to be fair, in all of the things that we do. But in the presentation of it, it’s a little bit more conversational and it’s a little bit more, you’re talking to your neighbor kind of thing.

I really enjoy that piece of my day, which has been a really fun thing. Then I’m co-anchored with one of our anchors from the afternoon crew, so Shawn Yancy and Leon Harris and Jim Handly, and Eun Yang. It’s a fun broadcast and we bring in guests that are live, and we take a breath a little bit, whether it be conversations about news of the day. For example, on Thursday’s show, we had Coach Brenda Frese from UMD Women’s Basketball who was on because she just published a thing about how parents in sports, not to quote Taylor Swift, but you need to calm down. We made it 34 minutes in here before my first Taylor quote. So I feel like this is good. I feel like I held off all this time.

MW: Are you that much of a Swiftie, you can speak in quotes?

MCFLY: Yeah, I’m a big-time Swiftie. My husband surprised me in Chicago to see her in concert for my birthday. It was amazing.

MW: Another local news question, about an experience that I have as a viewer. In this market, there are so many outlets and there seems to be a lot of jumping around. I had the experience recently of flipping on a show that I might have missed a few days, and somebody was gone who had been there for years. I’m like, “Well, where did this person go?” And then two weeks later, they pop up on another channel locally. What does that feel like on the inside? Do you just show up and one day somebody’s cleared out, and they might be across the country by the time you figure it out? How does it go down?

MCFLY: Yeah, I mean, that is how it goes. And it goes both ways, too. I’ve done it, and I’ve had it done to me. It’s part of the job, basically. When I left MIX and we launched 94.7 Fresh, I went from the legacy pop station to a brand-new competitor overnight. That was wild. That came about because at the time my contract had lapsed, and D.C. also, not to get in the nitty-gritty, but D.C. also is a No non-compete state. And so they can’t keep you to a non-compete if the station is in Washington. Several stations are in Washington. To get even more granular, there are things that can be put into contracts like cooling-off periods, but whatever.

So D.C. is more rife for that kind of stuff to happen just because of the way things are structured here. But then also if they’re going to make a change to a broadcast or to a station or whatever, they’re not going to tell you, “Hey, just so you know, in three months, we’re done. We’re going to try something new when your contract’s up.” So basically, they’re like, “You’re done. Today was your last show.” Which is the worst thing. That’s how my radio show ended on Fresh. We finished, it was a Tuesday, and they were like, “Hey, that was your last show.” I’m like, “Oh, was it? Well, I’m glad we didn’t half-ass it today. It was a good show.” Yeah.

MW: That is wild.

MCFLY: And sometimes they’ll tell you you’re not needed anymore with time still left on your contract. So they’re paying you but you’re out, and you can’t walk across the street kind of thing. To walk across the street is like the term.

MW: So, I guess on the flip side of being told “This is your last show,” you’ve also earned an Emmy for your work at NBC4. That must feel very validating.

MCFLY: It does. I won an Emmy while wearing a shark suit, just so we’re clear, which was wild. So NBC4 won the Emmy for our coverage of the Nats Championship Parade. And so, Lauryn Ricketts, who is one of my favorite humans on the planet and is just like an earthquake and a volcano in one person, she and I were stationed together along the parade route. And so you had Pat Collins and Julie Carey at one point. Then you had Leon Harris and Doug and Lindsay Czarniak at another spot with Doreen Gentzler, and Lauryn and I are like, “What are we going to do? How are we going to get involved in this coverage? We’re the kids’ table in this event.” This was when Baby Shark was big for the Nats. And Kelly and I had shark suits, so I brought the shark suits, and Lauryn and I wore the shark suits, and we were in the crowd. So on the Emmy entry, it was like, “There’s Tommy and Lauryn in shark suits.”

MW: That’s part of your legacy.

MCFLY: The Emmy’s still gold! The Emmy’s still gold!

MW: And where is it?

MCFLY: Actually, I think it’s… Where is it? Oh, here it is. It was awesome because during COVID, when we were doing the broadcasting from home, this is my home studio. We had a little couch, and I had a tree, and the Emmy was the angel on top of the tree. That was a fun use of it.

MW: I listened to an episode of your podcast with Kelly, and you had talked about just coming back from summer vacation in Greece, which sounds amazing. You had said that you were on the Greek Islands. Is your husband’s family, are they literally from some village somewhere? Which Greek Isles were you visiting?

MCFLY: Yes! Oh my gosh. Where I’ll retire someday. Where I’ll live someday, for sure. At least during the summer. So my husband is first-generation Greek American and his family’s from Baltimore — a Baltimore restaurant family, that whole deal. And they are very Greek. And I will tell you, My Big Fat Greek Wedding is a documentary for me. And so yeah, every summer we go visit his family in Karpathos and Rhodes, which are two islands in the Southeast Aegean, and it’s paradise. The family there is so loving and amazing and it’s awesome. And I’m a history freak, so Rhodes is so interesting because throughout the centuries it has been so many things. It’s been Minoan and Greek and then Ottoman and Russian and Roman and Italian and all of these things. And then obviously, now back to being Greek, and there’s a Game Of Thrones-style fortress that people live in still. It’s crazy. And the water’s so blue.

Meeting my husband has changed my life in so many incredible ways. But connecting with him, and watching his appreciation for his Greek heritage is really cool. And there’s a referendum coming up in Athens soon to — again, I don’t do politics, I’m not sure if I’m entirely correct on this — but I believe it’s to recognize same-sex marriage. Which is huge for Greece, because the Orthodox church is so intertwined in the government and in the country. [Editor’s note: On Feb. 15, Greece became the first Christian Orthodox-majority country to legalize same-sex marriage.]

Tommy McFly -- Photo: Jonathan Thorpe
Tommy McFly — Photo: Jonathan Thorpe

MW: Is marriage treating you well?

MCFLY: Yes, it is. And it’s amazing. Marriage is hard. Marriage is interesting. But to have that person that is your person that has your back through thick and thin is incredible. Also, as you’re young and you’re like, “Okay, am I gay? Yeah, I guess so. Okay, well then what does that mean?” Getting married was not in the picture, initially, but our relationship was just a whirlwind. It’s so analog how we met. I was supposed to go for drinks with a friend. That friend was like, “Oh, by the way, I overbooked myself. I have dinner with some other guys. It is going to be a table of six. Lauriol Plaza. Is that cool?” I’m like, “Sure, whatever.” And I was doing a radio event and I showed up, I was late, I was wearing a hat, I was probably sweaty, and I just sat down like, “Hi,” to my friend who I was supposed to have drinks with, and Chrys is sitting across from me. And just, we are having margaritas and fajitas, and everyone else just melted away. He and I were like, bing, bing, bing, all night long. And then three weeks later, I was in Greece for the first time.

MW: Wow, that’s amazing.

MCFLY: It was quick. I moved in on the third date. It was rolling.

MW: When you know, you know. And I totally understand, growing up, I had no concept of being married to another man at any point in my life. And I am now. I have friends who look at it as like, “Oh, you’re so conventional, the husband and housewife and whatever.” And I don’t look at it that way because it’s something I’d never even imagined.

MCFLY: And you learn so much about yourself too, being married. It’s communication. It is work, but it’s the best work ever, though, because you are committed to this person. And that’s a really cool thing, I think. And it’s funny, “You’re so conventional.” I think what’s inspiring about our community in this moment, is it’s kind of choose your own adventure, be who you want, be who you are. Are you happy? Are you safe? Awesome. Have at it.

MW: And being allowed to be yourself, having the legal freedoms to do that, I guess that’s what we have to fight for elsewhere.

MCFLY: Well, that’s true. When you look at, say, Fellow Travelers, look how far we’ve come, holy cow. But there is — and it sounds so trite to say in an interview — there is so much work to be done. It’s a constant thing, and it’s a vigilance, and that’s really important. But I think we are so lucky to be living in the time that we are, compared to other times that we could be living in.

MW: What else are you looking forward to in 2024?

MCFLY: Oh my gosh. I’m looking forward to the Olympics. And again, I know that sounds like a big NBC company line, but I am such an Olympics person.

MW: Are you going to Paris?

MCFLY: No. My colleague Jummy Olabanji is, but workwise, I’m working on a series called “Tommy Tries It,” where I’m trying as many Olympic sports as possible. I did wrestling at Morgan State, and I think I literally bruised a rib.

MW: I just got a thought of you doing rhythmic gymnastics or something.

MCFLY: Oh, absolutely. We’re doing all the things. It’s going to be awesome. With past Olympians or current Olympians, it’s going to be so much fun. So that I’m really excited about. But just the Olympics in general, I just think it’s such a beautiful bring-America-together thing. And Team USA is so diverse, and so fricking good. And I just love everything about all the stories and the people overcoming stuff. The other ones who have a comeback. I dig it. I love everything about it. I’m a big Olympics fan. And then my husband and I are going back to Greece again this summer. Seeing the family there is always so restorative and wonderful to just have some time to take a beat and reconnect over there, which is really great.

MW: Well, the Olympics is always a huge human-interest story. And you’re human-interested, apparently.

MCFLY: I’m interested in humans. Absolutely.

Tommy McFly covers The Scene for NBC4 and the station’s digital platforms. Visit

Follow Tommy McFly on X at @TommyMcFLY.

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