The show is based on a short film Tom Goes to the Mayor (2002) by Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim which appeared in independent film festivals as well as on Tim and Eric's website. Tim and Eric sent copies of the short to a few of their favorite comedians including Bob Odenkirk who liked it so much he showed it to David Cross. Cross later made a cameo in the sequel Tom Goes to the Mayor Returns (2003). Odenkirk later worked with Tim and Eric to develop the short into a series.
Thomas! Tom-boy! Tom! Tom, are you okay?
Tom Peters: Oh, wow...
The Mayor: It's okay... I'm gonna hold up your head for you.
Tom Peters: ...think I hit my head... wh... where am I? What time is it?
The Mayor: Well... I've been keeping you in this dumpster for weeks now. Found this vest on a hobo ...