As he gears up for his tour stop in the city of brotherly love, comedian Tom Green tells us why he's back on TV and how he comes up with new material.
We all know Tom Green from his MTV days and his hilarious, off-kilter acting roles in movies like Road Trip and Stealing Harvard. These days, Green is busy hosting Tom Green Live, a one-hour, one-on-one, in-depth interview show on AXS TV that was renewed for its third season in June. When he's not busy interviewing the likes of Steve Carell, Kevin Nealon, and Larry King, Green is perfecting his self-titled milk stout beer (available in Ottawa) and pursuing his first love: stand-up comedy. We caught up with Green before his headlining gig at Helium Comedy Club to talk touring, TV, and more.
Tell us about your current tour. What can we expect during your Philly tour stop on December 2? TOM GREEN: I’ve been touring the world pretty much constantly for the last five or six years, doing stand-up every night—or every weekend at least—all around Australia, Canada, England, and all over the U.S. I just have a great time getting up on stage, telling jokes and doing this outrageous comedy show that I’ve written and am continuing to write. It’s [a] very high-energy, outrageous, ridiculous stand-up comedy performance with a lot of crowd interaction and a lot of my views on a wide range of ridiculous subjects—from the way we are living our lives in 2014, to my opinions about the media and society in general. It’s a hell of a lot of fun.
You became a household name with The Tom Green Show on MTV, and now you're doing Tom Green Live. What made you want to return to TV? TG: I’ve always loved doing one version or another of The Tom Green Show. It started on public access in Canada when I was in college studying broadcasting. Then I went to MTV and did a few versions of the show there. Then I did a show on the Internet for a few years—out of a really rudimentary, raw, sort of do-it-yourself TV studio that I built in my living room. Now for the last year I’ve been on this great television network, AXS TV, which is letting me do this really cool, retro-style interview show in sort of a homage to the late, great Tom Snyder. I love doing television, and I also love doing stand-up. Something I’ve always really enjoyed is interviewing people. I’m having a great time.
You've had quite a long career in comedy. How has your approach to stand-up changed since you started? TG: I always talk about things that are rattling through my mind and bothering me, and I try to find humor in those things. Obviously those kinds of things that bother you when you’re 43 years old are a lot different than the things that bother you when you’re 15 years old—not only just because you’re older and the world has completely changed, but we have different things that we’re concerned about as adults that I tend to use as my subject matter now. I think that’s been a big part of how the comedy has evolved.
What's coming up next for you? Any new projects in the works?
TG: Well I’m putting the finishing touches on my second stand-up special right now. I [also] have some films [in the works]. I have a movie that will be shooting in Berlin next year that I’m excited about—and continuing to work on the television show and do a lot more stand-up. Stand-up is something that is definitely my passion right now, and I’m going to continue to tour.
Who do you think is the funniest new comedian out there now?
TG: There are so many great comedians: I really like The Eric André Show. Bill Burr is also one of my favorites. I love a lot of the comics that are out right now—people like Louis C.K. of course, and I still go back to some of my favorites from when I was a kid who I think still make me laugh more than anyone else, like Norm Macdonald.
Another thing I would like to throw out there: I really don’t watch a lot of stand-up. I don’t really want to be influenced by it too much. I always get very frustrated when I watch a comedian and I see them talking about a subject I would like to cover because then I can’t get their bit out of my head. I try to just avoid watching it.
You'll be in Philly soon to perform—what do you like about visiting the city of brotherly love? TG: What’s interesting is that I’ve only been to Philly once before, and I was only there for about 24 hours. It’s one of these strange things where I’ve been all over the country, and I’ve been to every city in the country, and spend a lot of time in a lot of places, but Philly is somewhere where I really have to have people come to my show and take me out to a good spot because I don’t know where to go.