Tom Green’s enjoying the latest permutation of his eclectic career — commuting back and forth each week between Las Vegas, where he recently started a four-month engagement at the Hard Rock Hotel, and Los Angeles, where he does his weekly live talk show on Mark Cuban’s AXS TV.
“I’ve toured around the world doing stand-up the last few years. So it’s kind of cool, it’s kind of nice to be able to have a little consistency as to where I am,” notes the funny man, whose global itinerary ranged from Australia to Afghanistan, where he entertained troops. Now, “I can do my interview show here in Los Angeles on Thursday nights and then we fly down to Vegas on the weekends and do my shows there. And it’s turning out great.
“I love playing in Vegas because you’ve got people from all over the world and you’re already accepted,” he adds. “It’s kind of a great mixture of people that come out to the shows and that makes it fun.”
His “Tom Green Live” was recently renewed for its third season. The show, which has a hip alternative vibe, devotes an entire hour to one subject, live and impromptu — a sort of homage to one of Green’s favorites, the late Tom Snyder.
“This show that I’m doing on AXS TV is what I’ve always wanted to do. With the long format interview I can get into really interesting conversations with my guests,” says Green. “You know what it’s like to get the opportunity to speak to really interesting people and pick their brain about things. To have time to let a guest actually speak and tell a story and get into detail is really exciting.”
Green’s talk with esteemed CBS anchor emeritus Dan Rather included shots of Wild Turkey and ranged from journalism and broadcasting topics to a demonstration of how Texans chew tobacco. “That was awesome,” says the Pembroke, Ontario, Canada-born personality, who rose to fame with his trailblazing and frequently tacky MTV “The Tom Green Show” that ran from 1999 to 2003.
Other recent guests include Dr. Drew Pinsky talking celebrity-obsessed culture — and a bunch of Green’s favorite comedian pals like Richard Belzer, Andrew Dice Clay, Seth Green, Norm MacDonald, Howie Mandel and Comedy Central’s The Workaholics.
“It’s really neat to have this interactive experience where viewers can call in on Skype and talk to the guests,” he notes.
Talking about Green’s wish list of guests for future shows — how about Mark Cuban himself?
“I’d love to interview Mark Cuban! He’s certainly a great guy to have running this network,” notes Green of the billionaire internet mogul, Dallas Mavericks owner and “Shark Tank” personality. He adds that Cuban has “really been supportive of what I’m doing. It was cool that he was able to see what it is that I’m trying to do and to step up and support me in a bigger way with this outlet.”
Green has made a habit of taking a path apart from the mainstream. He was all over the internet, doing his talk show from his living room, before many in entertainment were paying much attention to the immense possibilities of the medium. Then, when there was a mass rush to the web, Green did live stage shows for audiences around the world. Now others are going short on interviews — and he’s going long.
“I like to do things that are different,” he acknowledges. “I’ve always found success in sort of separating myself from the pack mentality things. My early show was very different. It was before reality TV and it was sort of opening a way to make a show nobody else was doing. I think it found success because it was different from what anybody else was doing. I think people are responding to this show for the same reason. We’re taking it back old school.”
Could he have done this show back in his manic twenties — or is the in-depth interview best served by 42-year-old Tom Green of today?
“Well, when I was in my twenties, interviewing was sort of secondary to the show which was more about pranks and out in the street stuff,” he responds. “Certainly being older and having a different perspective on the world, and probably being closer in age to my guests so I can relate to them more, is helpful. And just having been through more of life personally and understanding human beings a little bit more — how people think and how they want to be treated. And how to make a comfortable environment for them on my show and get the most out of people.
“Certainly being older in those regards has been helpful, and also in interviewing people. But, really, the internet show prepared me for this in so many ways,” he adds. “Having done so many shows and having had so many people coming to the house were I was doing the show. There were really no executives or television people overseeing it, so I was able to really experiment and learn a lot of things. I’ve had a lot of growth and learning in the last 10 years.”